Pembe Hayat KuirFest (Pink Life QueerFest), the first and only queer film festival in Turkey, is visiting Berlin in collaboration with bi’bak. KuirFest Berlin 2018 presents a film and discussion series that engages with migration and mobility issues from non-Western queer perspectives. It gathers shorts, documentaries, fictions and series that explore different ways of commenting on hegemonic border politics and their encounters with body, sexuality and gender. The selection aims not only to tell a wide range of stories on queer migrants, border-crossings and liminalities of bodies, but also invites the audience to think collectively about how to queer narratives of migration and body politics.
In cooperation with Pink Life QueerFest, Aks International Minorities Festival and Zentrum Moderner Orient, commissioned by QM Soldiner Strasse, funded by German Republic and the Federal State of Berlin in the framework of Zukunftsinitiative Stadtteil II, Programm Soziale Stadt.
Esra Özban after graduating from Economics at Bogazici University, continued graduate studies at Goldsmiths, University of London in Film and Screen Studies MA programme. Esra Özban is the festival director and has worked as a programmer & coordinator at Pembe Hayat KuirFest since 2014. Esra also taught film-related courses at Bilkent and TED Universities and is a member of Atina Collective.
Mr. Gay Syria follows two gay Syrian refugees who are trying to rebuild their lives. Husein is a barber in Istanbul, living a double life between his conservative family and his gay identity. Mahmoud is the founder of Syria’s LGBTI+ movement and is a refugee in Berlin. What brings them together is a dream: to participate in an international beauty contest as an escape from their trapped lives and an answer to their invisibility. Will the dream come true or will the refugee crisis and the harsh consequences of being gay in the Muslim world shatter it to pieces?
The director Ayşe Toprak respectfully follows her main characters and besides pictures the realities of hegemonic border regimes.
Mahmoud Hassino is a Syrian journalist and LGBT rights activist. Hassino founded the first Syrian LGBT magazine Mawaleh and organized the first Mr. Gay Syria competition in Istanbul. At the moment he lives in Germany and works at Berlin Center For LGBTI Refugees – Schwulenberatung Berlin.
Aram, a young Iranian Armenian man who immigrated to the US in his childhood, returns to Armenia for the first time to propose to his Armenian girlfriend whom Aram met and lived with in the US. Aram sees many cultural, religious, and national differences on the one day trip, but harder obstacles are ahead.
Apricot Groves is a road movie back to home, where home is everywhere you have the beloved ones. A journey for the audience towards rituals, traditions, love and identity.
Pouria Heidary Oureh was born in 1984 in Tehran, Iran. From young age he was interested in visual and performance arts and storytelling, especially through drawings. He graduated from SAE institute of Digital Film in Dubai.
Nazan Maksudyan is a research associate at the Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient. Her research mainly focuses on the history of children and youth in the Ottoman Empire during the 19th and 20th century, with special interest in gender, sexuality, education, humanitarianism, and non-Muslims.
Gazino Neukölln is a Berlin based band consisting of women, trans and non-binary members from Turkey. Their cover versions of selected Turkish pop and arabesque songs are spiced up with lubunya* energy. Each performance of the band is a hommage to Turkish gazino culture. Gazinos were nightclubs that were famous in the 1970s and 80s in Turkey, where the artists had a close and direct contact with the audience. Gazino Neukölln firstly started to play in private rooms and parks, later conquering various stages of the city. For KuirFest Berlin 2018 they are visiting bi‘bak for an open air concert.
*Lubunya, a slang term used in Turkey that includes a spectrum of queer sexualities.
