Imagine my delight at being invited to sit on the 29th annual Teddy Award jury at the Berlinale, with 8 other film programmers from around the world. (See, I’m delighted:)   The Teddys are like the Oscars of queer independent film—but better because, see above left. The Teddys are the unlikely product of the grand, bold Berlinale. 29 years ago, the Berlinale stepped up to use its considerable influence to highlight queer films when no other festival of its size or influence was doing so.

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Much of the credit goes to this man, Wieland Speck, director of Berlinale’s Panorama, and unrelenting champion of queer cinema for political change: Over 7 days, we watched over 35 hours of queer cinema, including Peter Greenaway’s latest, Eisenstein in Guanajuato (starring the impressive Elmer Bäck as Sergei Eisenstein). He’s the winner of my personal Teddy category for hottest revolutionary sex scene of the year. James Franco showed up fashionably late for the first screening of I am Michael. Franco portrays the real-life Michael Glatzer, an outspoken gay publisher who found religion and renounced his homosexuality. (Zachary Quinto co-stars!)

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Dyke Hard rocked hard. The poster says it all:

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This is the stalwart Teddy Jury, 2015. Tired but happy beyond belief . Scout’s honour, I’m working valiantly with our stellar programming committee to bring some of these films to VQFF this Aug 13-23. (Do you know James Franco? Please tell him to return my texts.) Check out the jury’s selections, and our statements, here. With special thanks to Michael Stutz, Marco Urizzi von Plach and Wieland Speck at the Berlinale.

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