Teddy Award 2013: Celebrating Queer Icons

Every February, the 10-day Berlinale festival attracts around 20,000 visitors to the city from 130 different countries. It is a place for the movers and shakers of the international film industry to present their latest movies (around 300,000 tickets are sold every year!) and negotiate future projects (particularly at the European Film Market), but it is also a chance to celebrate with other film fanatics at the various official and unofficial parties and awards ceremonies.

But which do you think is the biggest event? The grand opening party at the Berlinale Palast? Not quite.

First a Girl Retrospektive 2013 GBR 1935 DIRECTOR: Victor Saville Sonnie Hale, Jessie Matthews, Griffith Jones Source: The Cinema Museum, London, © ITV Studios Global Entertainment/Park Circus

First a Girl © ITV Studios Global Entertainment/Park Circus

The 27th award ceremony for the Teddy, the official queer award at the Berlinale, took place last Friday at Station-Berlin, a former Deutsche Post depot in Kreuzberg. The award ceremony and after party were sold out, with a whopping 2700 guests, making it the biggest Berlinale event in 2013 (that’s around 700 more guests than the Berlinale grand opening party, for example). There were a number of famous guests, such as Berlin’s openly gay mayor Klaus Wowereit, not to mention some fantastic entertainment, including a performance by singer Rufus Wainwright,

W imię... | In the Name of Competition 2013 POL 2012 DIRECTOR: Małgośka Szumowska Andrzej Chyra

Teddy Best Feature Film and Siegessäule Award winner: "W imię..." | "In the Name of" by Małgośka Szumowska

The winner of this year’s Teddy for best feature film was “W imię…” or “In the Name of ” by Polish director Małgośka Szumowska tells the story of a homosexual Catholic priest in a Polish province. According to the Teddy jury, the film ”demonstrates how impressively strong images and a deeply moving and personal story can challenge the stereotype that homosexuality and religion are incompatible… it is a film which broaches this tabu subject in an authentic way, whilst at the same time challenging the Catholic church to show support for its gay priests.”

It was an impressive double win for Szumowska, who also took home the Siegessäule Award, as voted for by readers of Berlin’s queer city guide magazine. Szumowska is no stranger to the Berlinale – last year her film “Elles” or “Das Bessere Leben” was also in the running for the prestigious Golden Bear.

Bambi Panorama 2013 FRA 2013 DIRECTOR: Sébastien Lifshitz Marie-Pierre Pruvot

Teddy Best Documentary winner: "Bambi" by Sébastien Lifshitz

The Teddy prize for best documentary went to Sébastien Lifshitz’s “Bambi”, a Swedish film about an affair between a man and a transsexual woman. The Special Teddy Jury Award went to the US-American film “Concussion” by Stacie Passon, a film about the disintegration of a marriage between two women, which according to the jury “manages, on the one hand, to uphold the values of a modern rainbow family, while at the same time freeing its member from conventional expectations and pressures.”

Concussion Panorama 2013 USA 2013 DIRECTOR: Stacie Passon Julie Fain Lawrence, Robin Weigert © David Kruta

Special Teddy Jury Award winner: Stacie Passon's "Concussion" © David Kruta

The Teddy Award recognises films which deal with queer issues and raises public awareness, with an aim to challenging restrictive stereotypes and expectations. Contemporary queer films and filmmakers are honoured each year, but this year there was also a strong emphasis on celebrating queer icons past and present. Films such as “First a Girl”, “Some Like it Hot” and “Cabaret” were all showing this year, while the Teddy programme guide presented a selection of queer icons from various different fields and periods, including Virginia Woolf, James Dean and Jean Cocteau under the heading “This is our Family Album”.

Visit the Teddy website for information on other queer film events and festivals throughout the year and across the globe. The Hotel Concorde Berlin is proud partner of the Teddy Award – we’re already looking forward to the next one in 2014!

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