Launched in 1987, the queer film-celebrating, multiple-category Teddy Award has existed for more than half the nigh-on three-quarters of a century lifetime of its host, the Berlin International Film Festival.

All of the big three European Category-A film festivals have a queer film award – Cannes, since 2010, has the Queer Palm, following Venice’s inauguration of its Queer Lion in 2007. With the three most prestigious festivals on the circuit each offering a queer film award, it naturally follows that there’s prestige to winning any one of them, whether a Teddy, a Queer Palm or Queer Lion.

That said, it’s clear the Teddy is, as its official website boasts, both “the oldest and most important queer film award in the world”1 – important, I would argue, not just for its name recognition and attendant prestige, but for its concomitant experiential dimensions within its host festival. Cannes and Venice – both ranking above the Berlinale in the A-list pecking order – are of scant repute as queer cultural events. The Berlinale, on the other hand, is celebrated for its queer integration, offering anyone in the Teddy orbit – filmmakers, industry professionals including countless queer film festival programmers, Teddy jurors, like myself on this occasion, and the festival-going public from near and far – the experience of a queer film festival of magnitude embedded within the broader festival. 

Yes, mine was the immense privilege of being invited onto this year’s Teddy jury, alongside Diego Armando Aparicio (Director of Queer Wave: the Cyprus LGBTQIA+ Film Festival); Kami Sid (a Pakistani trans model and activist, and head of the Karachi chapter of the Aks International Minorities Festival); Luís Fernando Moura (coordinator of the “fuga” experimental and dissident film platform, and a programmer for FENDA – Experimental Festival of Film Arts) and actor Vic Carmen Sonne, the lead in Isabella Eklöf’s confronting Holiday (2018) and shortly to appear in the Cannes Competition title Pigen med nålen (The Girl with the Needle), directed by Magnus von Horn.

Between the five of us, we could collectively account for a hefty quantum of representational intersections that would hold us in good stead to ensure an expeditious award decision process. Ah, who am I kidding – we ultimately spent something like eleven hours oscillating between agony and ecstasy during our deliberations to arrive at the four winners we’d been tasked with selecting.

Of course, it was never going to be easy, on the basis of the great diversity in the eligible films alone. The films shortlisted for the Teddy – a large subset of the queer content in the festival program – span all program strands of the Berlinale. This created some hilarious contestation, pitting, for example, a porno-Godardian-sloganeering, refugee-awash-in-London-premised Bruce LaBruce hardcore riff on Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Teorema (Theorem, 1968) in The Visitor – inspired by Britain’s appalling threats to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda, and including gleeful scenes of coprophagia that can’t help but evoke another Pasolini title – against Junge Herzen (Young Hearts, Anthony Schatteman), a bourgie Belgian-Dutch kids’ coming-out film which could only offend anyone grossly offended by gross feelgood inoffensiveness.(By his own account, Schatteman is besties with Lukas Dhont, whose Close (2022), set in a very similar, sun-kissed semi-bucolic milieu Young Hearts closely resembles, sans miserabilism.)

We would also be seeing each of the films in contention under varying circumstances, sometimes scurrying from one sort of cinema in one part of the city to a different theatre on a wholly different scale of operations in another. At one extreme, there were the World or International Premieres with cast and crew present – not least, Kristin Stewart and director Rose Glass at the Verti Music Hall2 in Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, for the “Special Gala” international unveiling of the sexed-up, ‘80s-set, queer thriller Love Lies Bleeding, replete with throwaway footage of the Berlin Wall falling, as if to play to the genius loci and the gallery on this night alone. And scarcely had we had a moment to process one of the more bonkers finales to so starry a film in recent memory and, lo! There’s K-Stew herself on stage, holding court before our very eyes.

At the other extreme were several private screenings arranged for just the five of us in a small but very comfy room in the CinemaxX Berlin Potsdamer Platz megaplex, at quite a remove from the glitterati.

