And Then We Danced. via Mezipatra

Mezipatra Queer Film Festival celebrates 20 years of breaking barriers

English-friendly film screenings and a colorful side program mark the twentieth anniversary of this long-running Prague film festival

The 20th edition of the Mezipatra Queer Film Festival runs November 7–14 in Prague. Films will be at Lucerna, Světozor, Pilotů, and Kino 35 cinemas. A side program will take place at Patra and Ankali. Film screenings will be English-friendly. The festival theme is Wind of Change.

The festival’s films are divided into five categories — international feature film competition, international short film competition, reunion, documentary, and Queer Kino presents — plus the winner of last year’s audience award, The Miseducation of Cameron Post.

New this year is a weekend program for film professionals, but anyone interested may attend.

“This anniversary provides us with an opportunity to emphasize the festival’s social and political dimensions. Mezipatra has always been active in terms of what’s happening in the society, and its program has addressed current problems of the queer communities,” festival program director Sandra Hezinová said.

Trailer for Adam

“Through this year’s theme, we accentuate the mutual queer solidarity and emphasize the necessity to be an active force that will not be discouraged by obstacles and aversion in its fight for equality and recognition in the whole society,”she said.

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The independent American comedy Adam opens the festival. Director and screenwriter Rhys Ernst will introduce it in person. Before making his feature debut, he was one of the producers of the TV seriesTransparent. The film, based on Ariel Schrag’s novel, premiered at Sundance.

Another festival highlight in the main competition will be director Levan Akin’s Swedish-Georgian-French drama And Then We Danced, set in modern-day Georgia — the one neighboring Russia, not the US state. The film explores the strict culture surrounding traditional dance, and a male dancer’s dilemma when he becomes attracted to another male dancer.

The film has been submitted by Sweden for consideration for a Best Foreign-language Film nomination in the upcoming Oscars. So far, it has won the Best Film award at Odessa IFF and the Best Director award at IFF Sarajevo. It was first screened in the Directors’ Fortnight section at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival.

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Matthias & Maxime
Matthias & Maxime. via Mezipatra

Queer Kino presents two films, with the highlight being the Canadian film Matthias & Maxime by director Xavier Dolan. The title characters have been friends since childhood, but when they are asked to kiss for a student film shoot, everything suddenly changes. The film premiered at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

The documentary section has five films, with Seahorse, about a trans man trying to start a family, as a standout. Other films include Jonathan Agassi Saved My Life, about the porn industry’s disastrous influence on the life of a well-known Israeli porn star, and Changing Game, about three teenage athletes who challenge sports rules for trans people.

The international short film competition has 39 films in seven thematic blocks.

The side program includes an opening night party, a drag extravaganza, a Sunday brunch, and several networking events and discussions.

For more information, see the festival website and Facebook page.

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