Wednesday, August 24, 2016

10th Queer Lion Award Lineup Update 2

Award organizers were supposed to announce films next Monday, August 22 but today there are some films listed and even when do not know if is the complete list, I'm in the mood of sharing the films that will or could be considered for the Venice Film Festival LGBT award.

Before checking the list, let's find out who are going to decide the winning film (or films?).

President: Cecilia Ermini, film critic and programmer, Italy
Rich Cline, film critic, UK
Daniel N, Casagrande, founder of Queer Lion Award, journalist, Italy

The following are the films in today's list. Next Monday could modify list according to what organizers do as perhaps they could add more films and/or short films. If find which LGBT interest the film has will add info.

Was reading in facebook and twitter the award publications and seems this is the complete list and there will be no award for short films. Still, according to the official site, seems on Monday there will be an official award presentation by Casagrande as well as will publish the events around the award, so will update post, if applicable.

My spontaneous reaction to list is that there are two films with clear interest and both are with gay-interest, one absolutely calls my attention for the director and the most amazing cinematography of Iceland settings; the other is Italian and well not really calls my attention (lol!) but wonder if the award will not go to any of these two films as whatever LGBT interest the other films have, seem will be of the not-so-pleasant to watch characters and storyline. Sigh.

Monday August 22, 2016 Update

No, there are no changes to the list, there are 10 films in competition for the 2016 Queer Lion and there will be NO award for short films. 

Today organizers published the foreword by Daniel N. Casagrande that you could read in English here. Still, there are some news worth sharing in this post and here is the cut/paste paragraph that talks about films NOT considered for the award but have some LGBT interest. Sorry, no explanations to why films are NOT included in the competition.

Among the films not competing for the Queer Lion Award, worth of a mention are: Era ieri by Valentina Pedicini, a lesbian short film presented in the section SIC@SIC; the ambiguous and mysterious Frantz by François Ozon; Isiko (The Wound) by John Trengove, a South African gay-themed film presented as a work in progress in the Final Cut workshop in Venice; the glamour and elegance of the documentary Franca: Chaos and Creation by Francesco Carrozzini, and the libertine, pre WWII Paris of Rebecca Zlotowski’s Planetarium starring Natalie Portman and Louis Garrel and co-written by Robin Campillo.

Most interesting is to learn that the Queer Lion Award is given to the "Best Film with Homosexual & Queer Culture Themes". This is new to me as older definition was longer and perhaps more to the essence of LGBT cinema; but well, is a great summary that explains not much as if something is really diverse and engulfs so many cultural aspects is the so-called Homosexual & Queer culture. Sigh.

Wednesday, August 24 Update

A few minutes ago got the following email from Daniel N. Casagrande with some comments about why above films were not considered. Here is the copy/paste of the email.


At the request of the direction of the Venice Film Festival we only consider the medium and feature films, so movies longer less than 30’ can not compete.

FRANTZ is not in competition because the gay subject is never made explicit, any homosexual relationship (if there ever was) is never discussed, mentioned, everything is subtext, it's all about the "not told" and the "not shown"; The most attentive LGBT audience will see (maybe) all of this, the remaining 95% of the audience will see another movie.

The documentary on Francesco Carrozzini, that concern the fashion world, is definitely interesting for the LGBT public, but it has nothing to do with homosexual themes.

PLANETARIUM has only one sequence in a gay bar in the Paris of 1937.

ISIKO is a work in progress, will go to Venice in a single pass in a hall with 120 seats only for buyers and producers, we were explicitly asked not to add it in the competition because it's not finished yet.

Thanks for your attention.

We thank Mr. Casagrande communication that clarifies doubts that many of us had, including those that asked me directly. Most important, we have info to consider for future editions of this award.

From Venezia 73

Ang babaeng humayo (The Woman Who Left) by Lav Diaz with Charo Santos-Concio, John Lloyd Cruz (Philippines, 226’)

Synopsis: For Horacia Somorostro, living has become a veritable reclusion perpetua, an imprisonment. Life’s spins and randomness has been very difficult, vicious and inexplicable for her. The year is 1997. Princess Diana dies in a violent car crash. The world is saddened by the death of Mother Theresa. And the Philippines is gripped with fear. It has become the kidnap capital of Asia.

