I had my mind blown at ClexaCon 2018 – Part 2 (ClexaCon 2018 Day 1)

I had my mind blown at ClexaCon 2018 – Part 2

This is part two of my ClexaCon 2018 adventure. April 4-10, I went on a trip to Las Vegas for ClexaCon, all the way from The Netherlands. Let me tell you, it was so worth the jetlag! You can find part one here. This is ClexaCon 2018 Day 1 (part two of my blog post series about ClexaCon)!

In this blog, I will tell you all about the first part of my ClexaCon 2018 Day 1 experience, from visiting interesting panels and meeting interesting people to my first interview EVER. Three-time Emmy nominee Dot Marie Jones (Glee) was so nice to help me out with this!

PS If you need more info about what ClexaCon is, you should read my blog post ClexaCon 2018 in Las Vegas: The Media and Entertainment Convention for LGBTQ Women and Allies.

‘I had my mind blown at ClexaCon 2018 – Part 2’ This is part two of my ClexaCon 2018 adventure. April 4-10, I went on a trip to Las Vegas for ClexaCon, all the way from The Netherlands. It was so worth the jetlag! In this blog, I will tell you all about my ClexaCon 2018 Day 1 experience, from visiting interesting panels and meeting interesting people to my first interview EVER. Want to know with whom it was? Find out here! http://bit.ly/ClexaCon20182

Friday, April 6th –ClexaCon 2018 Day 1

D-Day! ClexaCon finally officially started on Friday. This might be a good moment to say that I was pretty nervous beforehand and to explain why. As mentioned in my previous blog, I took a vlogging course. However, as we got closer to ClexaCon, I learned that press was allowed to hold short interviews with the talents at the red carpet and in the press room.

WHAT?! You mean actually talking to the people that I have been seeing on my screen for years now? Not just blogging and vlogging about the event but actually talking to the actresses? And, if possible, intelligently?

Here is something you need to know about me. I am easily impressed by people. Especially when I find them highly attractive. This makes my face decide to pop up a bright red color. This also makes my brain stop working and my mouth go silent. Nothing in my vlogging course said anything about interview styles and ways to prevent the fangirl in you from taking over your professional you.

ClexaCon 2018 Day 1 – First panel: Becoming YouTube creators

I started ClexaCon by visiting a panel that could help me with Meemoeder.com. Jess Harris-Distefano, Head of Creative Programming at YouTube Space LA, gave a presentation about becoming a YouTube creator. I have recently started making vlogs so of course, so I was interested in getting some tips.

Yes, there are tips all over the internet but being in The Netherlands, there is such a big distance between me and the company that getting help is hard. It felt like a unique opportunity to listen to someone who is dealing with big creators every day. Oh, and I am now rocking cool YouTube Spaces sunglasses 😉 Also, Jess recognized me from Instagram, how cool is that?!

Subscribe to my YouTube channel

Since you are reading this blog, could you subscribe to my YouTube channel? You do not know how much the numbers help when talking to people who can support this blog and my vlogs in moving forward. And if we can move Meemoeder.com forward, I can create more international LGTBQ content, which is what you want, right? It merely takes five seconds to click the subscribe button, so go, go, go! Thank you!!

If you want a specific example of how numbers help: at the moment of writing this blog, I am a few subscribers away from a hundred subscribers. If I reach that number of subscribers, I can claim a personalized link, which makes sharing my channel so much easier, allowing it to grow even more. In addition, it simply looks much more professional and I want to be taken seriously as a blogger and vlogger. Could you help me with that?

This is my new YouTube channel trailer. At ClexaCon, I asked many, many actresses to pronounce my name. How cool is it that people like Elise Bauman, Natasha Negovanlis, and Anna Silk help me introduce myself?!

Skipping lines

During this panel, I also learned that the press pass had another big advantage. Other press members in the WhatsApp group, who were at one of the main panels, informed me that press was able to skip lines and go to a designated area in the front of the massive room.

Indeed, at the smaller panels too, I was able to go everywhere I wanted. This full access took away so many of my worries from before the con as I really wanted to cover as much as possible for you guys and the schedule was so insane that waiting in line would greatly reduce my ability to do so. Also, restroom breaks are a necessity 😉

ClexaCon 2018 Day 1 – Second panel: Queer lady business

Being an entrepreneur of one company that caters to the LGBTQ community specifically and one company that does not cater to this niche (I have founded translation agency BudgetVertalingOnline in 2011), I was interested in seeing how others view the LGBTQ community as a market and what the specific hurdles are.

I always see this one picture of Christin Baker, CEO of Tello Films, and I was surprised by how energetic and funny she was. I found Tello Films a couple of years ago and as it turns out from the panel, that was about the same time she founded it and was still struggling with it.

Plenty of pie

What struck me the most was that she said that we are not all fighting for the same piece of the pie. There is plenty of pie available for everyone and we can achieve much more by working together rather than looking at each other as competitors. As I am still positioning Meemoeder.com in the market, I can testify that sometimes, you are not sure if collaborations are something that help your brand or that just make you look the same as the one you are collaborating with.

In those cases, I think about what I want to achieve with Meemoeder.com. My mission is to share information and experiences with the LGBTQ community (specifically lesbian parents) so that they can feel better about themselves and their choices and be more confident about them. Christin is right: most of the time, collaborations help me with this mission!

ClexaCon 2018 Day 1: Meeting Shannan Leigh Reeve

Before the Queer lady business panel started, I saw Shannan Leigh Reeve, who had been in the previous panel. I absolutely loved I Hate Tommy Finch, so I asked for a quick picture. I was not expecting so much friendliness (not because of Shannan but because I was not sure how guests would react to press) but she was so cool! She asked for my name, which I was not expecting at all.

This, however, reminded me of one of my ClexaCon missions. I wanted to make a compilation of the ClexaCon guests pronouncing (or mispronouncing) my name, as I always have such a hard time introducing myself in the States, and use it in my YouTube channel trailer. She was extremely helpful (and you can watch the result above).

 

Twenty

I also saw Lily Richards from Twenty the web series but there was no more time to talk to her. Actually, I saw her a couple of times at ClexaCon but every single moment was inconvenient (who wants to have a conversation in the restrooms?) so I ended up not talking to her, boohoo.

