Category: LGBT film festivals (page 2 of 2)

Anne+: New Dutch Lesbian Web Series

Anne+: New Dutch Lesbian Web Series

Today, I can finally talk about Anne+. I have been anticipating this new Dutch lesbian web series for a long time now. Last Sunday, it premiered at the Dutch Film Festival (Nederlands Film Festival, NFF). I also watched all six episodes that day, so I can tell you all about them. In this blog post and video, you will see spoilers. I try to keep them to a minimum but I need some things to explain how I feel about the show.

Before watching this web series, I knew that every episode would center around Anne and one of her relationships. After watching it, I like how it shows that you can learn a lot about yourself through your relationships. Anne+ starts when Anne goes to college in Amsterdam and after six episodes and five relationships, she graduates and begins adult life. The episodes of about ten minutes each take you on this journey.

At this moment, no subtitles are available in their videos but on their Instagram page, they do often write in English. So, make sure to follow their Instagram and keep an eye out for a version with subtitles! Under my Instagram post, they did say they are working on their international release. The first two episodes can be found on their website; there will be a new episode every week.

Nederlandse versie van deze blog

Review of ANNE+ season 2

‘Anne+: New Dutch Lesbian Web Series’ Today, I can finally talk about Anne+. I was anticipating this new Dutch lesbian web series for a long time now. I have watched all six episodes, so I can tell you all about them:

Episode 1: Anne+ Lily

We get to know Anne, who is sitting next to moving boxes in her new house in Amsterdam. She needs to run some errands but then she sees her ex, Lily, with her new girlfriend. You know, precisely the moment when you do not look your best.

This is how we enter the flashbacks to the relationship between Anne and Lily. They fall for each other in high school, go to college together in Amsterdam, and are completely in love. Yet, slowly but gradually, they grow apart until they reach their breaking point.

We go back to Anne in her living room. After the encounter, Lily texts to see if they can meet up for coffee anytime soon and they agree to meet up this Sunday.

This is the introduction. Now I’m wondering: will they get back together again or is the next episode completely different and at a later time? After all, you know that every episode focuses on a different relationship but how will the series approach that?

Episode 2: Anne+ Janna

We still see that Anne is surrounded by moving boxes. That means little time has passed. Her two best friends help her unpack. Anne tells them that she saw Lily. Her friend first thought Anne was talking about Janna, another ex.

That is how we move to the second story. Anne needs excitement after the tame part at the end of her previous relationship with Lily. She finds that in Janna, who offers her parties and drugs. However, Anne doesn’t feel at home in Janna’s world. At the end of their fling, Anne is dumped for “living in a bubble.”

This was simply no match and you notice that Anne feels hurt but that she quickly recovered with the help of her friends.

Episode 3: Anne+ Sophie

In the third episode, we see Anne on the couch going through Tinder. Oh no, she sees Sophie’s profile. She was madly in love with her but the feeling wasn’t mutual.

I really liked the flirting scene. That’s when you see that awkwardness and exploring in the beginning for the first time.

Anne indicates that she thought she was quite a strong woman but that Sophie made her realize she wasn’t really. This episode offers us a twist: it goes from “what I want” to “oh no, the other person doesn’t want to so what do I do now?” This is a moment of growth for Anne, which allows you to establish a more in-depth connection to her.

Episode 4: Anne+ Esther

The episode starts with Anne on the phone. She needs a reference for an application: “Oh no, I need Esther for that.”

That leads to a flashback to the time she was an intern. As she casually says: sex with the boss, that’s really hot. She has no feelings at all; for her, it is just about sex. That is different from what we have seen so far. As a result, I think the series becomes funny as well.

Then, it turns out in (an embarrassing way!) that her boss does have feelings for her. Here, you see that she is in control again. Clearly, she is no longer upset over Sophie and you notice that she has become more mature.

Episode 5: Anne+ Sara

Sara calls when Anne is hanging a photo of Frida Kahlo. We notice that they have not seen each other for a long time. Sara is in Argentina. Anne thinks Sara super good looking and you see that she is very impressed again now. The balance is off and she immediately has a lower position.

