On December 1-4, the International Queer Film Festival was held in Chișinău, Moldova.
Documentary and feature films were screened at the annual festival, which was held for the fifth time this year. The festival’s program offers both Moldovan films and films from different countries of the world: Chile, Argentina, Colombia, India, France, Lebanon, Spain, Norway, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Greece, Germany, Brazil.
LGBTQI+ people in Moldova face a lot of pressure from the state, traditional patriarchal values and religious groups. The goal of the festival is to create a platform where queer people can bring forward their issues and agenda.
The festival includes workshops, where interested parties get acquainted with the basic principles of documentary filmmaking, develop ideas, and make films every year. Participants are evaluated by a special jury, and the winner is given the opportunity to further develop their idea and make a full-length documentary film.
Here are the 5 best films from the Moldova International Film Festival Queer Voices:
TRAVESTI ODYSSEY | 2021 | Chile, Argentina
TRAVESTI ODYSSEY is a documentary by Nicolas Videla, which tells us about the cabaret theatrical productions of transgender and drag artists. The film, composed of shots taken with a hand-held camera, tells us about the complicated and complex relationships of cabaret actors, against the backdrop of the recent history of politically turbulent Chile. Filled with rich cinematographic techniques and haunting shots, the film was a real discovery of the festival and once again clearly shows the LGBTQI+ community’s struggle for freedom.
SWEETHEART | 2021 | United Kingdom
SWEETHEART is a feature film that tells the story of a teenage girl, AJ. AJ is a typical teenager whose life is full of rebellion, misunderstandings, and conflict with family. Things get more complicated on a family visit to an amusement park, which seems to bore the main protagonist. Yet, everything changes, once she meets a local life guard named Isla, and develops romantic feelings towards her.
EX | 2022 | Germany, Greece
EX is a half-documentary, half-feature film by George Markakis, a Greek-born director, which takes us on a journey to one of the most mythologized and mysterious places of one of Berlin’s nightclubs, the toilet. What is life of people, who live from weekend to weekend, from party to party, like. What topics do they talk about in the toilet of the club, in a few square meters – these are the questions that Diana, the protagonist of the film, tries to answer, while acting as a kind of guide in the underground world.
I AM MICHELE 2021 | Ukraine
I AM MICHELE is a 2021 documentary film that follows the life of a Ukrainian transgender woman and a model. 20-year-old Michelle, who lives in Kyiv and dreams of becoming a model, realizes that not everything in her life is as she had imagined, after achieving success on social media. That is why she decides to change her life and return to her native village in Western Ukraine, where the story of her transition had begun and where she first received support from her parents and people cose to her.
HAPPYLAND | 2022 | Moldova
What is happiness and how do you see it? The documentary film, on which three female directors: Vasilută Vasilache, Elena Culic and Toma Pan, worked for two years, tries to answer these questions. The film shows us different layers of Moldovan society and tells us a story about acceptance, love, relationships and human happiness. At the same time, the film clearly shows the attitude of Moldovan society towards LGBTQI+ people.