If you have not watched Twenty yet, you should. For some reason, I was not expecting much when I hit play the first episode. However, that whole cringeworthy introduction immediately had me hooked. This show is so funny, Lily is very interesting to watch and oh no, how you just want to punch some other characters. I backed the new season and I cannot wait for new episodes!

Lunch (not brunch)

ClexaCon 2018 Day 1, I learned something important about cons: food is essential if you want to keep going but it is also very hard to find time to eat if you are running around as press trying to cover everything.

So, when I received a message from Immy and Denise (other Dutchies I met, as you can read in my previous blog) that they were having lunch, I decided it was time for a break.

In this short break, I saw Sharon Belle, Winny Clarke, and Dot-Marie Jones casually walking by. In what alternative universe am I that these things happen? Right, ClexaCon! I felt so lucky and happy!

Interviewing Dot-Marie Jones

When I saw on the ClexaCon website a few months ago that Dot-Marie Jones was coming, I was really happy. I was a big Glee fan and her character always made me want to know more about both her and Coach Beiste. When I saw she had a quiet moment in the autograph section, I really wanted to talk to her. However, like I said, I had never interviewed anybody before and she is a pro at being interviewed. Also, I did not know if I was allowed to walk up to her.

Last summer, I joined a basketball team. I suck at dribbling, you guys. I usually throw the ball away immediately. My basketball team would have been proud seeing me dribbling around! I should apply this technique on the court!

After yelling at myself in my head for a while, I finally got up to a volunteer. I asked her if I was allowed to ask Dot a few questions. That was no problem at all, so now here I was, my heart pounding in my chest, telling the lovely volunteer that I was so nervous. She told me there was really nothing to worry about. Great. Ok. ClexaCon 2018 Day 1: here goes nothing…

ClexaCon 2018 Day 1: First interview EVER

So, I walked up to Dot and her wife. Then, I said something completely incoherent about me being nervous. I cannot believe how friendly she was. She literally helped me through the interview. As in, we found a good spot together and she helped me get a good camera angle. Being this nervous, I forgot to record the first part. I was being such an idiot but she stayed so friendly and calm. Also, how great to have a person about the same height for your first shot 😉

I asked her to pronounce my name too. The first tries were lost as I was not recording but she did it again when I finally was recording. I asked her about her playing a character being the victim of domestic abuse and a character transitioning from female to male. Also, having won many sports prizes and being nominated for an Emmy three times but not winning, I asked her what award she wants to win. See the conversation in the vlog at the top of this blog!

You know, I am so thankful for Dot-Marie Jones. She has helped me get over that first hurdle. Consequently, I felt so much more confident talking to the guests after that. I saw her a few times after the interview and she was just so chill.

 

ClexaCon 2018 Day 1 continued

Next week, I will talk about the second half of ClexaCon 2018 Day 1. That means you will read about the LGBTQ actresses panel, the Lost Girl panel, the Red panel, and the Wynonna Earp panel. If you sign up for my newsletter, you will be the first to know when this blog post comes out! You can sign up on the top right of this page or in the footer.

I Had My Mind Blown at ClexaCon 2018 – Part 1

I Had My Mind Blown at ClexaCon 2018 – Part 1

April 4-10, I went on a trip to Las Vegas for ClexaCon 2018, all the way from The Netherlands. Let me tell you, it was so worth the jetlag! In this blog, I will tell you all about my experience, from meeting other LGBTQ women to conducting my first interviews EVER. Being able to go as press has allowed me to learn so much and to talk to so many interesting people. Oh, and the feelings. FEELINGS! If you are thinking about visiting the next ClexaCon but you are unsure how easy it is to go by yourself, this blog might help you!

PS If you need more info about what ClexaCon is, you should read my blog post ClexaCon 2018 in Las Vegas: The Media and Entertainment Convention for LGBTQ Women and Allies.

‘I Had My Mind Blown at ClexaCon 2018 – Part 1’ Early April, I went to Las Vegas for ClexaCon 2018, all the way from The Netherlands. It was so worth the jetlag! In this blog, I will tell you all about my experience, from meeting other LGBTQ women to conducting my first interviews EVER. Oh, and the feelings! If you are thinking about visiting the next ClexaCon by yourself, this blog might help you: http://bit.ly/ClexaCon20181Watch my vlog about Day 0 of ClexaCon below!

Wednesday, April 4th – ClexaCon 2018 minus 1 day

THE DAY. About seven months ago, I found out I was granted a press pass to ClexaCon as a blogger from The Netherlands. After some happy dancing around the house, reality sank in. ClexaCon deserves more than simply a blog. ClexaCon requires video. Lots of it.

Therefore, in November, I decided it was time to get up from behind my computer and take a vlogging course. Meemoeder.com had to become more professional. As I was taking the vlogging course, I started gaining more media attention. I was asked to be a guest on a one-hour LGBTQ radio show. I was allowed to cover LGBTQ film festivals. Websites started asking me for guest blogs, including one major LGBTQ website here in The Netherlands. As a result, I was even asked to be a judge at the Amsterdam LGBTQ film festival three weeks prior to ClexaCon! Wow, not what I imagined seven months ago!

Packing

Now, here I was, packing my bag and feeling the pressure. Did I have everything? All the equipment that I bought for vlogging? Check! My three shirts with the Meemoeder.com logo? Check. New business cards? Check!

Time to take the train ride to Schiphol airport, which is only thirty minutes from The Hague. My flight was from Amsterdam to Salt Lake City and from Salt Lake City to Las Vegas, which amounted to a trip of about thirteen hours. The layover in Salt Lake City was only 1.5 hours, which was kind of nerve-wracking as the whole border crossing thing took forever. I only had about five minutes to run to the restrooms before having to board.

Thursday, April 5th – ClexaCon 2018 day zero

I arrived at Tropicana about 10 pm, which was 7 am my time. My eyes might have found it difficult to stay open but I could definitely see the many LGBTQ women who had already arrived before me and started exploring the hotel. Despite my migraine, I had a big smile on my face!

I decided to unpack and take a hot bath before heading to bed at 11:30 pm. Then I woke up at 3.15 am. And then at 6.30 am. The pleasures of a jetlag! So, to beat the jetlag, I decided to do the one thing that I had not done the other two times I visited Las Vegas: I ran to the ‘Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas’ sign. See, a little touristy time before ClexaCon cannot hurt!