In total, 16 features and eight shorts would vie for a Teddy; of the former, half were programmed in the Panorama, whose organisers, headed by the congenial Michael Stütz since 2019, are responsible for overseeing the Teddy and filling its jury’s dance cards – something they did with aplomb. Nary a dull moment there was, with each day’s schedule jam-packed in advance – not just with the necessary film viewings but also receptions, meals and parties galore, with some organised by Berlin-based sales agents like m-appeal and Salzgeber. Notably, the latter agency was founded by Manfred Salzgeber (1943-1994), co-founder of the Teddy with Wieland Speck.

This mitigated against seeing films outside of our jury duty viewing, but not against our prospects for social activity! And to think we apparently had fewer films to watch than past Teddy juries – I can only imagine their exhaustion, come festival’s close.

The role of the non-profit Teddy Foundation bears mentioning; it operates independently of the Berlinale and fundraises for and organises the annual award gala. Additionally, the Teddy team organises “Teddy Talks” during the festival, which our filmgoing schedule unfortunately mitigated against our attending all of, too.

One that I did catch was held in an enjoyably incongruous location: at the foot of the stairs to the top floor of the Manifesto food court in the mall on Potsdamer Platz – “the largest food hub in Europe”.3 The Panorama’s Djamila Grandits conducted a lunchtime talk there entitled “Teddy Directors Exchange: (Re)claiming Power” with Bruce LaBruce, Jane Schoenbrun and Lola Arias, the Argentine director of the intriguing, women and trans people’s prison-set, surprise musical, Reas, which only became more intriguing upon learning that it was a Teddy contender in the Documentary/Essay Film category, specifically. 

And to think I had seen LaBruce DJing until the wee smalls the very night before at Kreuzberg’s Ritter Butzke club – how he managed to make sense the following afternoon is a marvel. Mind you, he’s a great talker, and had already given a great Q&A in discussion with Pornfilmfestival Berlin’s Kiki Petersen at The Visitor’s premiere at Kino International a couple of nights prior. The huge delegation that joined him there included Lidia Ravviso, the film’s Intimacy Coordinator – a role evidently welcome not only in mainstream feature film production nowadays but in porn – perhaps especially in porn! – as well.

I Saw the TV Glow

As for Schoenbrun’s new film, there was no mistaking the ‘90s pop culture-steeped I Saw the TV Glow for the work of anyone but the filmmaker behind We’re All Going to the World’s Fair (2021). Like We’re All Going, I Saw the TV Glow is a psychological, coming-of-age, trans identity-suffused horror film in which a teen protagonist’s engagement with screen media leads to indistinction between the real world and another, more absorbing one that had ostensibly been produced as entertainment.

Brigette Lundy-Paine and Jane Schoenbrun (on the mic) during their Q&A at Zoo Palast.

Schoenbrun delivered, for me, the biggest, most enduring laugh of the festival during the Q&A at the TV Glow premiere in Zoo Palast Cinema 1. I will now only ever be able to visualise towering columns of Pringles there rather than the enormous, heavily ruched, beige curtains that served as the backdrop to a very enjoyable discussion.

I actually participated in a Teddy Talk myself. Once the European Film Market (EFM) had finished on the seventh day of the festival, the stately Martin-Gropius-Bau, situated a few minutes’ stroll from Potsdamer Platz, ceased to be an EFM accreditation-only concern and became an enormous, queer film industry meet-and-greet, inclusive of a “Queer Creations Part 2” Teddy Talk. (I’m not sure if there was a Part 1 – there wasn’t one listed on any schedule I came across. Maybe it occurred in a previous year?)

The appointed moderator was sick on the day; Nastaran Tajeri-Foumani’s role was then taken by Panorama Program Manager, Bartholomew Sammut, who I believe was instrumental in hatching this panel in the first place. Theirs made for a second Australian-accented anglophone voice on the panel – mine being the other.4 I had been asked to participate as this was conceived as a discussion about queer film funding, and the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, for whom I now execute the role of Program Director, runs a short film pitching competition named “Pitch, Pleez!” with a $10,000 cash prize and an opening night premiere slot up for grabs. New to the role, however, I had not yet overseen a Pitch, Pleez! cycle from go to whoa. But not to worry! This was to be about brainstorming paths forward at least as much as a stories-from-the-trenches affair.