In their flashback, Sara just doesn’t feel very lesbian. She just likes Anne, she says. Anne does value her lesbian identity much, which you have noticed all season. She doesn’t fully realize Sara’s struggles because she is just so in love. Sara is still really discovering her sexual orientation. That leads to a painful moment in public with a “F*ck off, dyke.” Then, there is one of those painful cry breakups in which you don’t want to let the other person go.

This was clearly a painful moment for Anne, right when she has just graduated and wants to start adult life. In fact, that means her student life starts and ends with a meaningful relationship that ends.

Episode 6: solely the protagonist

We now focus solely on Anne. We start the day. It’s Sunday. Anne is very busy with “real life.” The entire season, we have seen her brushing her teeth with her girlfriends but now, she is looking at herself in the mirror all alone. She also has breakfast by herself, standing at a table. She seems to be aimless.

Her parents come for a visit. They have that conversation about that life isn’t going as Anne wants and that she doesn’t know what she wants. This episode, it is also the time for the coffee date with Lily. The conversation remains uncomfortable and on the surface, while old feelings definitely play back and forth.

After watching the series

I liked the fact that her whole student life is shown from beginning to end and that it ends with big questions like ‘What am I supposed to do with my life now?’

After the six episodes, you know that you have gotten to know her through her loves and friendships and that she has also gotten to know herself like that. Occasionally, she is hurt and at other times, she experiences something beautiful.  Now that she is all by herself, she wonders who she is without a girlfriend. She has often learned about herself through the other person.

This is how you end up with at a beautiful, well-rounded story with an opening for more stories and more seasons. I’m curious. If there will be more episodes, I want to watch them for sure. Will they add more toothbrushing?

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NFF 2018: What LGBT Movies Can You Watch?

NFF 2018: What LGBTQIA Movies Can You Watch?

I am really excited about this week’s blog post and video. For the past few months, when talking about queer representation in media, I have mostly addressed shows and movies from the US and Canada (and Brazil, hey RED 😊). This week, I finally get to talk about productions from my own country, the Netherlands. The Nederlands Film Festival (NFF – Dutch Film Festival, the link leads to English program) has sent me a list of LGBTQIA productions that will be shown at NFF 2018, which is held September 27 to October 5. I will discuss my favorite ones in this blog post and in the video below this image. Most of these have English subtitles so you can enjoy them too!

The Dutch version of this blog post can be found here.

‘NFF 2018: What LGBT Movies Can You Watch?’ The Nederlands Film Festival (Dutch Film Festival) will be held September 27 to October 5 and these are my favorite LGBTQIA productions that you can watch at the festival. Most of these have English subtitles so you can enjoy them too:

LGBTQIA productions at NFF

From that impressive list, I have picked the movies that I would want to watch myself as a visitor to the festival after watching the trailers and reading their synopsis. That means not every LGBT production available at the NFF will be described in this blog post and the video below.

I have contacted the production companies of the movies that I have picked for a preview and so I am able to give you my opinion about those and help you decide which ones you want to see. One production, which I have been anticipating for a long time now, was not able to give me a preview but their material will be available this Sunday. That means I will be able to dedicate a single blog post and video to Anne+ next week.

LGBTQIA movies to watch at NFF 2018: Taxi Stories

Feature film, 101 minutes

I first want to talk about Taxi Stories.  Before watching this movie, I was the least fascinated by this production because I did not know how it could be interesting. I knew there would be three stories in one movie, all revolving around a taxi ride. I knew class differences would be highlighted and that there would be some LGBT elements. Nevertheless, this movie was the biggest surprise for me.

The movie takes place in three different Asian cities: Beijing, Hong Kong, and Jakarta. I am immediately drawn to the colors and the people. I want to know the backstories of the main characters and I am constantly wondering where the stories are going. At some moments, I feel disgusted and at other moments, I feel intrigued. The cultural differences are interesting and the scenery is beautiful. There were much more LGBT elements than I expected too.

Let me tell you, though, this movie does not make us people look good! We are a pretty disappointing bunch. Yes, you will definitely have feelings after watching this movie.

LGBTQIA movies to watch at NFF 2018: Mother’s Balls

Short documentary, 48 minutes

You need to know about ballroom dancing before watching Mother’s Balls. If this is your first introduction, your questions are left unanswered for a long time, which distracts from the real story. The real story is Amber’s efforts to have The Netherlands and Belgium get to know ballroom dancing. She puts so much time, effort, money, and love into it. The ballroom scene also means being a family and that really comes to the forefront.

