By: Frida Bárbara Monjarás
The Teddy Award is a recognition that has been given in the context of the Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale) for 32 years to LGBT + themed films.
In the still divided Germany of the 1980s, homosexual men and lesbian women suffered from high levels of marginalization, violence and discrimination. For this reason, the filmmakers Wieland Speck and Manfred Salzgeber organized an alternate jury and created an award to advocate for the LGBT community in the film industry. In 1987, the Teddy Award was handed for the first time to La ley del deseo, by Pedro Almodóvar as Best Film and to Five Ways to Kill Yourself and My New Friend, by Gus Van Sant for Best Short Film. And it was not until 1992 that the Teddy Award was officially recognized by the Berlinale.
“As long as homosexuality is threatened in some parts of the world with capital punishment […] the Teddy Prize also has a political meaning and of responsibility.”
Currently the Teddy awards the most outstanding that is presented in all sections of the Berlinale, from the short films and documentaries, to the films that make up the main competition. It is coordinated by the Panorama section of the Berlinale, headed by Paz Lázaro, dedicated to show innovative films, and whose content and form are audacious.
However, the Teddy has not lost its political essence and recognizes itself as an award that seeks social equality, as expressed in its official website: “While homosexuality is threatened in some parts of the world with capital punishment and even in cities like Berlin where a homophobic power is shown on the agenda, the Teddy Prize also has a political meaning and of responsibility.”
The Mexican filmmaker, Julián Hernández has been awarded the Teddy Prize twice, the first in 2003 for Mil nubes de paz cercan el cielo, amor, jamás acabarás de ser amor and the second in 2009 for Rabio sol, rabioso cielo. Other filmmakers who have been awarded the Teddy are Todd Haynes, François Ozon, Sebastian Lelio, among others.
In the 32nd edition of Teddy, in a ceremony held today, the jury, in which Antonio Harfuch Álvarez participates, presented the Teddy prizes chosen from among more than 40 selected films.
The Teddy Award for Best Feature was for the Brazilian film Tinta Bruta, by Marcio Reolon and Filipe Matzembacher, which was part of the Panorama section. It’s a film about virtual reality and the real world. What are we? Who do we want to be? What appearance do we give on the Internet? These are essential questions that this film poses to us.
“The Teddy Award to the work of fiction […] is for the story of a child who reconnects with the real world. In a cinematically unique and creative way, the film captures the fierce struggle between fear and desire. “
The jury decided: “The Teddy Award for the work of fiction goes to a movie that tells the story of a child who reconnects with the real world. In a cinematically unique and creative way, the film captures the fierce struggle between fear and desire. Music, lights and colors culminate in a pure expression of the main character’s feelings, gradually becoming his means to reconcile body, heart and soul. For his incredible achievements as a director and his tremendous cast, the jury is proud to award the Teddy to Tinta Bruta.”
Bixa Travesty, by Claudia Priscilla and Kiko Goifman, was awarded a Teddy for Best Documentary because “it introduces us to an exceptional woman. Her curiosity and the many different ways of expressing herself are more than inspiring. She is an artist, performer, a good friend, a musician, a family person, an artist. With the beauty of sounds, the aesthetics of images, the film takes us on a journey of self-determination between fantasy and self-care.”
The Teddy for Best Short Film was for Three Centimetres, by Lara Zeidan, “The Lebanese film director makes a sensitive and intimate portrait of four young friends on a Ferris wheel in Beirut. We share her emotional walk of sexual understanding, which goes from being the jovial discussion of virginity and a nervous outlet of homosexuality. As we listen, we realize that these young women are beginning to explore many layers of their identities and that of others. We are aware of a crucial episode in his life, in which a queer individual must claim and defend his right to exist. Lara Zeidan captures this delicate moment in adolescence with subtle and tender performances at the same time.”
The Teddy Jury Award went to the Greek director Evangelia Kranioti for Obscuro Barroco, for being a “film that transports us to a city that is vibrant and surreal, a carnival of dreams and nightmares, seen through the eyes of its Queer icon. The director’s impressive singular vision attracts the audience with a remarkable cinematography and a great sound design, what makes the film an exceptionally poetic and intimate story, and an outstanding artistic achievement.”
The L’Oreal and the Mannschaft Readers’ Award were also awarded. The L’Oreal Award was given to Retablo, by Álvaro Delgado-Aparicio for being “an incredibly mature, moving and considered debut. This film moved each and every one of us, through its considered, expert and artistic cinematography, in its exquisite use of color, its cinematography, its composed direction and, in particular, the powerful and nuanced interpretations of this father -son relationship. This film perfectly relates the moment of realizing that his father is an imperfect human, the trauma that this brings and, ultimately, the acceptance of them as imperfect beings.” The Mannschaft Readers’ Award was handed to Las Herederas by Marcelo Martinessi because the movie has a “visually stunning cinematography and an exceptional cast, and he guides his audience through the life of a woman who finds an avenue to love and for herself, despite all the problems and crises. He weaves her story gently and gives the characters the space they need to grow.”
Once again, Teddy awards films that speak to us, without concessions, about human richness through courageous and fresh cinematography.
Sources: Berlin International Film Festival, Teddy Award, Teddy Blog, Variety.