 

Speed friending

Then, I made a mistake. See, I have also never visited the Fremont Street Experience. So, I took the bus. I figured I would walk around a bit and head back for speed friending on time. Big mistake! After 45 minutes, I was still only halfway. So, I got out, did a speedy visit to IHOP (hey, we do not have that here in The Netherlands!) and took the monorail back. Around 2 pm, I was ready to meet some people!

Wow! Beforehand, I thought about fifty women would join. Nope! Already, a flood of LGBTQ women was at Tropicana, ready for ClexaCon, which really started on Friday. Soon, we were all positioned at tables. Originally, the plan was to talk with each other for three minutes but the time limit quickly went to one minute and then to thirty seconds.

You cannot have a conversation in thirty seconds.  Most of the conversations were really interesting and fun. Indeed, you will always have that one awkward conversation. Still, most of the time, I wish we had more than thirty seconds. Now, I only remembered some faces and I probably walked by most of the people I met during speed friending. Still, speed friending was a great way to meet others and start a conversation (that you can finish later at the convention).

Pool takeover

For me, the pool takeover looked a bit overwhelming. If you are going by yourself, this might be an obstacle. I arrived and the pool was completely crowded. If you did not have a group, you probably had to work a bit harder to make contact.

Press had a ClexaCon WhatsApp group and I saw another Dutch number in the group, so I sent it a message. Immy from Filmhoek responded and we (including her friend Denise) decided to meet at the pool takeover. What a great idea! The rest of the convention, we had fun and helped each other out. Yes, I can definitely say you can meet friends at ClexaCon!

Badge pick-up party

Since Immy and Denise had an AirBnB far away, I invited them to my hotel room to eat our dinner. After that, we went to the badge pick-up party. Press passes were available for pick-up there too, so that was way more convenient than picking them up Friday morning. Never having been at a con before, I was nervous enough as I just did not know what to expect. Not having to worry about the press pass sounded good.

The waiting lines were already starting to get long when we arrived at 6.30 pm but man, we were still able to retrieve our press pass rather quickly. After that, we just saw waiting lines and waiting lines and waiting lines.

Mind you, this was the first day of my jetlag and I had been awake since 6:30 am, after having been awake for about twenty hours and sleeping for five hours… So, no, I did not have the energy to dance my ass off. Still, we drank two Fireballs to celebrate flying all the way from The Netherlands for ClexaCon (a decision I may have regretted the day after – the Fireball, not flying). I think I left at around 8.30 pm; sleep was winning the battle.

 

Part two of my ClexaCon 2018 adventure

Next week, you can read part two of my ClexaCon 2018 adventure. It will tell you all about the first day of ClexaCon 2018, including my very first interview ever. Stay tuned to find out which celebrity guest it was! This is even easier when you subscribe to my newsletter on the top right or in the footer of this page!

Best Feature Film De Roze Filmdagen: And the winner is….

Best Feature Film De Roze Filmdagen: And the winner is….

Two weeks ago, I published a blog and vlog about De Roze Filmdagen, or the Amsterdam LGBTQ Film Festival, which was held March 8-18. The organization must have liked what I did because they asked me to become a judge for their Best Feature Film Award. I feel very honored that I was asked. Thanks, De Roze Filmdagen!

The nominees for Best Feature Film were Anchor and Hope, Even Lovers Get the Blues, Just Charlie, My Life with James Dean, Porcupine Lake, Sisterhood, The Cakemaker, and The Constitution. Below, you can find my reviews and find out which movie won. In addition, you can watch my 3.5-minute vlog about the experience.

For De Roze Filmdagen, or the Amsterdam LGBTQ Film Festival, I was asked to be a judge and help decide which nominated movie was going to receive the Best Feature Film Award. In this blog, I will review the movies and show how we as judges decided which movie was going to win. Want to know who the winner is? Read this blog: http://bit.ly/BFFDRF

Judging which movie is the Best Feature Film

I can tell you that watching a movie just for the fun of it is very different from watching a movie in order to decide whether or not it deserves an award. You experience all these emotions while watching a movie but when you are a judge, you constantly have to ask yourself how those emotions influence your decision.

What makes a movie a good movie and what makes a movie the Best Feature Film? For me, I decided that I wanted to make my decision based on the impact the movies made on me and how much of a connection I felt with the main characters. The latter does not mean I have to agree with what the main characters do; I simply have to understand why they do what they do and see an in-depth representation of them.

Sisterhood

I watched Sisterhood before being asked to be a judge. As you can read in my previous blog, if you want to see a happy movie, Sisterhood is not it. But to dismiss it just like that would mean you are missing out on a great movie. You can constantly feel Sei’s sadness about losing her best friend (or is she?) but at the same time, you are constantly smiling during the flashbacks of their friendship (or is it?) and hoping for happiness. As she has already passed away, you know from the start you are not going to get a happy ending but you are curious about how they met and what they meant to each other. Oh, and if you are curious about what happens in massage parlors, this movie might enlighten you.

Love intertwines at the wrong time. The past almost feels like a foreign country in Tracy Choi’s female-oriented melodrama, which juxtaposes the regrets over a lost lesbian romance with the alienation of a former Macau native as she returns to what is now a glamorous gambling capital.

Even Lovers Get the Blues

The movie started with a sex scene. And another one. And another one. I was worried that we were doomed with the age-old combination of gays and sex again, not highlighting other aspects of our lives.

But no, not quite. My worst nightmare quickly happened: the partner of one of the main characters dies unexpectedly. This leaves the woman left behind in mourning and the group has to face the loss of their friend. It sends them on a journey, together and apart, but the death of that character is not necessarily a major theme.

What I liked about the story was that it focused on long-term relationships and the struggles that they can bring. I find that refreshing as many LGBTQ films center on finding your first or true (or both) love. I thought the movie did not really affect me much but I noticed after a few days that the scenes kept popping up in my head. I must have liked it more than I realized the first night!

Ana is sleeping with Hugo, Dahlia with Graciano, Leo with Louis, and Arthur is sleeping with seemingly half the hot men in Brussels. Together, they make up a good-looking group of friends with some serious dysfunctionalities. A take on modern romance and how we deal with sex and relationships.

Watch Even Lovers Get the Blues on Vimeo!

