Butterflies in Berlin - Diary of a Soul Split in two

Small But Perfectly Formed, Merlinka Festival Our Highlights

Named for Vjeran Miladinovic Merlinka, a transgender sex worker who was murdered 16 years ago, this festival now proudly showcases dozens of queer and LGBT themed films, including over 100 short films. As Serbia takes steps towards making a safer world for LGBT youth, the Merlinka Festival has become more of a cultural event and source of local pride than an avant-garde film fest. As such, we were more than happy to get a sneak peek at this year’s catalogue.

Little Gay Boy Christ Is Dead

Little Gay Boy, Gay Essential Talks to Antony Hickling

In the beginning, the harshness of these films, complete with their aforementioned surrealist edge, made things difficult. Nobody seemed interested in screening them, deeming them as too controversial. Some even called them homophobic and Hickling recalls, “I was criticized not only by the straight community but also by the gay community. But I think that as the work started being shown and selected, people started to re-look and re-think.”

Gay Chorus Deep South

Gay Essential Review: Gay Chorus Deep South at Merlinka Festival

Gay Chorus Deep South is one of the most timely feeling documentaries in recent years. They as a group are attempting many would consider life threatening and dangerous but they do so with smiling faces and hope in their hearts. The struggle between religion and queerness has always been present but with documentaries like this providing positive and enriching experiences, we can move closer towards global acceptance that can see us all come together.

Walk On Water

Gay Essential Films To Watch, Walk On Water (ללכת על המים)

Released in 2004 and directed by Eytan Fox, Walk on Water follows an Israeli intelligence agent after his wife commits suicide, and his assignment with the grandchildren of Nazi war criminals. Filmed in multiple locations including Israel, Turkey and Germany, the film stars Lior Ashkenazi, and was awarded Best Film, Director and Actor at the Awards of the Israeli Film Academy.

Head On

Gay Essential Films To Watch, Head On

Released in 1998 and directed by Ana Kokkinos, Head On explores the life of a confused 19 year-old Greek-Australian grappling with his repressed identity amidst the forces of his immigrant family and their place in urban Melbourne. The film, starring Alex Dimitriades, gained many awards, such as the Grand Jury Award at L.A. Outfest.

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