The other speakers were Katja Briesemeister, a Hamburg International Queer Film Festival programmer linked to a short film fund administered by QueerScope, a consortium of independent German queer film fests; Andrew Murphy, the Co-head and Artistic Director of Inside Out 2SLGBTQ+ Toronto Film Festival; Allegra Madsen, the Executive Director of the longest-running queer film fest in the world, San Francisco’s Frameline; and Lilla Puskas, a Funding Executive for Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg.

I sensed an admirable ulterior motive to this panel beyond its in-the-moment purpose of generating robust discussion about funding queer cinema, later to be confirmed by Sammut: this was an exercise in laying foundations for greater networked-ness between significant players in local and international queer film, for the betterment of filmmakers whose works those festivals help fund and platform, and for the festivals themselves in sharing work thus platformed. Now, would so purposeful a panel as this be staged at Cannes, or Venice? Let alone before a comparable mass of queer industry folk as assembled that afternoon in the Martin-Gropius-Bau cinema? I think not!

Alas, I don’t believe this or other Teddy Talks were recorded, to be made available later. But here’s acknowledging that excellent interviews conducted in English with Teddy-nominated filmmakers by Teddy team members Zsombor Bobák and Jan-Felix Wuttig were made, and remain, accessible on the Teddy Award YouTube channel.5 Huzzah!

As enjoyable as these talks were – as likely were those I missed as well – they were not of course our main focus. And so, without any further ado, it’s…

Onto the Main Event

The Teddy Closing Ceremony was held on Friday 23 February in the famed Volksbühne (“People’s Theatre”) on Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz. I gathered it was a little pricey to attend in person – I believe a tiered structure was in play, with the top tier priced at €75. It was, however, freely livestreamed on the Teddy Award website.

Our jury was charged with issuing its four awards at intervals, punctuated by variety performances including an aerial act named “Two on the Rope” and a musical tribute to Klaus Nomi, whose iconographic trademarks decorated both sides of the stage. There would also be an outstanding achievement award, which is chosen and issued annually by the Teddy Foundation. This year, the Special Teddy Award was to go to legendary Berlin underground filmmaker and graue Eminenz, Lothar Lambert. With any luck/will, that might herald a return to circulation of his 30-odd short and feature-length films made between 1971 and 2010, all currently very difficult to access, the better that more of us beyond Berlin circles might be better acquainted with his work. Here’s hoping.

The ceremony opened with an astutely repurposed rendition of “The Rainbow Connection” before throwing to the inevitable speeches. These included a lengthy screed from the German Minister of State for Culture and the Media, Claudia Roth, which was exhaustive in its accounts of conflicts around the globe, and of the world’s LGBTQIA+-hostile regimes. There was, though, one breathtakingly elephantine omission. Good thing the Teddy Jury was on hand to address the elephant that was, nonetheless, in the room.

We were tasked with issuing four Teddies between we five jurors. We couldn’t have anyone miss out on participating in the ceremony, so first up onstage would be Diego Armando Aparicio and myself, the former to deliver a preliminary speech on behalf of the whole jury, before I’d announce our first award.

Here’s Diego’s speech in full:

Before yesterday’s final deliberations on the films we watched, we spent a good chunk of time acknowledging that something didn’t quite feel right. It’s hard to remind ourselves why our work or this artform that we’re championing carry any meaning or significance, when we can’t find a communal space to collectively denounce the grave injustices currently taking place in Gaza. Any form of queer liberation will always amount to so very little if it relies on the oppression of others and the perpetuation of the structures that uphold that oppression. None of us are free, until we’re all free.