Porcupine Lake

If you are looking for a coming-of-age movie, Porcupine Lake is the one for you. It shows you the poorer side of Canada and how two teenagers there fall in love. Kate orders Bea around and Bea happily follows. For me, it was rather repetitious. Am I getting too old for these young love movies?!

During a hot and hazy summertime in northern Ontario, 13-year-old Bea wants a best friend more than anything else, but when she meets boisterous Kate, she gets more than she imagined. A story of bravery, small-town summer love, and the secret world of girls.

PORCUPINE LAKE – Official Trailer – 2min. from ingrid veninger on Vimeo.

 

My Life with James Dean

This movie is very French. Can I describe it like that? I mean the short answers in dialogues or questions as answers, the several scenes in which multiple characters follow each other around town, spying on each other, and the crazy spins in the story. It pleased me for about an hour but since this movie is nearly two hours long, it became a bit too much for me. You do want to keep watching to see where the movie and Géraud finally end up.

Moving. Demanding. Unclassifiable. Rare. These are the words given to the gay film that Géraud is invited to present in a sleepy seaside town. Géraud is drawn into the lives of the handsome young projectionist obsessed with him, the snotty hotel desk girl hoping to become an actress, and the slightly neurotic theater owner embroiled in a heated lesbian affair of her own.

DVD algemeen

The Cakemaker

I am happy to have seen this movie. Not that it is a happy movie, but the story gave me many questions to think about.

For starters, I would never do what the protagonist did. German baker Tomas starts a relationship with Oren, who has a wife and son back in Israel. Then, he finds out Oren has passed away in Israel. What does he do? He moves to Israel to watch the wife and he even starts working at her restaurant. I cannot comprehend why anyone would do that but it made me want to watch the rest of the story.

Also, apparently, Tomas’ vocabulary is mostly limited to ‘yes’ and ‘no,’ so you are constantly wondering what he is truly thinking and feeling. There are also some very smart details that add up and together, they create a well-rounded story.

Tomas, a young German baker, has a passionate affair with Oren, an Israeli man. However, their life together consists of brief episodes as Oren also has a wife and kid back home. When disaster strikes and Oren is killed, a grief-stricken Tomas travels to Israel to track them down.

The Cakemaker trailer from JIFF on Vimeo.

Just Charlie

I was most touched by this movie. Yes, this was my personal favorite; I cannot deny that. No, I was not crying; you were crying!

Charlie plays soccer and is offered a chance to study at a great academy. His heart is not into it though. After all, Charlie is struggling with the fact that she is really a girl but, in her environment, this is a really big challenge. I nearly started crying when she was putting on makeup, after checking she was home alone, and her father walks in unexpectedly and starts yelling, almost hurting Charlie psychically as well.

Yes, this could be described as merely a coming-out story, but I feel that would not do justice to the fact that even now, you can hardly find a teen M2F coming-out story on our screens. And, wow, how great is Charlie, both the actor and the character!

I even could not hate the father because as a mom, I do understand how you want the best for your child. You just have to figure out what “the best” is (and unfortunately, some people need more time than others to do so…). In fact, I was simply sad that he was missing out on all the meaningful moments he could have had with Charlie.

As the star player in his football team, Charlie is living up to the high, maybe too high, expectations of his father. But when Charlie can no longer deny the facts and starts to accept that she wants to be a girl, this is only the start of a long journey. Unflinching, and with stellar performances, Just Charlie manages not only to handle difficult topics but also to be a damn charming, delightful movie.

Watch the full movie on Vimeo!

The Constitution

This movie has four main characters and several other characters that sometimes return to the story. Vjeko, a gay transvestite and high school professor from Croatia, who was raised by his Nazi father of whom he is now taking care, is beaten up.

In the hospital, he is being looked after by nurse Maja, who is also his neighbor. At home, she continues to take care of him and his father. She asks Vjeko to help her husband Ante study for his Croatian Constitution exam.

The problem is that Ante is an ethnic Serb and Vjeko a Croatian nationalist; they are each other’s opposites when it comes to opinions about nationality and sexual orientation. That means you are likely to hate the main characters from the beginning but at the same time, these contrasts also invite you to look further and find “the good and bad” in all of them. You wonder how they can resolve their conflicts while also asking yourself if they even have to resolve them at all. All in all, this is not an easy watch but if you want to be challenged, this movie is for you.

The tagline for this movie is “a love story about hate,” and frozen hate is what best describes the neighbors in a Zagreb apartment complex. The deep divisions of ethnicity and sexual identity may not follow the lines that you presume, and they all start shifting as the protagonists have to start working together.

The Constitution from TELEKING on Vimeo.

Anchor and Hope

As this movie is about two women trying to have a baby together, you probably expect me to love it. I did not though. Yes, the humor definitely made me laugh. Yes, I loved watching London from the water. Yes, I loved getting a glimpse of boat life (but not boat poo). Yes, I loved watching the three main characters interact with each other.

I just could not get over the fact that Kat only decides to have a baby with Eva to end a fight and then gets cold feet WHEN EVA IS PREGNANT. Yes, I had to write that in caps. I feel that you simply cannot do that to a child and so I was having a really hard time feeling a connection with Kat’s process. When can we see a movie in which lesbians become parents without the pregnancy being the central topic that should offer the conflict of the story?

With space tight on their London houseboat, Eva is not happy when her partner Kat invites over her old friend Roger from Spain. Although, on second thought, it could be an answer to their desire to have a baby together.

TIERRA FIRME (Anchor and Hope) – Trailer VOSE from Miguel A. Trudu on Vimeo.

Discussion with the other judges about the Best Feature Film

Before the discussion with the other judges, I was nervous about how that discussion would go. Would the idea of which movie should win be shared by all immediately or would all the judges have a different opinion on which movie should win? And if so, how do you finally pick a winner? To prepare, I decided to pick my top three so that I would have some flexibility in picking the Best Feature Film with the others: Just Charlie, Sisterhood, and Even Lovers Get the Blues.

There were three judges, including myself, and we first started a round of discussing our favorite ones. I offered to start off with writing down our favorite one and throwing it on the table simultaneously but the other two stated that they had some favorites and did not know the order yet.

What does the Roze Filmdagen Best Feature Film Award mean?

