Awards in six categories have been presented on the last night of 11th Merlinka film festival in Belgrade. The categories are: Best short film, Best Documentary, Best Feature Film, Best Animated Film, Audience award, Promaja Awards and Special Festival Award.
SHORT FILM JURY MEMBERS: Jugoslav Pantelic (Yugoslav Cinematheque), Franck Finance Madureira (Queer Palm Award), Antony Hickling (Director)
Dante vs. Mohammed Ali (Winer)
Best short film: Dante vs. Mohammed Ali
Director: Marc Wagenaar
Duration: 25 min
When Wolf refuses to fight his best friend Alexander during a weekly boxing match, the whole village turns against him. He tries to convince Alexander to join him leaving the village, but his overly romantic message runs into a wall.
Sometimes a movie hits you from the first shot like an uppercut or love at first sight. That what happened for all of us in the short movie jury. The film we chose to award is made of desire and violence, these two major feelings we have in our heart and brain when we’re in love for the first time. Thanks to its original, powerful and precise cinematography, its poetical and sincere words and its unusual characters and amazing actors, this movie broke our hearts. It seemed to be designed to renew the fire of pure and naive passion we all have somewhere in ourselves. That’s why we decided to award the magnificent “Dante vs Mohammed Ali” written and directed by Marc Wagenaar from Netherlands.
DOCUMENTARY FILM JURY MEMBERS: Jelena Trivan (Serbian Film Center), Branislav Kostic (Director), Sfetan M. Mladenovic (Director and actor)
Until porn do us part (Winer)
Jonathan Agassi Saved My Life
Gay Chorus, Deep South
Making Montgomery Clift
Best documentary: Until porn do us part
Director: Jorge Pelicano
Eulália, a conservative 65-year-old mother, finds out that her son who emigrated to Germany became Fostter Riviera, the internationally awarded first Portuguese gay porn actor. From shock and disgust to desperately trying to understand him, Eulália embarks on an emotional journey that puts her values, expectations and perceptions to the test. With the computer and Facebook as her main sources of information and communication, Eulália’s quest to get closer to her son makes her click on unexpected websites, meet unlikely people and challenge herself to see her son perform a live sex show in the annual Portuguese erotic fair.
Unlike the usual perspective that is expected in queer films and in which we follow the fates of LGBT individuals, the film Until porn do us part follows the fate of a mother whose son decided to enter porn industry in an eccentric, public and highly provocative way. The film follows the mother’s struggle with herself, how to accept her son’s decisions, the condemnation of her surroundings, but also the struggle of the son to accept his patriarchal mother. This mother, like all patriarchal mothers, strenuously, persistently seeks and fights for her son’s attention, doesn’t accept rejection, goes from rejection to remorse and returns again to the principle that mother is always a mother and that her love is greater than anything. The director’s ingenuity culminates in a scene when a mother, like a traditional Catholic, praises the saints for being able to see her son, and whom she will see, no less, at the porn festival. There are no victims and saints in this film. A mother is hard and boring, as caring and persistent, a son selfish and eccentric, as worried that introducing his mother to his life could hurt everyone, and the film is honest, showing more than the fate and relationship of a gay porn star and his family. The film represents the contemporary alienation of parents and children who communicate via Facebook, among them are generational differences, but also a mutual love that finds a way to overcome everything.
FEATURE FILM JURY MEMBERS: Dragan Jovićević (Journalist), Sandra Perović (Journalist), Milica Tomović (Director)
And then we danced
This is not Berlin (Winer)
Socrates (Special mention)
Portrait of a lady on fire
Best feature film: This is not Berlin
Director: Hari Sama
Cast: Xabiani Ponce de León, José Antonio Toledano, Mauro Sanchez Navarro
1986 Mexico City. Seventeen-year-old Carlos doesn’t fit in anywhere: not in his family nor with the friends he has chosen in school. But everything changes when he is invited to a mythical nightclub where he discovers the underground nightlife scene: post punk, sexual liberty, and drugs that challenges the relationship with his best friend Gera and lets him find his passion for art.
Impeccably painted, nostalgic portrait of an alternative new wave cultural scene in Mexico City in the mid-1980’s, seen by rebellious but sensitive androgynous teenager is semi-autobiographical odyssey of director Hari Sama through Mexican creative rebellion. Confrontation of the atmosphere around the FIFA World Cup and subversive club and art scene in which they intertwine with Dadaist art movement laced with performance, sexual freedoms, opiates, new-age punk and rock scene, in the film “This is not Berlin” are presented convincingly and realistically with skillful application of restless camera and unconventional black and white shots taken with super eight.
Special mention: Socrates
ANIMATED FILM JURY MEMBERS: Kristian Randjelovic (Activist), Mirela Srebric (Director and animator), Vladimir Matic Kuriljov (Ilustrator and animator)
Butterflies in Berlin (Winner)
Best animated film: Butterflies in Berlin
Director: Monica Manganelli
Alex moves to Berlin in 1933, during the Weimar Republic period. Looking for his place in the world and his sexual identity, he becomes the first out-of-surgery transsexual in History. That happens unfortunately during the National-Socialism rise, a social disruption that turned the capital of sexual freedom in the most repressed country of all times.
The emotional, tragi life story of Alex, happening in the time and horror of Nazi atrocities, inspired the authors of Butterflies in Berlin to create an unreal world of beautiful moving collages, images and characters that depict, unfortunately, true events. The refined aesthetics of the character captivate the visual skillful and unobtrusive dramaturgy leads through the film. The overall complex artistic and directorial solutions made us want to watch the movie again and to find new hidden parts. It was an extremely difficult task to create such a richly animated film.
Special Award: Support
Director: Milica Maletin
Alisa tries to confide in her friend Isidora, and her friend avoids it, suspecting what it’s about. By the end of the evening they find themselves confronting each other.
PROMAJA Award: Ficus
Director: Andrey Volkashin
Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2018
Almir is a gay man in the closet, who struggles with self-acceptance. He is hopelessly in love with his emotionally unstable, married boyfriend Mirsad. Instead of going to a party, Almir decides to spend New Year’s Eve with his dying friend Militsa and come out to her.
Courage in film and activism is outlined by pointing out, presenting and responding to those social phenomena that are ignored and unnamed by both the general community and the LGBT+ community. Specifically, in the face of systemic discrimination and monstrous human rights abuses, the LGBT+ community creates a narrative of struggle in the political movement, often omitting internal forms of discrimination and mechanisms for interfering with discriminatory social discourses. Not only does Ficus raise the topic of coming out in a country where there is systemic discrimination and culturally established homophobia, it confronts the LGBT+ community with a deeper, more personal and perfidious form of discrimination – autohomophobia, from a position of vulnerable honesty and self-reflection. We believe that launching speeches about self-reflection and deep-seated attitudes and beliefs that diminish the opportunity for well-being requires recognition and accentuation in order for the challenge of autohomophobia in the LGBT+ community to become a part of everyday narrative and attract significant political attention.
Audience Award: Crocodile
Director: Jorge Yudice
Duration: 5 min
Like every afternoon, Alicia prepares a cup of tea and watch her favorite youtube channel: VictorGaming. A role action video games channel. Victor, the youtuber, is streaming now answering questions from his fans. Alicia has a very important thing to say to him.