Demanding the end of a war should be neither complicated nor controversial. Before our duty here as a jury defending films, we first and foremost have a duty as human beings to preserve our integrity. It is our duty, given the privilege of being on this stage, to express in public our solidarity with the people of Palestine, and to unequivocally condemn the ongoing genocide and every form of war, apartheid and illegal occupation that have led to the loss of so many thousands of innocent lives and the displacement of millions.

The Berlinale’s lack of a concrete stance as an institution has left a great many of the people attending this year disappointed, to say the very least. This was precisely why the statements and the protests and sense of solidarity that came from the people adjacent to, surrounding or working within this institution, felt all the more urgent and significant. We are making this acknowledgement here tonight, drawing courage from those that came before us – the festival workers, the filmmakers, the activists, the queers, from all over the world – in the hope that this sense of community is strengthened and our voices amplified, when we speak out these words: return all hostages. Free Palestine. Ceasefire now.6

Dear reader, I’d be lying if I said this didn’t create a bit of a ruckus. Should we have been surprised, that Diego’s measured and heartfelt recitation of this speech elicited booing (yes, booing!) from fellow queers in the audience, alongside appreciably more vigorous applause and cheering, with pockets of the crowd even rising to give a standing ovation? Perhaps not.


Mine was the privilege to then award our first prize, the Teddy for Best Short Film. We gave it to Zuza Banasińska for their wonderful Grandmamauntsistercat from the Forum Expanded section, for “a playful, feminist, autofictional queering of chauvinistic, propagandistic archival materials produced by a Communist-era Polish educational film studio, and its witty interrogation of the perpetuation of binarised gender norms embedded within them”.7 (Moreover, its aesthetic reminded me piecemeal of Chris Cunningham’s video for Aphex Twin’s “Come to Daddy” [1997]. Fun!)

Hearteningly, the surprised winner kindly acknowledged the jury’s statement, a gesture met with a mix of several parts’ audience applause to fewer parts’ reproach, and calmly closed their acceptance speech with another call for an immediate ceasefire. This was appreciably felt as a lesser shock for those members of the audience not long scandalised by Diego’s address; the mood felt like it was lightening, the tension defusing.

It behooves me to acknowledge two other experimental shorts that had been in contention. I adored Luciana Merino and Pascal Viveros’ Al sol, lejos del centro (Towards the Sun, Far from the Center), an entrancing, dialogue-free invitation to scrutinise Santiago cityscapes from a variety of long-shot perspectives, perhaps to chance upon some queerness – though I doubt I’d have thought to look for it, had it not been a Teddy shortlistee. (I’d still have found the film mesmerising, though.)

I also admired Sarnt Utamachote’s Ich will nicht nur eine Erinnerung sein (I Don’t Want to Be Just a Memory), a hybrid work combining fluorescent abstracted imagery with footage of Berlin queer community members reflecting upon hardships brought about by drug deaths amongst their ranks and peak-COVID isolation struggles, which forged parallels between mycelium and queer networks – delicate structures, both.

Our next award was the Teddy Jury Award, which we were granted considerable latitude to give out as we saw fit. We felt that the superb ensemble cast from Levan Akin’s Crossing would make for the perfect recipient. The Crossing team had already left Berlin, but a delighted Deniz Dumanlı appeared via pre-recorded video message to accept the award from Vic Carmen Sonne. Dumanlı plays an Istanbul-based, trans lawyer we’re led to believe – there’s a lot of canny telegraphing and misdirection both, in this vaguely Hitchcockian film – might be the missing transgender niece of a tight-lipped Georgian retiree (Mzia Arabuli), whose quest to find her drives Akin’s engrossing feature follow-up to 2019’s Da chven vitsek’vet (And Then We Danced).