After that first round, we asked ourselves what we want the Roze Filmdagen Best Feature Film Award to mean. When you see a movie poster with an image of the award on it, what should that say to the public?

We quickly agreed that we wanted to offer a bigger audience to a movie that might not be the audience members’ first choice. We are all used to our own cultural context and so watching movies that fit that context perfectly are easier for us to consume. As judges, we decided to look beyond our personal boundaries and offer a platform to a movie that might make us struggle as we are unfamiliar with its environment.

Two movies: The Constitution or Sisterhood?

That offered a problem because we thought that both Sisterhood and The Constitution fitted our criteria. This problem took us over an hour! In the end, if I speak from my point of view, I decided to go back to my viewing experience as I had stated beforehand that I would select movies that had an impact on me and that had characters with whom I could feel a connection.

I could not feel a connection with Vjeko from The Constitution. Before watching Sisterhood, though, I was interested precisely because I know so little about Asian culture and how the LGBTQ community exists within those cultures. While watching the movie, I felt a big connection to the group of friends from the younger years. So, my vote went to Sisterhood.

And the winner is…

One other judge was rooting hard for The Constitution but thought Sisterhood was worthy of the award as well. The final judge decided to choose the subtlety of Sisterhood over the big contrasts of The Constitution. That means Sisterhood won the Best Feature Film Award! To do justice to The Constitution, we gave it an honorable mention in our speech.

Hope you enjoyed this glimpse of what happens backstage at a film festival when an award has to be granted to a nominee! There were more awards to be received by the movies.

These are the winners:

  • Best Feature Film: Sisterhood
  • Best Documentary: Mr. Gay Syria
  • Best Short: First Love
  • 48 Hours Pink Edition: Deze Meid
  • Hivos Free to be me Award: Evening Shadows
  • Iris Prize Nomination: Something about Alex/Anders

Outtv hosted the Audience Awards. These are the winners:

  • Best Documentary: Chavela
  • Best Mix Short: Mathias
  • Best Female Short: More than God
  • Best Male Short: Sisak
  • Best Mix Feature: Saturday Church
  • Best Female Feature: Anchor and Hope
  • Best Male Feature: God’s Own Country

The next edition is March 14-24, 2019, so you can start clearing your schedule 😀

Stay updated!

If you like what you have read about me selecting the Best Feature Film at the Amsterdam LGBTQ Film Festival, you can sign up for my newsletter. You will be informed when I publish a new post. For instance, I will be blogging and vlogging at ClexaCon in Las Vegas and Love Fan Fest in Barcelona, so plenty of LGBTQ blogging goodness is coming!

 

What lesbian movies can you watch at the 2018 Roze Filmdagen?

What lesbian movies can you watch at the 2018 Roze Filmdagen (Amsterdam LGBTQ Film Festival)?

March 8th to March 18th, you can visit the 21st edition of the Roze Filmdagen, which means the Pink Film Days, or the Amsterdam LGBTQ Film Festival. It has so many great movies that I almost want to urge you to go every day. I completely understand it if you cannot clear your schedule for all 125 movies, so I have listed the top lesbian movies you should go and watch. The organization of the 2018 Roze Filmdagen has allowed me to watch some previews, so I can tell you what I thought of them. You can find the program here, which has info in Dutch and in English.

‘What lesbian movies can you watch at the 2018 Roze Filmdagen (Amsterdam LGBTQ Film Festival)?’ March 8-18, you can visit the 21st edition of the Roze Filmdagen, or the Amsterdam LGBTQ Film Festival. I have listed the top lesbian movies you should go and watch. Find them here: http://bit.ly/2018RFD

Please subscribe to my YouTube channel!

2018 Roze Filmdagen Tip 1: Days of Mercy

I have been waiting a while for this movie starring Ellen Page and Kate Mara. Now, we can finally watch it here in The Netherlands.  I wish I had been able to watch a preview for you, but alas.

With her father on death row, Lucy has been a passionate campaigner against the death penalty for years. Every weekend she and her siblings travel to a protest outside a jail. And every week they are met by death penalty supporters. Then, one day, one of ‘those people’, a young woman named Mercy, starts chatting her up.

2018 Roze Filmdagen Tip 2: Becks

On Twitter, Myron Floyd told me about this movie when I had just published my blog post about IFFR. It made me very curious, so I would like to see this one. Again, I was not able to watch a preview for you, so I cannot tell you if I am as excited about it as Myron is.

 

Betrayed by her girlfriend, aspiring singer/songwriter Becks returns to small-town America and her ultra-religious mother. After some self-pitying couch potato time, she ventures out into the world again, with some scandalous affairs waiting to happen. Tony Award winner Lena Hall shines in this warm, sexy and fun tale of a love life going bad in all the good ways.

2018 Roze Filmdagen Tip 3: Seventeen

Oh, this movie is so cute! It has been a while since I was in high school but I do remember wanting things that just seemed so far out of reach or that were made impossible because of circumstances or other people’s behavior.

I loved listening to German and French again. I admired the protagonist for her discipline at home, looking after her father without her sister caring that much, and at school, doing “the nerdy thing” even though peer pressure could have led her to do “the cool thing.”

Oh, and ouch, the bad decisions you can make as a teenager! I truly wanted this movie to end differently. I am just going to leave it at that because I do not want to give away too much.

In the final weeks of school, we follow the trials and tribulations of a group of young teenagers. Paula is in love with Charlotte, who may be interested but is still also dating a boy. And then there is Lilli, who has an affair with a boy while they both have the hots for Paula. Their fluid sexualities are never considered a problem; they are simply a matter of fact in this refreshingly naturalistic portrait of life at seventeen.

DVD algemeen

2018 Roze Filmdagen Tip 4: Signature Move

How refreshing to have so much diversity in one movie. We can get a glimpse of American, Pakistani, and Mexican culture as it is all combined in these eighty minutes. I have seen Fawzia Mirza in other LGBTQ productions but never in the lead of a movie; that is great for her! Apparently, she is also the writer and producer of this movie. I love how this movie is a love story in which both women are trying to balance their cultural backgrounds, beliefs, and insecurities and that you follow all this through a story of wrestling. Yes, wrestling, what else?

