By: Valentina Radulovic
Belgrade, Nov.16, 2009 (Serbia Today) - International Festival of gay film ‘Merlinka’ will be held from November 16th to November 19th in Dom Omladine – Belgrade. The festival has been produced to promote a wide spectrum of film titles dealing with homosexuality, gender and sexuality issues from all over the world.
The films selected here rarely receive a mainstream theatrical or television release in Serbia, due to their subject content, making the festival a rare, uninhibited of issues related to human sexuality. The festival will feature shorts films, features and documentaries from all over the world. The festival producers also aim to create a safe and open atmosphere for the community to discuss gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues, and celebrate diversity.
One of the main aims of the festival is to promote gay-lesbian rights and impact on reducing homophobia in Serbian society through the film art.
The festival is named after murdered transsexual Vjeran Miladinovic Merlinka, who played in ‘Marble Ass’, a film by well-known Serbian director Zelimir Zilnik. This film will also be shown at the festival.
The festival brings together a selection of local and international titles. The audience will be able to see Serbian films: ‘Kennedy is getting married’, ‘Marble Ass’, ‘Take a Deep Breath’. From Germany the following films will be shown; ‘Ghosted’ and ‘Otto: Or, Up with the dead people’. Two British films will be screened at the festival - ‘An Englishman in New York’, and a documentary ‘Beyond the Pink Curtain’. Bosnian documentary ‘Queer Sarajevo’ will be shown. Other international entries include Icelandic-French co-production ‘The Amazing Truth About Queen Raquela’, a Romanian film ‘Love Sick’, and a French film ‘Les Chansons d’amour’.
Before the beginning of the festival a panel discussion with the thematic focus on ‘Queer Moments in the domestic film’. Participants will be directors and actors who acted or directed gay/lesbian films. They will discuss how individual people stick to the cultural binary definitions of male and female, and how we are all trapped by the dichotomy of male and female, and how those issues reflect in Serbian film.
This festival will bring a rich selection of seldom-seen films to the Serbian audience, as well as, support the work of local, national and international filmmakers. It is hoped that the event will help to promote an atmosphere of respect and tolerance, in and around the gay and lesbian community.
The ‘Merlinka’ festival is organized by the Gay-Lesbian info center GLIC and Dom Omladine Belgrade. It is supported by the Center for Nonviolent Action, Queeria Center, Goethe Institute, French Cultural Center, British Council, Ministry for Human and Minority Rights and the Reconstruction Women’s Fund.