Teaches of Peaches

The Best Documentary/Essay Film went to Teaches of Peaches, issued by Luís Fernando Moura. Delighted as we were that the film’s two directors, Philipp Fussenegger and Judy Landkammer, were present to receive the award, the fans of Merrill Nisker among us were more delighted still that she was there in person as well. (We’d attended a press screening, rather than its premiere, so had missed Peaches’ prior appearance at the festival.) Upon approaching the mic, the iconic singer and performance artist acknowledged being “a progressive Jewish person who’s lived in Germany for over 20 years,” and thanked “all the voices that spoke out tonight, because in the end, it’s all about human rights.” No-one booed. Who’d dare boo Peaches?

Rich in archival and on-the-road footage, with testimonials from past and current friends and collaborators, Teaches of Peaches is supremely well woven together – co-director Landkammer was not only also its editor, but The Visitor’s as well. It’s an energetic and entertaining documentary testament to a vital, gender-queering personality and career rich in sex-positive musical provocation and chosen family-nurturing, who still has plenty to teach us all.

A shout-out is warranted to the two other contenders for the prize taken by Teaches, with both being documentaries on photographers. In both cases, the work of the artists profiled features heavily. Markus Stein’s grungy Baldiga – Entsichertes Herz (Baldiga – Unlocked Heart) profiles the complex, restive figure of Jürgen Baldiga, whose prolific photographic practice took off upon his receiving an HIV-positive diagnosis in 1984, and documented the West Berlin queer underground and his own life with Dionysian abandon. Readings from his diaries – regularly written in the self-mythologising third person – inform a frenetic tour through a colossal archive, yet also a severely AIDS-abbreviated life; aged only 34, Baldiga died in 1993.

Happily, Libuše Jarcovjáková, the Czech subject of Klára Tasovská’s Ještě nejsem, kým chci být (I’m Not Everything I Want to Be), is very much still alive, her photographic career flourishing after many years where photography was more an existential pursuit for the artist, rather than one acknowledged by the art world.

Like Baldiga, I’m Not Everything I Want to Be includes diary readings, but read by Jarcovjáková herself. It runs at a gentler pace, but features occasional rapid-fire flurries of sequential still images which produce pseudo-stop-motion sequences that put me in mind of some of Jan Švankmajer’s early short films. It’s a remarkable testament to a queer life lived and for too long unsung, beginning in the margins of ‘60s Prague-on-the-turn, before taking in periods in West Berlin, Tokyo, Berlin – as the Wall was falling – and Prague again.

For our jury’s final official duty, and after a little playful teasing of the audience, Kami Sid gave the Best Feature Film Award to Ray Yeung’s gentle, moving, somewhat ironically titled All Shall Be Well. Happily, the director was there to accept the award, along with four key collaborators.

All Shall Be Well

All Shall Be Well concerns a well-to-do, 60-something lesbian couple in Hong Kong whose relationship of 30 years only ends when one of them, Pat (Maggie Li Lin-Lin, in her first role in 30 years), suddenly dies; the rights to their shared property for surviving partner Angie (Patra Au Ga-man), vis-à-vis Pat’s family, becomes the stuff of differences that escalate, such that it looks like Angie will be deprived of any material legacy of their treasured time together, and her efforts to ensure that Pat’s true wishes are respected will be derailed. There’s much in the film that’s specific to Chinese culture and superstition, but based on the Q&A at the film’s premiere, much that’s all-too-universal, too – one local member of the audience shared a similarly upsetting experience from when his same-sex partner died, and he was left with nothing. It’s clear that All Shall Be Well, rare in its focus on the struggles of older queer people in long-term relationships, will travel well.

Come the end of the ceremony, all jurors, award winners, performers and hosts took to the stage together, the atmosphere now fully celebratory, as a prelude to the Teddy Closing party that kicked on, in different spaces on the same premises, till late-ish (-ish, by Berlin standards).

