This year, the Sebastiane Award celebrates its 15th year at the San Sebastian Festival; fifteen years of endeavouring to present its award to the production that best reflects the realities, freedoms and social progress made by LGBTI people.
This collective and its particularities have remained hidden for years in both society and cinema. Today awards such as the Sebastiane at the leading Film Festivals seek to turn the spotlight on films that lend visibility to the LGBTI worlds. Productions of an increasingly excellent cinematic quality every year.
Along with the Sebastiane Award, we will present the 2nd Sebastiane Latino. This award, in keeping with San Sebastian Festival’s line of supporting Latin American cinema, chooses the best Latin LGBTI film of the year. The film by Brazil’s Karim Aïnouz, Praia do Futuro, will receive the Award on September 20 and can be seen in the Horizontes Latinos section.
Among the films shortlisted for the XV Sebastiane Award are hallowed filmmakers alongside new directors. The candidates are:
LOS TONTOS Y LOS ESTUPIDOS – (New Directors)
Roberto Castón (Spain)
Second feature by Roberto Castón, whose movie Ander competed in the Panorama Section at Berlin in 2009. Mario, Paula, Miguel and Lourdes run into one another while looking (some more than others) for a way out of a life they don’t like. The situation forces them to make decisions, listening either to their hearts or to the fear of change. They are accompanied in the process by the film’s director, played by Roberto Álamo.
LIMBO – (New Directors)
Anna Sofie Hartmann (Germany)
A small town in rural Denmark; teenager Sara and newly arrived teacher Karen grow a connection amidst projections, quiet expectations and daily life all around. Courage leads to disappointment and when an unexpected event occurs, Karen is left on her own.
UNE NOUVELLE AMIE / THE NEW GIRLFRIEND – (Official Selection)
François Ozon (France)
The latest film by François Ozon, winner of the Golden Shell in 2012, is the tale of two women who have been friends since childhood. The two marry and one has a baby. Shortly afterwards, the mother falls seriously ill and makes her friend promise that she will take care of the baby and her husband. When she dies, the friend decides to visit the father and the baby, but a tremendous surprise awaits her.
LOVE IS STRANGE– (Pearls)
Ira Sachs (USA)
Presented at the Sundance and Berlin festivals, starring John Lithgow, Alfred Molina and Marisa Tomei. After 39 years together, Ben and George take advantage of New York’s new same-sex marriage laws and tie the knot. Shortly afterwards, George gets fired with no explanation from his longtime job as a choir director for a Catholic school and they lose their apartment. The couple are forced to split up and stay with friends
PASOLINI – (Pearls)
Abel Ferrara (France – Italy – Belgium)
In a film dreamlike and visionary, a blend of reality and imagination, Abel Ferrara reconstructs the last day in the life of Pier Paolo Pasolini with frequent collaborator Willem Dafoe as the great poet and filmmaker. One day, one life. Rome, the night of November 2nd 1975, Pier Paolo Pasolini is murdered. Pasolini is the symbol of an art that’s fighting against the power. His writings are scandalous, his films are persecuted by the censors, many people love him and many hate him. The day of his death, Pasolini spends his last hours with his beloved mother and later on with his dearest friends, and finally goes out into the night in his Alfa Romeo in search of adventure in the eternal city. Dawn, Pasolini is found dead on a beach in Ostia on the outskirts of the city. The film will compete at the forthcoming Venice Film Festival.
FELICE CHI È DIVERSO / HAPPY TO BE DIFFERENT – (Zabaltegi)
Gianni Amelio (Italy)
Gianni Amelio presented in the Panorama section of the Berlin Festival this moving look at a century long struggle for happiness and equally that continues today…. A hidden Italy never revealed by a camera that wants to explore reality rather than fiction: Gay Italy as it was lived in the 20th century. Horizontes Latinos
Praia do futuro / Future Beach – (Horizontes Latinos)
Karim Aïnouz (Brasil – Germany)
A love story directed by Karim Aïnouz which competed in the Official Selection at the Berlin Festival. Donato works as a life guard patrolling the spectacular but treacherous Praia do Futuro beach. When he dives into the sea after two men caught in the undercurrent, he saves Konrad, a German vacationing in Brazil, but Konrad’s friend is lost to the sea. While waiting for the body to resurface, a bond grows between donato and Konrad and the initial sexual sparks give way to a deeper,emotional connection. Winner of the Sebastiane Latino Award.
OUT OF COMPETITION (EASTERN PROMISES)
We would like to mention three works that can be seen in the interesting Eastern Promises retrospective on films produced since 2000 in the countries that lived under Soviet influence. Ever since the Berlin Wall came down, these countries have experienced profound political, social and cultural changes. In many of them, instead of the “promises” of freedom, the homosexual collective has suffered a situation of repression and intolerance. We therefore recommend three of the films on this subject that did not compete for the Sebastiane Award:
FINE MRTVE DJEVOJKE / FINE DEAD GIRLS
Dalibor Matanic (Croatia) 2002
A lesbian couple encircled by a gallery of grotesque neighbours: a nightmare landlord and his violent homophobic son, a sinister abortionist, a gang of hooligans… A diabolical thriller and merciless testimony of the ills of Croatian society.
KLASS / THE CLASS
Ilmar Raag (Estonia) 2007
A highschool movie Estonian-style: a shy boy bullied by his classmates, an unexpected ally and a tribe driven by ancient codes of homophobia and violence. This first work from Ilmar Raag won awards at the Karlovy Vary and Warsaw festivals
DUPA DEALURI / BEYOND THE HILLS (MÁS ALLÁ DE LAS COLINAS) – (Eastern Promises)
Cristian Mungiu (Romania – France – Belgium) 2012
Winner of Best Screenplay and Actress at the Festival de Cannes, this movie by Cristian Mungiu is a terrifying and claustrophobic parabol on today’s intolerance: a convent lost in the hills, an unrelenting priest, an exorcism and the inner demons that come to light.
We also recommend the retrospective on Dorothy Arzner, the first woman director in Hollywood’s golden age. A lesbian. Director of films with particular focus on female characters that questioned traditional sexual roles and the part played by women in society.