The best queer films of Berlinale 2017, the notorious international film festival of the German capital, were awarded tonight during the 31st annual Teddy Awards.
Here are the winners, in order of appearance.
The “Männer” Public Jury Award: God’s Own Country
This year’s public award went to this film by Francis Lee. It’s the story of a Yorkshire sheep farmer who develops a relationship with a Romanian migrant worker during spring lambing season. The film premiered at Sundance last month, where Lee won the “World Cinema” Directing Award in Drama.
Best Short Film: Min Homosyster (My Gay Sister)
In this film, by director Lia Hietala from Sweden, 10-year-old Cleo has a head full of questions: How can I tell if I’m in love with somebody? How do I know if I prefer boys or girls?
Best Documentary: Ri Chang Dui Hua
It’s considered taboo in Chinese culture to question a mother’s unconditional love, and yet this is exactly the topic of Hui-chen Huang’s intimate portrait. Mother and daughter set off on a journey together into the past, during which the mother is confronted with questions that have tormented her daughter for years.
Special Jury Prize: Karera Ga Honki De Amu Toki Wa (Close-Knit)
In Naoko Ogigami’s film, 11-year-old Tomo is pretty much left to her own devices. Her uncle and his girlfriend Rinko takes her in to live with them. At their first meeting, Tomo is flabbergasted to discover that Rinko is transgender. Ogigami is a Japanese film director. Among her most notable works are the films Kamome Shokudo and Megane (Glasses). At the 2008 Berlin International Film Festival, Megane won the Manfred Salzberger Award.
Special Teddy Award: Monika Treut
This year, the legendary lesbian filmmaker, a pioneer of queer cinema in Germany, received the prize for her career in film.
Best Feature Film: Una Muter Fantastica (A Fantastic Woman)
This year, three films were nominated for the most prestigious prize of the evening: Une mujer fantastica, God’s Own Country and The Wound. The winning film, by Sebastián Lelio, tells the story of Marina, a waitress who moonlights as a nightclub singer, as she’s bowled over by the death of her older boyfriend. The film was also selected to compete for the Golden Bear in the main competition section of the 67th Berlin International Film Festival.
This year, members of the Teddy Jury were Gizem Bayiksel (Turkey), Sachiko Imai (Japan), Hassan Kamoga (Uganda), Saadat Munir (Denmark), Marjo Pipinen (Finland) Carl Spence (USA) and Martin Wolkner (Germany).
One film that did not take home an award at the festival but is no doubt of interest to our readers is Travis Mathews’ latest, Discreet, which we recently discussed with him in this exclusive interview.