Transvestites / Travestiler
Aykut Atasay, 2007
Overtime / Fazla Mesai
Gürcan Keltek, 2012
Nilgün Küçükbatman, 2016
Rebirth / Yeniden Doğuş
Zehra Gökçimen & Gökçe Oraloğlu, 2017
Sertaç Koyuncu, 2017
Muttering / Homur Homur
Simay Çalışkan & Nergis Karadağ, 2017
Everything you want to know about ‘Transvestites‘ is in this mockumentary. In Overtime, we hear sounds of workers, both day and night, on the streets, in factories and studios of Istanbul. Moira is a daily ballad for Boysan, Zeliş and Mert. Rebirth is a dance ritual which turns into a recreation of the self. A DYI rebellion against ‘the looks’ is traced in Solo. And there is no place for haters in Muttering.
Pink Life QueerFest curated the Lubunya* – Queer Shorts from Turkey event with short documentary and fiction LGBTI+ films from Turkey from the early 2000s to today. The selection intends to open up a debate on the past, present and future of queer cinema and the LGBTI+ movement in Turkey.
*Lubunya, a slang term used in Turkey that includes a spectrum of queer sexualities.
Nazlı is a lesbian feminist activist and a Phd student in anthropology, interested in queer migration and digital media. She lives in Berlin since January 2017.
Barrio Malasaña, known by Madrid residents as Maravillas (wonders), was once the countercultural hub of La Movida Madrileña and now a hip and trendy place with tourists. Departing from this rebellious past, Wonders Wander, a four episode mobi-web-serial, takes the wonders out of Malasaña to explore off-the-mainstream nouveau queer generation that includes refugees, migrants, functional diversity, transfeminista, transfeminism, open family, subversive motherhoods, sustainable living, and the rise of auto-defense practices for self-empowerment. Wonders Wander tracks with its GPS guided city-walks sites of documented homo-trans-phobic attacks that extend to peripheral Madrid. Along the way, Wonders Wander’s four episodes, filmed respectively at Lavapies in Centro, Vaciador in Carabanchel, La Dragona in Ciudad Lineal and 12 towers in Vallecas, are embedded for viewing and download on site. With a magic realism twist and fantasia narratives, the four movie episodes, titled “With witches, we move”, “As the wheels meet”, “You are mine, only mine”, “Understand?” recount tales of queer resistance with relentless defiance, seductive sensuality and vigorous passion.
Shu Lea Cheang is a multimedia artist working in the field of net-based installation, social interface and film production.
Co-curated by Esra Özban and Saadat Munir
Following the screening there will be a discussion with the two curators on the film selection, Aks International Minorities Festival and Pembe Hayat KuirFest in relation to the general theme of migration & mobility and its queer interpretations.
Half a Life
Tamara Shogaolu, NL/US/EG, 2017
Roy Dib, LB, 2017
Jennifer Reeder, US, 2016
Brother, Omar Mateen
Saad Khan, US, 2016
The Streets Are Ours
Michelle Fiordaliso, US, 2017
Half a Life is an intimate journey into the life of a young gay activist in Egypt. Borrowing the aesthetics of a travel video log, Mondial 2010 is a discussion of institutional borders in modern day Middle East. An anthem for young feminists, Crystal Lake presents female friendship as a means to survive adolescence. Brother, Omar Mateen tells the story of a Muslim queer Pakistani who immigrated to the US and empathizes with Omar Mateen. The Streets are Ours is a farewell, a tribute for Sabeen Mahmud and its legacy containing the penultimate interview with her.
Aks International Minorities Festival, launched in April 2014, is a global human rights initiative designed to facilitate an already existing socio-political and cultural dialogue. The organization aims to promote the visibility of minorities and marginalized groups and communities. The Aks Festival screens films which are accompanied by discussions and debates, while organising educational workshops and performing arts events that promote awareness and dialogue about issues impacting minorities groups.
Saadat Munir has been awarded several honours as a filmmaker, and has recently been an official Talent at Berlinale 2015. Apart from film production, he is an experienced film curator/programmer, critic and has also served as jury member at various national and international film festivals. Presently, Munir is a creative director of Aks Film, Art and Dialogue, a bi-national film festival for minorities and marginalized communities that illuminate socio-political aspects of transgender, queer, people of color (POC) living in Pakistan and Denmark.