Film About Gay Priest, Trans Doc Win Queer Teddy Awards At Berlin Film Festival

Feb 17, 2013

In the Name ofOn Friday, the Polish film W imie… (In the Name of) won the Teddy Award for best queer feature at the Berlin International Film Festival.

An intense but beautifully shot story of a Catholic priest’s struggle with his sexuality, W Imie… was directed by Malgoska Szumowska (right, holding award), and features superb performances by Andrzej Chyra as the conflicted priest and Mateusz Kosciukiewicz as his attractive small-town love interest. (Interestingly, the two played father and son in a previous film.)

For more than a quarter century, the Teddy Awards have honored the best LGBT films at the acclaimed Berlinale. This year’s queer slate featured more than 20 films from across the globe, including South Korea (Baek Ya/White Night), the Netherlands (Boven is het stil/It’s All so Quiet), Argentina (Deshora/Belated), the U.S. (Interior. Leather Bar.) and Cameroon (Born This Way).

The Teddy for Best Documentary went to Sébastien Lifshitz’s Bambi, an exquisite portrait of 77-year-old Algerian-born trans woman Marie-Pierre Pruvot (below), known as Bambi during her Parisian burlesque days.

The Best Short Film prize went to another trans film, Swedish director Victor Lindgren’s Ta av mig (Undress Me), about an awkward post-bar hook-up between a newly transitioned young woman (the fantastic Jana Bringlöv Ekspong) and a curious young man (Swedish model Björn Elgerd).

bambiThe 2013 Teddy Jury Award went to Stacie Passon’s Concussion, the Rose Troche-produced story of a 40-something lesbian mom who, after a bump on the noggin, turns to prostitution to reinvigorate her passion for living.

This year the Berlinale added the Heiner Carow Prize, endowed by former East German studio DEFA to honor German cinematic arts. The inaugural prize went to Angela Christlieb’s fascinating documentary Naked Opera, which follows Luxembourg bon vivant Marc Rollinger as he travels the world viewing stagings of Don Giovanni in the company of attractive male boy toys.

In addition, a special Teddy Award was presented to the South African project STEPS for the Future, for raising awareness about HIV stigmatization.

For more on the Berlin International Film Festival’s LGBT offerings, click here.