Director Lav Diaz's drama examines economic disparity in modern Filipino society through the eyes of a woman released from prison 30 years after being framed and wrongly convicted.

Director's Statement: “Existence is fragile” says Lav Diaz, “At the end of the day, we really don’t know anything”. A simple, yet complex story; a work about human existence, which raises the question “where does logic figure in all of this?” A film that seeks to push cinema towards its deeper and grander end: to find answers to the philosophical questions that each viewer asks himself. The setting in Mindoro, a province of the Philippines of which Charo Santos-Concio is a native, made the shooting even more authentic than the theme of the film could have.

La Región Salvaje (The Untamed) by Amat Escalante with Ruth Ramos, Simone Bucio (Mexico, Denmark, France, Germany, Norway, 100’)

Synopsis from Biennale: A social parable that focuses on Mexico, but also wishes to be universal. A more metaphysical film than Amat Escalante's previous film Heli (2013, Best Director at Cannes). A story about falling in love and vanishing illusions in a highland city in Mexico. Veronica (Simone Bucio) goes down to find the point of impact of a meteorite that crashed and altered the configuration of the area. In the same way, she will change the lives of Angel (Jesùs Mesa) and Alejandra (Ruth Ramos), a young couple that puts its determination to the test as they try, with their two children, to overcome adversity.

Synopsis from San Sebastian fest: Young mother Alejandra is a working housewife, raising two boys with her husband Angel in a small city. Her brother Fabien works as a nurse in a local hospital. Their provincial lives are upset with the arrival of the mysterious Veronica. Sex and love can be fragile in certain regions where strong family values, hypocrisy, homophobia and male chauvinism exist. Veronica convinces them that in the nearby woods, inside an isolated cabin, dwells something not of this world that could be the answer to all of their problems.

Amat Escalante is MUST-BE-SEEN for me and no matter what his previous films have told in their stories nor the extreme violence they could show, I'll will watch his films as they're mesmerizing. Still can't imagine a film by him with some LGBT interest and if have to push my imagination then I see something that will not be pleasant to watch; somehow suspect film could have some lesbian interest ... but not sure at all.

Questi Giorni by Giuseppe Piccioni with Margherita Buy, Filippo Timi (Italy, 120’)

Synopsis from Biennale: Questi Giorni is the story of a group of college-age girls from the provinces, an age in which decisions about the future become more pressing, and can no longer be delayed. A provincial Italian town. Inside the old city walls, in late-night forays along the seafront, in the enchantment of a temporary incursion into nature, the four girls play out their daily rituals and nurture their expectations; their friendship has not sprung from overwhelming passion, shared interests or great ideals. They are bound not by affinity but by habit, by occasional enthusiasm, by guileless clashes, and feelings they cultivate in secret. Yet their bond is as unique and inimitable as the days they travel together to Belgrade, where they will find a mysterious friend and an unlikely job opportunity.

The obvious implication is that film has some lesbian interest and probably does so, but there is no clear info -yet- anywhere.

From Orizzonti

Boys in the Trees by Nicholas Verso with Toby Wallace, Gulliver McGrath (Australia, 2016)

Synopsis: Halloween 1997 – the last night of high school for Corey, Jango and their skater gang, The Gromits. Childhood is over and adult life beckons. But for Corey, his past has some unfinished business. When he encounters Jonah, a former childhood friend but now victimised by Jango’s cruel streak, Corey takes pity on him and agrees to walk him home for old time’s sake. What starts off as a normal walk through empty suburban streets descends into something darker and magical, as trip through their memories and ghosts of the past, and Corey is surprised to discover how much he still has in common with his abandoned friend. But on the night of the grave’s delight, even the most buried truths will find a way of coming to life.

Best Narrative Screenplay (Unproduced) award winner at the 2011 New York Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. Imagine film has gay interest; but, no, I'm not sure.

From Giornate degli Autori (Venice Days)

Hjartasteinn (Heartstone) by Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson with Søren Malling, Gunnar Jónsson (Denmark, Iceland, 129’)

Synopsis: A remote fishing village in Iceland. Teenage boys Thor and Christian experience a turbulent summer as one tries to win the heart of a girl while the other discovers new feelings toward his best friend. When summer ends and the harsh nature of Iceland takes back its rights, it’s time to leave the playground and face the acrimony of adulthood.