A highlights video from the ceremony can be found on the Teddy Award YouTube channel, and captures many of the merriest moments of the night. It does not, however, include the Teddy jury’s statement.8

Another Night, Another Ceremony, or: From Storm to Calm, to Shitstorm

The gala Closing Ceremony in the Berlinale Palast was the very following night, whereat it was lovely to see a number of Teddy contenders win non-Teddy awards, even if they weren’t necessarily all our picks of the crop. Young Hearts won a Special Mention from the seven member-strong Children‘s Jury Generation Kplus, while the International Short Film Jury awarded the Golden Bear for Best Short Film to Francisco Lezama’s Un movimiento extraño (An Odd Turn), which was a solid little bisexual romantic dramedy set on the streets of Buenos Aires, but was no Grandmamauntsistercat.

Cidade; Campo

A prize I could really get on board with though, was Juliana Rojas’ receipt of Best Director from the Encounters Jury for Cidade; Campo. This Brazilian-German-French co-production is an engrossing film of two distinct parts, per the title, which translates from Portuguese as “City; Country” – but what of the relationship between the two? What to make of that peculiar titular use of a semi-colon when the film concerns people in each half relocating from one setting to the other?

I had an experience with this meditative and measured film that I’m sure Apichatpong Weerasethakul would approve of; I became so abruptly discombobulated by the shift from a struggletown, workaday urban setting in the film’s first half to a magical-realist, lesbionic, rural one in the second that I felt I had somehow slept and dreamt that unexpected transition into being. I found myself feeling how I felt the first time I saw Apichatpong’s Tropical Malady (2004) – a glorious feeling of simultaneous disorientation and captivation at such wholesale queering of both narrative content and form.

More banally, Dag Johan Haugerud’s Sex was endowed with €2,500 by the Ecumenical Jury as its pick of the Panorama; it was a winner with other non-statutory bodies, too, winning a CICAE Arthouse Cinema Award and the  Europa Cinemas Label. However, I found it flip in its treatment of a collegial pair of bourgeois chimney sweeps (only in Norway?) who each come to question their cosy heteronormativity – one on grounds of sexual orientation and an impulsive, fleeting sexual encounter, the other on grounds of gender owing to confusing dreams. Meh.

Hearteningly, acknowledgement from jurors and award recipients alike of the unrelenting horrors in Gaza was so frequent throughout the elaborate Closing Ceremony, and seemingly incurred little audience pushback, that one might have been forgiven for thinking that, overnight, the Berlinale and Berlin had come to terms with mentioning the war.

However, come the next day, media outrage over putative antisemitism at the Closing Night blew up, exemplified by Kai Wegner, Governing Mayor of Berlin, who posted on X that “What happened yesterday at the Berlinale was an intolerable relativisation. Antisemitism has no place in Berlin, and that also applies to the art scene. I expect the new management of the Berlinale to ensure that such incidents do not happen again.”9

The opprobrium assumed grandly absurd dimensions when the aforementioned Claudia Roth publicly declared herself only to have been clapping Yuval Abraham, the Israeli co-director of the Berlinale Documentary Award winner, No Other Land, and not his Palestinian counterpart Basel Adra, in footage that circulated of her (and Wegner) applauding the directors’ victory speeches – speeches in which they both acknowledged the hugely differing degrees to which they enjoy freedom of movement.10 No Other Land concerns, lest it need explication, Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and the forced removal by settlers of Palestinians living there. 

The shitstorm assumed clusterfuck proportions when the Panorama’s Instagram account was then hijacked by hacktivists, with the Berlinale ostensibly declaring “Genocide is genocide. We are all complicit” to the Panorama account’s 15,000+ followers, followed by “From our unresolved Nazi past to our genocidal present – we have always been on the wrong side of history,” before stating that the festival was “raising our voice to join the millions around the world who demand an immediate and permanent ceasefire, and we urge other cultural institutions in Germany to do the same.”

I simultaneously admired the chutzpah of the stunt and felt badly for the friends I’d made in the connected Panorama and Teddy teams. It felt cruel that it was the Panorama account specifically that was hacked, in light of our not being impeded at all from expressing our collective dismay at the horrors unfolding in Gaza at the Teddy ceremony.

