Thursday, December 17, 2015

30th Teddy Award Anniversary

TEDDY becomes 30…..and looks back to a past full of funny, tragic, embarrassing, happy and moving moments. Short facts: the first TEDDY got awarded in 1987 by Wieland Speck, director of Panorama nowadays. Back then, he sent a plush-teddy from the department store to the first award winners Gus van Sant and Pedro Almodóvar, who received the prize by post and with great pleasure.

Attention for queer movies and visibility of queer life was lacking and founding an award seemed a good way to get some.

In the beginning the jury was the audience; everyone who has watched each single movie was enabled to vote. The professional jury was founded in 1997 and ARTE started broadcasting the award show in 2006.

In the mid 90’s TEDDY AWARD officially got acknowledged as a prize of the Berlinale. So a lot has happened in all these years and according to the 30th Birthday we take a look back, but also face the presence and the future of TEDDY. We talk to TEDDY AWARD winners, friends and supporters in interviews and panel discussions….and especially we are looking forward to the birthday party, where we will be ready to rumble with you.

So, the only official LGBTIQ (in short, queer) film prize at an A-festival in the world is celebrating its 30th anniversary: the Teddy Award. An offshoot of the Panorama, the prize has been awarded since 1987 in the categories Short Film, Documentary and Feature to works relevant to queer culture. Eligible every year are films from all of the Berlinale sections. Meanwhile, the award has achieved international significance.

This year’s anniversary program will present a total of 16 films.

1 Berlin Harlem – Germany (Federal Republic), 1974 By Lothar Lambert, Wolfram Zobus
Legendary film from super-indy filmmaker Lambert, one time most-featured Berlinale director, about the forms of racism in Berlin’s vibrant lifestyle at the time of the film's making. Brimming with cameos galore: alongside leading actor Conrad Jennings the likes of Ortrud Beginnen, Tally Brown, Ingrid Caven, Peter Chatel, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Günter Kaufmann, Dietmar Kracht, Evelyn Künneke, Lothar Lambert, Y Sa Lo, Bernd Lubowski, Brigitte Mira, Vera Müller can all be seen.

Anders als die Andern (Different from the Others) - Germany, 1919 By Richard Oswald
A significant world premiere: realized by the Outfest UCLA Legacy Project/UCLA Film & Television Archive, the newly-restored version of this cultural document of immeasurable value is screened for the first time – in a 35mm print, still the only reliable archive medium.

Before Stonewall – USA, 1984 By Greta Schiller, Robert Rosenberg
Info-Schau (former title of Panorama) 1985
The legendary film from Greta Schiller reveals a lot which is missing from Roland Emmerich's Stonewall - but nevertheless agrees with him in quite a few details. The world "before Stonewall", the beginning of the post-war gay rights movement: the German portrait of this dark Adenauer era in which homosexuals were transferred directly from concentration camps to West German correctional facilities and have not been rehabilitated is yet to come. Greta Schiller later gained renown with Paris Was A Woman which she screened together with her partner and screenwriter Andrea Weiß in the 1996 Panorama.

Die Betörung der Blauen Matrosen (The Enchantment of the Blue Sailors) - Germany (Federal Republic), 1975 By Ulrike Ottinger
Ulrike Ottinger won the Special Teddy Award in 2014 for her incomparable lifetime achievement, of which this enchanting queer film is an early example even before her groundbreaking films Madame X and Bildnis einer Trinkerin (Ticket of No Return).

Die Wiese der Sachen (The Meadow of Things) - Germany (Federal Republic), 1974-1987 By Heinz Emigholz
Panorama / Teddy Award winner 1988
At a time when New German Cinema still appeared to be elusive, this artist and architect amongst West German filmmakers inspired with strikingly visual collages, associative streams and intellectual juxtapositions. An important work from an important German filmmaker.

Gendernauts - Eine Reise durch die Geschlechter (Gendernauts - A Journey Through Shifting Identities) - Germany, 1999 By Monika Treut
Panorama / Teddy Award winner 1999
One of the early researchers into the walled-in, gender-dualistic world of female and male, Monika Treut is at once a pioneer and veteran of Queer Cinema - an icon of the emancipation movement. She has screened numerous works in Panorama.