Director statement: Heartstone is a personal story based on my experience growing up in a small fishing village. The core of the film is a strong, beautiful friendship between two boys, and how their environment and inner conflict drive them apart, before the bond they share manages to reunite them again. The village is a place full of contrats, where kids discover how nature and people can be both amazingly beautiful and incredibly cruel. As a kid, I wished I could show the grown-ups around me how our world really felt, and that's what I want to show as a filmmaker: because the years of youth reflect our lives in clear, beautiful, and sometimes harsh manner.

Has to have gay interest, don't you think so too?

Indivisibili (Indivisible) by Edoardo De Angelis with Angela Fontana, Marianna Fontana (Italy, 100’)

Synopsis: Viola and Dasy are a pair of conjoined twins who sing at weddings and parties and manage to support their entire family with their performances. It all works, until they realize that separation is a real option. All they want is normal lives: eating ice cream, traveling, dancing, making love, drinking wine without worrying about their other half getting drunk... A gay couple, very close to the sisters, is among the characters we will meet throughout their story.

Seems film has secondary gay interest.

Pamilya ordinaryo (Ordinary People) di Eduardo Roy Jr. con Ronwaldo Martin, Hasmine Killip (Filippine, 107’) (T)

Synopsis: A family portrait of Jane, sixteen, and her boyfriend, Aries, making a living out of stealing on the chaotic streets of Manila. Fate hits back at them when, one month after having become parents, their child is stolen by a transgender who wants to sell it to another couple. In an effort to get the baby back, the couple will be forced to take extreme measures.

From Settimana Internazionale della Critica (Venice International Film Critics Week)

Jours de France by Jérôme Reybaud with Pascal Cervo, Arthur Igual (France, 141’) (G)

Synopsis: A man leaves everything behind to travel aimlessly through France, letting himself be guided only by the people and landscapes he encounters: four days and four nights of wandering, during which his lover tries to locate him via Grindr, a smartphone dating app.

Le ultime cose by Irene Dionisio with Fabrizio Falco, Christina Rosamilia (Italy, France, Switzerland, 85’) (T)

Synopsis: In Torino, a bittersweet crowd is bringing its own belongings to a pawn shop, waiting for a ransom or the final auction. Between the thousands of faces that tell the human inventory of the crisis, three stories intertwine unconsciously in the thin line of moral debt. Sandra, a young trans, in order to escape her past sells her fur coat. Her gaze will cross Stefano’s, a novice who just started working at the bank, and who drags her towards a tender obsession. Michele, a retired porter, asks for a loan to a family member, who will turn out to be fatally the wrong person to ask a favor from.

From Cinema nel Giardino

L’estate addosso (Summertime) by Gabriele Muccino with Taylor Frey, Joseph Haro (Italy, 103’) (G)

Synopsis: 18 year-old Marco, in the summer of high-school final exams, unexpectedly ends up on a road trip to San Francisco with Mary, a classmate of his, nicknamed ‘the nun’. Mary’s company is, to Marco, a real catastrophe. When in California, the two of them will be guests of Matt and Paul, a young gay couple: the four will have to face problems and prejudices and will live an experience that will forever change their lives.

To check list at official site go here. Check available info plus trailers @MOC

Queer Lion Award 2016 will be handed out on Friday, September 9 at 7:00PM at Villa degli Autori, headquarter of Venice Days-Giornate degli Autori, in a ceremony where the most important collateral awards, such as Fedeora Award, Label Europa Cinemas, Venice Days Award, BNL Audience Critics’ Week prize will be announced.

On the night of Friday, September 9, to celebrate 10 years of the Queer Lion, QL Closing Party will take place in the park of Nicelli airport in Lido di Venezia, with free entrance and a shuttle bus service from Cittadella del Cinema (the area of Casino and Palazzo del Cinema). Music by Brian dj from Queever disco club in Turin.


For obvious reasons I didn't particularly like the promotional video but well, check it to form your own opinion. Sigh.

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