The Berlinale promptly issued a strident press release, stating that it “condemn[ed] this criminal act in the strongest possible terms and has deleted the posts and launched an investigation. In addition, the Berlinale has filed criminal charges against unknown persons. The LKA [the state criminal office] has begun an investigation.”11 Against unknown persons – I didn’t even know that was possible?

As non-Germans, we Teddy jurors – along with other internationally-constituted festival juries, and many award winners – were insulated from any serious repercussions for expressing views counter to what reads to many of us as a cognitively-dissonant, bizarrely normalised extreme reluctance to critique Israel’s conduct, as a function of German Vergangenheitsbewältigung: a failing reckoning of its Nazi past through which intergenerational guilt seems to proscribe engagement with atrocities committed by those whom Germany had previously perpetrated atrocities upon.

What fate might yet befall these unknown hackers, should they become known, and should they prove to be locals? Or befall festival workers who had gone public with their discontent at the festival’s upper echelons’ struthious stance on Gaza? Or… were threats of legal action a purely performative legal necessity, and ditto Roth’s absurd protestations of only clapping an Israeli filmmaker?

I feel that, come what may in the Middle East over the next several months – and, far from uniquely, mine isn’t an especially sanguine outlook, for all concerned – incoming festival Director Tricia Tuttle has an unenviable task ahead of her in steering this vital festival, and the gold-standard de facto queer film festival harboured within it, through the near certainty of further internal, external, local, national, international, and queer and intersectional turbulence. I wish her well – and look forward to seeing whether all shall be well there for myself.

15 – 25 February 2024


  1. Teddy Award website.
  2. This has since been renamed the “Uber Eats Music Hall”. No, really. Uber was also a Principal Partner of the Berlinale this year, and last.
  3. Per the FAQs on the Manifesto Potsdamer Platz website.
  4. I must say I was struck throughout my time at this, my first Berlinale, by how seldom I heard German spoken. I later gleaned that German is the first language of the Competition, but English is the lingua franca for the remainder of the program. As only two Competition films were in the running for a Teddy – the terrifically grim but hardly queer, true-to-historical-record, 18th-century morality play, Des Teufels Bad (The Devil’s Bath, Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala) and Claire Burger’s so-so, French-German, teen pen pals romance, Langue Étrangère – I heard very little German spoken at the festival.)
  5. “38. Teddy Award (2024)” playlist, YouTube, 17 March 2024.
  6. For a quick précis of the Berlinale’s by-now well publicised ructions over Israel’s war on Gaza, dated back to just prior to this year’s festival’s outset, read Zac Ntim and Andreas Wiseman, “Berlinale Workers Call For “Immediate Ceasefire” In Gaza & Round On Leadership: “We Want To Hold The Festival To A Higher Standard””, Deadline, 13 February 2024.
  7. Here I’m cannibalising the jury statement, which I wrote myself.
  8. 38. TEDDY AWARD Winners”, YouTube, 24 February 2024.
  9. Kai Wegner (@kaiwegner), https://twitter.com/kaiwegner/status/1761777006528676251,  X, 25 February 2024. Translation from German mine.
  10. Philip Oltermann, “German minister says she clapped Israeli film-maker, not his Palestinian colleague, at Berlinale”, The Guardian, 27 February 2024.
  11. Berlinale, “Berlinale Files Criminal Charges Over the Spreading of Anti-Semitic Posts / Criticism of Statements Made by Artists at the Berlinale Award Ceremony”, press release on Berlinale website, 26 February 2024.

About The Author

Hailing from Aotearoa New Zealand, Cerise Howard has been Program Director of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival since May 2023. A co-curator of the Melbourne Cinémathèque for several years now, she previously co-founded the Czech and Slovak Film Festival of Australia and was its Artistic Director from 2013-2018; she was also a co-founding member of tilde: Melbourne Trans and Gender Diverse Film Festival. For five years she has been a Studio Leader at RMIT University, specialising in studios interrogating the shortcomings of the canon and incubating film festivals. She plays a mean bass guitar.

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