I Shot Andy Warhol – USA, 1996 By Mary Harron
The attempted assassination of Andy Warhol from the perspective of Factory member, artist, writer and publisher of the S.C.U.M. Manifesto Valerie Solanas. Mary Harron's debut film was produced by Christine Vachon who, with her Killer Films production company, has produced many works screened at the Berlinale and Teddy Award winners including all of Todd Haynes' films.

Je, tu, il, elle (I, You, He, She) - France / Belgium, 1974 By Chantal Akerman
In her boundary-breaking feature debut Chantal Akermann herself plays a young woman who seeks to address her experience of isolation through the study of other individuals. In tribute to Chantal Akerman, Panorama is screening two of her films: alongside Je, tu, il, elle, her Panorama film from 1983, Toute une nuit (A Whole Night).

Looking for Langston - United Kingdom, 1989 By Isaac Julien
Panorama / Teddy Award winner 1989
Now a star of the video art world, Isaac Julien has always first and foremost been a poetical activist, aesthete and cultural historian in the service of emancipation. This montage of archive material, dramatised scenes and literary texts creates an image of black gay identity exemplified by the life and work of Langston Hughes during the “Harlem Renaissance” in 1930s and 1940s New York City.

Machboim (Hide and Seek) – Israel, 1979 By Dan Wolman
Info-Schau (former title of Panorama) 1980
Today it is exactly the same as 36 years ago: love between Arabs and Jews is punished, hate and murder are accepted as normality. Dan Wolman casts a brave early look at this never-to-be-accepted situation.

Marble Ass – Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, 1995 By Želimir Žilnik
Panorama / Teddy Award winner 1995
Žilnik counters the homophobia and transphobia of Balkan societies which came to light years after the fall of the Berlin Wall with an early and anarchistic stand in what is still, to this day, one of the most extraordinary films to emerge from the entire region

Nitrate Kisses – USA, 1992 By Barbara Hammer
Forum 1993
A never seen in this way before, sensitively creative conquest of the female sexual realm, radically beyond the prescriptions of mainstream culture. Barbara Hammer has screened many of her works at the Berlinale.

The Watermelon Woman – USA, 1996 By Cheryl Dunye
Panorama / Teddy Award winner 1996
Racist tendencies might appear to have been expunged from emancipation and gender discourse – but this is far from being the case. The racism inherent in mainstream culture is not necessarily recognised as such by alternative thinkers. Dunye takes a stance with a reflection on a representative figure of this complex issue.

Tongues Untied – USA, 1989 By Marlon Riggs
Panorama / Teddy Award winner 1990
An early work of queer black emancipation from the then beacon of hope in the Afro-American gay rights movement – another artist and intellectual who died far too young from AIDS.

Toute une nuit (A Whole Night) - France / Belgium, 1982 By Chantal Akerman
Info-Schau (former title of Panorama) 1983
The director at the forefront of the post-war gender debate was already present in only the third year of the Info-Schau with this film. Virtuoso atmospheres between people and things, between spirit and world and time and space distinguish the work of this passionate artist who took her own life in October 2015. Panorama is screening two films in tribute to Chantal Akerman: alongside Toute une nuit, her debut from 1974, the radical Je, tu, il, elle (I, You, He, She).

Tras el cristal (In a Glass Cage) – Spain, 1987 By Agustí Vilaronga
A scandalous film at the time of making: an old Nazi and his young career in Spain. A truly dark work about dark subject matters, the concealment and unrepentant nature of the post-fascist Spanish world when it had not yet begun to grapple analytically and politically with those grim times. In 2000 Vilaronga won the Manfred Salzgeber Prize with El Mar.

After ALL Berlinale 2016 films are announced we will learn the films that will compete for the 2016 Teddy Awards.

Have to confess that have seen almost all lesbian interest films (and some gay...) in above list and if you haven’t seen Chantal Akerman early work, strongly recommend to watch but be prepare as Akerman style was from light to heavy experimental cinema.

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