Deliciously entertaining, this colorful love story is as much about culture as it is about love. Zaynab is lesbian, Muslim and of Pakistani origin. With an overbearing mother, things get complicated as she meets flirty ‘love-em-and-leave-em’ Alma, while she is also dabbling in her new-found love for Mexican style wrestling. Warm and witty, this is a real crowd-pleaser of a movie.

2018 Roze Filmdagen Tip 5: Sisterhood

If you want to see a happy movie, this is not it. But to dismiss it just like that would mean you are missing out on a great movie. You can constantly feel Sei’s sadness about losing her best friend (yes, “best friend”) but at the same time, you are constantly smiling during the flashbacks of their friendship (yes, “friendship”) and hoping for happiness. As she has already passed away, you know from the start you are not going to get a happy ending but you are curious about how they met and what they meant to each other. Oh, and if you are curious about what happens in massage parlors, this movie might enlighten you.

Love intertwines at the wrong time. The past almost feels like a foreign country in Tracy Choi’s female-oriented melodrama, which juxtaposes the regrets over a lost lesbian romance with the alienation of a former Macau native as she returns to what is now a glamorous gambling capital. Great acting performances drive this award-winning film.

2018 Roze Filmdagen Tip 6: Hello Again

Yay, I loved this musical! If you are looking for a strictly lesbian movie, I urge you to broaden your mind and include this movie in your plans. This masterpiece is extremely well done. There are ten protagonists who all have two love stories. Or, should I say sex stories? The best thing is, they are all set in different eras and when they subtly change storylines, they still refer back to their old character with a line or two.

When the movie started, there was an insensitive sex scene that made me question whether I was going to like this movie but I am so glad I kept watching. The sex/love interest of the protagonist is the protagonist in the next sex/love story. The whole LGBTQ spectrum is incorporated into the stories. I especially loved seeing Jenna Ushkowitz and Tyler Blackburn in completely different roles from what they did in Glee and PLL.

Loosely based on the 1897 play “La Ronde”, this dazzling and sexy musical celebrates love, regardless of gender. Ten very New York encounters, each set in appropriate time and music styles. With the best of Broadway performers, the seemingly disconnected stories reveal their unifying factor – the human desire to love and be loved.

2018 Roze Filmdagen Tip 7: Chavela

I had the pleasure of watching Chavela during IDFA’s Queer Day. Like I said in that blog, the movie immediately teaches you about her music, building the foundation of your documentary experience.

It slowly follows her life: ranging from her songs, being nervous before performing, and her flirting skills to alcoholism, being allowed to be a lesbian on stage but not in real life, and the lack of support from her family from an early age on.

You find out that she has a beautiful side and a dark side and at the end of the movie, you grieve her death as if you have known her personally. The fact that you can become so emotionally attached to someone in a documentary means the creators have done a great job.

2018 Roze Filmdagen Tip 8: Mr. Gay Syria

You are right. Mr. Gay Syria is not a lesbian movie. Still, I want you to see it or at least know about it. I also had the pleasure of watching this documentary during IDFA’s Queer Day and it made a big impact on me. You are constantly hoping for Husein and his friends to get a break and be granted a visa. You are also left wondering about their culture. Even though they speak of it so lovingly, you never get to see the beauty of Syria. The despair is real and you cannot help but wonder what you would do had you been in the same situation.

So many options at the 2018 Roze Filmdagen!

These are my movie tips for the 2018 Roze Filmdagen but when I look at the program again, there are so many movies, documentaries, and shorts that I still want to see. Another fun thing to highlight is the screenings that will be held of the winners of the 48 Hours Project on March 11th, 9.30 pm. The project had an LGTBQ theme this year and so the movies, which were created from March 2-4, match the program of the 2018 Roze Filmdagen perfectly.

Want to stay in Amsterdam?

If you want to stay in Amsterdam for the 2018 Roze Filmdagen from March 8-18, I have found you some hotels on Booking.com.

5 LGBT movies to see at the 2018 International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR)

5 LGBT movies to see at IFFR 2018

The 47th edition of the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) takes places from Wednesday, January 24 to Sunday, February 4. Unlike IDFA, there is no special Queer Day but IFFR 2018 does offer a selection of LGBT+ themed movies. I was allowed to watch previews of those movies, so I can tell you all about them!

I have ranked the 5 LGBT movies from my favorite one to my least favorite one so you can decide whether you want to follow my recommendations or not. If you click on the title of the movie, you will be redirected to the IFFR 2018 page with screening info.

I have also included a vlog, so you can watch me highlight the LGBT movies there as well. As I have just started vlogging on Dailymotion, I could really use your help. Will you subscribe to my channel and like or share my video?

‘5 LGBT movies to see at IFFR 2018’ IFFR 2018 takes places from January 24 to February 4. It offers a selection of LGBT+ themed movies. I have seen previews of those movies, so I can tell you all about them! I have ranked the 5 LGBT movies from favorite to least favorite, so you can decide whether you want to follow my recommendations. Find them here: http://bit.ly/IFFR2018

5 LGBT movies at IFFR 2018

These are the 5 LGBT movies at IFFR 2018:

1.      Those Long-Haired Nights

Philippines – 2017 – Gerardo Calagui – 72 min.

Synopsis: In this unflinching yet open-hearted portrait of prostitution, we follow the transgender women Tuesday, Amanda and Barbie, sex workers and friends, through Burgos, the red-light district in Manila. Tuesday has an encounter with a rough client who she fears might not accept her. Amanda returns to her province to attend the christening of her ex-girlfriend’s son. Barbie finds herself deeply entangled in the precarious world of drug dealing.

While the risks that come with their job are on full display, the film’s inclusiveness and affection for its characters leave us with warmth. Calmly gliding through bustling neon-lit streets, cinematographer Bradley Liew’s camera exudes a confidence that matches the attentive focus in Gerardo Calagui’s direction. In the film’s rejection of stereotypes, the three women take varying approaches to their work and identity, but most importantly, they accept one another first and foremost as friends.

Review: This movie was definitely my favorite one and the only movie that I wished lasted longer. I loved how you closely follow the three women in a row while you still see them meet each other every now and then. You start to feel a bond with them (and feel sorry for them at times). After the movie, I really felt like I wanted to know more about their lives. Go see for yourself!

2.      Nina

Poland – 2018 – Olga Chajdas – 130 min.

