Awards in seven categories have been presented on the last night of Merlinka film festival in Belgrade. The categories are: Best short film, Best Documentary, Best Feature Film, Best Animated Film, Audience award, Noizzmaker Awards and Special Festival Award.
SHORT FILM JURY MEMBERS: Aileen Pinkert (Lesbisch Schwule Filmtage Hamburg), Yony Leyser (Director), Vladana Vasic (Merlinka festival Sarajevo)
Best short film
Director: Slava Doytcheva
Duration: 20 min
A wedding. A girl. A closet. And the choice to be made once and for all – against the current or against herself.
A universal and daring message from Bulgaria, a country whose government doesn’t protect LGBT+ people from hate crimes.Being different is not easy. To feel comfortable, to feel at ease with oneself, to feel complete and whole, you need to cherish yourself the way you are – against all odds. Being forced to smile at the happiness of others that don’t understand you is tough. Having to pretend to fit in gender stereotypes you reject is hard. A young woman is struggling with herself while attending the wedding of a related straight couple. She seems displaced standing next to the pink ballons. The pressure she must feel is unbearable, we can tell. She feels comfortable only in a hidden place she shares with another woman who’s not afraid to show who she really is.
This is not a typical coming out story. It’s not about coming out to others. It’s about coming to terms with who you are – for your own sake. The film’s analogies are decently interwoven, the character’s desires are embodied by the flawless camera movements and the knowing glances the two women share across the room. The audience can feel how Yana, the main protagonist is going back and forth in her mind – until she makes a brave decision. A choice that encourages the viewer to also cherish oneself no matter what. A universal and daring message from Bulgaria, a country whose government doesn’t protect LGBT+ people from hate crimes.
Director: Clara Stern
Duration: 30 min
Mathias is transgender. Although he is more than sure about his decision, he still has to find his way in his new identity and especially in his new job. And also his relationship with his girlfriend seems to have changed due to the transition. Mathias tries to figure out what’s best for him.
FEATURE AND DOCUMENTARY FILM JURY: Lazara Marinković (Journalist), Dunja Nešović (FDU Student), Dragan Jovićević (Journalist), Zoran Janković (Film Critic), Đorđe Bajić (Writer)
Alone in the Game
Survival in Berlin – Neukölln
WINNER: TRANNY FAG
Directors: Kiko Goifman, Claudia Priscilla
Duration: 75 min
A documentary that follows Mc Linn Da Quebrada, a black trans woman, performer and activist living in impoverished São Paulo. Her electrifying performances (with plenty of nudity) brazenly take on Brazil’s hetero-normative machismo.
Best Feature Film
Knife + Heart
WINNER: HARD PAINT
Directors: Filipe Matzembacher, Marcio Reolon
Cast: Shico Menegat, Bruno Fernandes, Guega Peixoto
Set in Brazil’s southern city of Porto Alegre, the film focuses on a socially repressed young man who only comes out of his shell during chatroom performances, when he strips and smears neon paints on his lithe body.
SPECIAL MENTION: RAFIKI
Director: Wanuri Kahiu
Stars: Patricia Amira, Muthoni Gathecha, Jimmy Gathu
Kenya, South Africa, Germany, France, Lebanon, Norway, Netherlands, USA, 2018
Duration: 82 min
“Good Kenyan girls become good Kenyan wives,” but Kena and Ziki long for something more. When love blossoms between them, the two girls will be forced to choose between happiness and safety.
Audience Award for ultra-short film
Karate – 3rd Place
White Bedrooms – 2nd Place
The Best Moment – 1st Place
EL MEJOR MOMENTO
Director: Raul Navarro
Duration: 4 min
How can you recognize the best moment?
Best Animated Film
TWO OF EVERY KIND
Directors: Efrat Chen Weiss, Naor Zana, Neta Bar
Duration: 8 min
The Flood, One of the most colossal events in the history of mankind. Two of every kind, two of every living thing, went inside Noah’s ark in order to save them self. Not many know but amongst the couples were also two peacocks, males. The crisis between god and men was nothing compared to their troubles boarding the arc.
Director: Faraz Arif Ansari
Duration: 15 min
There’s much talk about the language of love — the beauty, the poesy, the intricacy and the eloquence. But what if the real romance rested between the lines, in pages and moments that pass you by? And what if you learned one day that you could read it all? Soak in the joy, taste the eloquence, breathe in the intricacies and feel the poesy reverberating in the air. But what if you could only sense, only feel and yet do nothing else?
Special Festival Award
THE WALL / ZID
Director: Branislav Kostić
Duration: 8 min
As much as we are different, we all go through the same problems in life.