I could really relate to the ending, where Amber starts talking about her family. She does not want to cry but she does. You just feel for her. As a kid, you simply want to be loved by your parents. It is amazing to see how she finds that family love in her ballroom family and gives that feeling back to others. I am happy they did not just show the confident performer Amber. If they had not shown vulnerable Amber, I would never think the ballroom scene would be something I could possibly belong to; this part makes the ballroom scene look more accessible and relatable.

The documentary has beautiful close-ups and nice breaks from the colorful, loud scene to small dances, like the one with a white background and a man in black dancing and moving merely with his hands. Those 48 minutes flew by.

LGBTQIA movies to watch at NFF 2018: Otherland

Short documentary, 13 minutes

Otherland offers a small peek into the life of one of the men who has joined House of Vineyard. Elvin grew up in Saint Martin. As a gay man, he felt he was suffocating on the island. Elvin discovered ballroom through a friend. They practiced it in the dark “because if we had been caught, we would have been killed.”

His story ends when he arrives in Rotterdam. Up to that point, we see him dancing in contests (where Amber is present), we see him all by himself, and we see him together with his mom. Most of this is shown in slow motion so you can really listen to his story and still get a glimpse of his dancing.

This documentary offers many close-ups and artistically shot poses and dance moves to support the story. I really want to hear what happened after he arrived in Rotterdam, how he felt, and how he ended up with the House of Vineyard. So, the documentary drew me in; I felt it.

NFF shows Otherland before Mother’s Balls but I prefer watching the movies the other way around. Still, I get why they have chosen to put a short film before a longer film.

LGBTQIA movies to watch at NFF 2018: Dòst (One Night Stand XIII)

TV drama, 41 minutes

I really liked Dòst. The setting of this movie felt really familiar to me. I grew up in a village in the countryside and this movie focuses on two teenage boys working together on the land, cutting asparagus. It is all very relatable, how awkward the guys and girls are with their first kiss. I sometimes even felt embarrassed for them.

Things change halfway the movie. You have come on a journey with the main character but now, you start to dislike him. You feel bad for him but you feel bad for the other character ten times more. The peer pressure in this group of guys is real.

After watching the movie, I really wondered how the story continued and what happened to the two characters, apart from each other but also together. It pulls you in, thanks to the beautiful close-ups and the perfectly cast actors.

LGBTQIA movies to watch at NFF 2018: Stille Dorst

Short film, 22 minutes

Stille Dorst highlights the moment Tarik rents a holiday home from Jonas to process his divorce.  This short film offers few lines and many moments of silences. As a result, you are really focused on what Tarik is seeing and you are constantly wondering what he is thinking. His inner struggles are clearly visible, which is powerful. However, even though the movie is only twenty-two minutes long, it still feels long to me. I think it feels this way because it focuses on details so much and offers so many silent moments. One moment I like in particular is when the two main characters go outside to find some peace and quiet. You can clearly hear the sounds of nature, which almost made me feel zen at home.

LGBTQIA movies to watch at NFF 2018: Wognum

Short documentary, 54 minutes

Wognum took me by surprise. This short documentary is very special because you see two completely different worlds and only one main character. Matthijs is forty-two years old and still frequents the rave world. In the first few minutes, you feel his loneliness, which is painful. At big, crowded parties, he does not seem to connect with anyone. You learn that he has a boyfriend but at home, things are not going great. It seems as if he has money that he feels that people use him for that. He has a big collection of model trains in the attic, with which he plays. He invites others to play with them as well. You can tell this is where he feels safe.

Then, you discover another side of Matthijs. You wonder what a man like him is doing in a piano store but when he starts playing, you know why. It is lovely to watch him play. The ending is very emotional and heartwarming. It is beautiful to see when a person is finally recognized for one’s talents. It obviously has not happened a lot to him.

LGBTQIA movies to watch at NFF 2018: Vlam

Short film, 16 minutes

Vlam is a very short production of only sixteen minutes but you see quite a lot. This short film revolves around a camping trip with two friends, who meet three French guys. The first thing you notice is the colors of this movie. There are a lot of neon colors and bright pink, which make the story a bit absurd. Since they smoke weed at a certain point, you are almost looking at everything in a haze.