Synopsis: After twenty years, Nina’s marriage to Wojtek is going nowhere, partly because of their failed attempts to have children. When they meet a young woman, Magda, they decide to propose that she become a surrogate mother for their child. But things get more complicated when Nina suddenly feels attracted to Magda.

This accomplished debut paints a sensitive portrait of a strong yet confused woman trapped in her role as wife and daughter. The energetic, apparently carefree Magda breaks open her world. The camera stays close to the three protagonists, almost without the use of establishing shots, creating a sensorial, highly vibrating atmosphere. But there is one location that plays a crucial role: Natalia Bażowska’s artwork Birth Place, which represents a womb you can lie in and serves for the characters as their only shelter, where their love, freedom and identities are not bound by any conventions.

Review: The first hour, I had a really hard time liking Nina. She is so distant and awkward that I constantly wondered why Wojtek is so crazy about her. I instantly liked Magda though, who you will get to know (and fear) as a player and party girl. For me, the turning point in the movie is when Magda comes to Nina and Wojtek’s home as that is when Nina starts to become less distant. I will not give away too much but the plot twists after that make you want to watch everything, even though I think the movie could have been a little shorter. I definitely recommend this movie!

3.      Soldiers. Story from Ferentari

Romania, Serbia, Belgium – 2017 – Ivana Mladenovic – 119 min.

Synopsis: Ferentari is a run-down neighborhood in Bucharest largely inhabited by Roma. “The closest to a ghetto you can get in contemporary Romania,” according to director Ivana Mladenovic. This is where she sets her fiction feature debut, a modern Romeo and Julio. Ferentari is not somewhere you would expect to find an introverted academic like 40-year-old Adi. The anthropologist comes to the area soon after being dumped to study the Roma pop music, manele. Adi needs help navigating this shady, often mob-related, world and finds this in kind-hearted criminal Alberto.

As do many contemporary Romanian filmmakers, this originally Serb director plays an intriguing game with fact and fiction in her film, which is populated by amateur actors from Ferentari. Soldiers. Story from Ferentari is based on the eponymous, semi-autobiographical book by Adrian Schiop, who also plays the lead in this loose adaptation.

Review: I thought this was a highly interesting setting as it gives you a peek into Roma life (or misery). I did sometimes feel the movie was slow. However, after a few days of watching this movie, I found myself questioning at times whether Alberto’s love was real or merely a survival strategy. We can probably all agree that this movie has an impact on you.

4.      Swedish Candy, Some Violence and a Bit of Cat

Sweden – 2018 – Ester Martin Bergsmark – 45 min.

Synopsis: Gelatin is of animal origin, odorless and, when liquid, can be molded into almost any imaginable shape. Swedish Candy, Some Violence and a Bit of Cat is also fluid: a sugary clash between violence and love, old and new, Tarzan and Jane. Above all, incitement to transgress the boundaries between all these binaries.

Review: If this synopsis is already hard for you to understand, you will be left dumbfounded by this 45-minute-movie. I asked myself what the hell I just watched. At one point, you feel like sympathy vomiting with one of the two protagonists. If absurd movies are your thing, this is your go-to movie.

5.      Les Garçons Sauvages

France – 2017 – Bertrand Mandico – 110 min.

Synopsis: The boys are unleashed. In the early 1900s, five teenagers from rich families are sent on a repressive cruise after murdering their teacher. Led by a violent captain, they arrive on a strange island with luxuriant, supernatural vegetation. As the song says, “a change is gonna come.”

In his first feature, Bertrand Mandico deepens the universe of his award-winning shorts: cinema as something organic, only-shot-on-film, where bodies are shrouded by highly-stylized, sexy, and wild visuals. A world of literal (bodily) and metaphorical fluids. The Wild Boys manages the crazy feat of merging such disparate influences and genres as Joseph Conrad’s Lord Jim, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Kenneth Anger, 80’s New Wave, Joseph Von Sternberg and Wakamatsu Koji in a gorgeous (mostly) black-and-white feast of magical visions. With the strength of poetry rather than speeches, the film pleads for a fluid sexual identity to free ourselves.

Review: I will be honest with you: I have not watched this movie. After reading the synopsis and watching the trailer, I did not feel inclined to watch it. The movie is simply not for me. Still, I am sure it will draw a crowd.

Want to stay in Rotterdam for IFFR 2018?

I hope my information has inspired you to go see the movies yourself. If you want to spend one or more nights in Rotterdam because you want to watch several movies, take masterclasses or visit a number of events, you can find hotels in Rotterdam at Booking.com, Hotels.com, Expedia or Tripadvisor.

Celebrate Lesbian Life at Love Fan Fest 2018!

Celebrate Lesbian Life at Love Fan Fest 2018!

It is possible you have already seen me announcing it on social media but now I can write a blog about it: I am going to Love Fan Fest in Barcelona!! I am so excited! First ClexaCon in Las Vegas in April 2018 and then Love Fan Fest June 22-24. In this blog, you can learn all about it and decide how quickly you should buy your ticket (tip: very quickly!). You can also find some accommodation tips.

‘Celebrate Lesbian Life at Love Fan Fest 2018!’ I am going to Love Fan Fest in Barcelona!! In this blog, you can learn all about Love Fan Fest, what you can do there, what type of tickets there are and what alternatives there are to the pricey official accommodation. Read it here: http://bit.ly/LoveFanFest

Please subscribe to my YouTube channel!

What is Love Fan Fest?

Love Fan Fest gives Barcelona the first LGBT multifandom event. The organization wants to offer a great festival to celebrate, debate, and show diversity, requesting a greater LGBTQ+ (and, more specifically, lesbian) visibility in films and television.

In short, there will be actresses who play or have played lesbian characters, concerts, different stages, parties, art, and culture.

What guests will be present at Love Fan Fest?

Yay! Fans of Wynonna Earp, Carmilla, and South of Nowhere can be very, very happy! Melanie Scrofano, Katherine Barrell, Dominique Provost-Chalkley, Natasha Negovanlis, Elise Bauman, Mandy Musgrave, and Gabrielle Christian are coming to Europe. Goodbye, long travels and expensive tickets! Us Europeans can simply book a city trip and meet them!

There will be panels with them and plenty of opportunities to meet them, get their autographs and take your picture with them. You can even have dinner with them or party with them at Party Love!

What is the lineup for the Love Fan Fest music festival?

So far, Bombai (pop, surf, reggae, and rock) and Pignoise (pop, punk) have been confirmed. They both play on Saturday.

Love Fan Fest activities

This is what you can expect at Love Fan Fest:

·         Q&A panels

Artists are the main focus of the festival. With the Q&A panels, Love Fan Fest brings together national and international artists as well as emerging talents. The duration is 45 minutes.

·         Conferences

Some topics of the conferences will be Sci-fi tv shows and lesbian visibility, gay superheroes and lesbian relationships in comics, film industry and LGBT characters, prevention of discrimination in children from gay/lesbian couples, and LGBT youth and bullying.

·         Training

There will be workshops where attendees can acquire new knowledge or skills. They usually do not last longer than 4 hours. One or more specialists will talk and under the supervision of the moderator, the participants will work as a team and put the theory into practice. Topics will include creative writing, short story, flash story, and how to start your first FanFic.

·         Photo exhibition

·         Cinematographic exhibition

·         LOVE party

·         Two-hour dinners with actresses and nine guests

·         Autographs

·         Exclusive photographs

Love Fan Fest contests

There are a photography contest and a short film contest with nice prizes, so if you are a photographer or a filmmaker, this might be fun!

Love Fan Fest tickets

The tickets were a bit of a puzzle but I managed to figure them out. You have to buy separate tickets for the festival with the actresses (‘love festival passes’), the music festival (‘festival music passes’), and the personal interactions you want to have with the actresses.

There is one pass (‘love x-treme pass’) that does give access to both festivals as well as an autograph, but the seats in the Q&A room have zones and you will get zone 3 seats, which are not the best ones.

No ‘love festival pass’ gives access to the music festival. There are tickets for Saturday or Sunday and tickets for every day, ranging from a normal one to a gold one (the latter is sold out, though).

Finally, there are tickets for the party (normal or VIP) and for interactions with each actress (autograph, solo photo op, photo op together with one or two other actresses, meet & greet, and dinner).

·         The big ticket puzzle

One thing that may concern you about this festival is that there are two different venues (with a distance of about 2 km between them, which metro L1 covers) and that you have to buy separate tickets. You may wonder whether that might be a barrier for some people, opting to go to just one venue instead.

Given the fact that the organization has increased the festival’s capacity and added more tickets in October, I am fairly sure that the atmosphere will be amazing.

Accommodations festival and concerts

Love Fan Fest’s first edition will take place in the NH Collection Barcelona Tower. The address is Gran Via, 144, 08907 Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona, which is about 8 kilometers from Barcelona’s city center. The hotel is located in the new financial and economic district of Barcelona, between the airport and the city center. By car, the city center is 15 minutes away and using the station next to the hotel, the city center is 20 minutes away. The hotel is 10 minutes away from the airport.

For June 22-26, there is a special offer for the attendees of the festival. A double room including breakfast is €146+ TAX/night (about €161 per night with taxes included).

For some, this might still be pricey, so I have some Booking.com suggestions for accommodations below. If you book using these links, I will receive some commission. Think of it as a tip for my help! I have accommodations near the official hotel, near the music venue, in the city center, and near the airport, so you can pick where you prefer to stay.

·         Accommodations in the same neighborhood as the official hotel

These accommodations were available from Thursday to Monday when I was writing this blog. Please note that the neighborhood seems kind of big, so make sure to check where you are staying and how to get to NH Collection Barcelona Tower, where the festival will take place.

·         Accommodations close to the music venue

The concert part of the festival (Escenario Love) is at a different venue: Sala Salamandra. The address is Av. Carrilet, 235; 08907 Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona, which is about 2 kilometers away from NH Collection Barcelona Tower. Sala Salamandra is close to a metro (L8) and train station (R5, R6, R50, R60, S3, S4, S8, and S9). Metro L1 goes from NH Collection Barcelona Tower and has a stop 650 meters away from Salamandra Sala 1; L1 also goes to Barcelona’s city center (Eixample).

These accommodations were available from Thursday to Monday when I was writing this blog. Please note that I have organized the list by proximity to the city center, so there might be some pricey ones on the top of the list.

·         Accommodations in the city center

These accommodations were available from Thursday to Monday when I was writing this blog. Please note that I have organized the list by proximity to the city center, so there might be some pricey ones on the top of the list. Also, the city center is about 8 kilometers away from NH Collection Barcelona Tower, where the festival will take place. Staying close to metro line 1 (the red line) might come in handy!

·         Cheapest accommodations in the city center

These accommodations were available from Thursday to Monday when I was writing this blog. Please note that I have organized the list by cheapest options first, which may be a shared accommodation. Also, the city center is about 8 kilometers away from NH Collection Barcelona Tower, where the festival will take place. Staying close to metro line 1 (the red line) might come in handy!

·         Accommodations near the airport

These accommodations were available from Thursday to Monday when I was writing this blog. Please note that the airport is about 6 kilometers away from NH Collection Barcelona Tower, about 9 kilometers away from Sala Salamandra, and about 16 kilometers away from Barcelona’s city center.

Flights

I have just booked my flight using Skyscanner. It is awesome; it found me a Transavia flight from Amsterdam to Barcelona costing only €83. Skyscanner scans for the cheapest prices and you can set up a price alarm to see if prices change on the flight you want.

I will be there Thursday afternoon and leave Monday morning. My wife is coming too but she will be flying on Friday and Sunday because of our little boy.

Follow me for my vlogs and blogs

I will do my best to cover Love Fan Fest for you. You will be able to read a blog about it once I have visited the festival. In addition, I have started taking a vlogging course, specifically for ClexaCon and LoveFanFest. That means I will be able to bring you professional vlogs as well.

Last week, I published my first vlog (about IDFA’s Queer Day) and at the top of this blog, you can see my second one. If you subscribe to my YouTube channel, you can see my new vlogs immediately!

Also, if you sign up for my newsletter, you will be the first one to hear about my new blogs! My English blogs will tell you all about (international) LGBTQ+ events that I will visit. My Dutch blogs cover lesbian parenting in the Netherlands, so if you are interested in those blogs, you can also sign up for my Dutch newsletter.

I hope you have enjoyed my blog. Please do not forget to share it with your friends! Are you going or thinking about going? Let me know in the comment section below!

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