The story is very relatable too. I am sure you can remember the jealousy when someone you liked made out with someone else right in front of you. You can probably also remember some stupid things you did after that.

Also, the ending left me wondering what happened next. I really wanted this short film to last longer!

LGBTQIA movies to watch at NFF 2018: Yulia & Juliet

Short film, 11 minutes

Yulia & Juliet is a brilliant short film.  Yulia and Juliet are in love with each other but they are in a juvenile detention center. We know TV shows with lesbian relationships in institutions: Orange is the new black and Wentworth. Now we have Yulia & Juliet too.  You can truly feel the sense of confinement. They speak to each other through the ventilation system, they whistle to let the other person know they are there, and they find short moments together. This movie knows how to use the main elements of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet in a very short amount of time and it is great to see this version of the classic.

LGBTQIA movies to watch at NFF 2018: Dante vs. Mohammed Ali

Short film, 28 minutes

Dante vs. Mohammed Ali is an absurd and entertaining short film.  Most of the time, you are wondering what the setting is. The way Wolf talks (and he calls himself Dante) makes you wonder whether you are watching a movie set in medieval times; or, is it a play turned into a movie? But then the clothes remind me of the 80s/90s. Also, where in the world is everyone so occupied with a weekly boxing match on a boat? In a way, this movie raises a lot of questions that it never answers. You do not really mind though. What you are here for is the love story and yes, that guides you through all the weirdness.

Bonus LGBTQIA movie to watch at NFF 2018: Niemand in de Stad

Feature film, 98 minutes

I would not recommend Niemand in de stad as an LGBT movie to watch. In fact, it falls victim to the Bury Your Gays trope, about which you can read here, here, and here, so if you are looking for positive queer representation, this movie is not for you.

That said, if you are okay with that and you want to look for (straight) beauty elsewhere in the movie, Niemand in de stad is a good choice. The movie has likable actors, it has its funny moments (I mean, the beginning nearly had me vomiting while still making me laugh), and it makes you go on a journey with the main character. You do not always like him or his actions but you do understand how he is trying to figure everything out growing up. Plus, I always love seeing Amsterdam frat boys make themselves look like idiots. :p Consequently, despite the lack of positive queer representation, I am happy I watched this movie so I still want to add it to my list.

Other LGBTQIA movies to watch at NFF 2018

Other LGBT movies that you can watch are At Midnight Plays a Dance-Tune, Error of Eros, and A Double Life.

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 then 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.

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:

Judging which movie is the Best Feature Film

I can tell you that watching a movie just for fun is very different from watching a movie to decide if it deserves an award. You experience all these emotions while watching a movie. When you are a judge, you constantly have to ask yourself how those emotions influence your decision.

What makes a movie a good movie? 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.


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. So, 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.

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 is beaten up. Vjeko is a gay transvestite and high school professor from Croatia. He was raised by his Nazi father of whom he is now taking care. 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. At the same time, though, these contrasts also invite you to look further. It invites you to 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. These 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 and I loved watching London from the water. Yes, I loved getting a glimpse of boat life (but not boat poo). Also, 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. 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 offering the conflict of the story?

Eva is not happy when her partner Kat invites over her Spanish friend Roger on their small London houseboat. 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? 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. This way, I would have some flexibility in picking the Best Feature Film with the others. I picked 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.

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?

We agreed that we wanted to make the audience see a movie that might not be their first choice. We are all used to our own cultural context. Watching movies that fit that context perfectly are easier for us to consume. As judges, we decided to look beyond our personal boundaries. We decided to choose 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, I decided to go back to my viewing experience. After all, 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 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.

Best feature film: 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.

Stay updated!

If you like what you have read about me selecting the Best Feature Film at the Amsterdam LGBTQ Film Festival, you can subscribe to my YouTube channel. For instance, I will be blogging and vlogging at ClexaCon in Las Vegas and Love Fan Fest in Barcelona. Plenty of LGBTQ vlogging 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:

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.

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

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.

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. This builds the foundation of your documentary experience.

It slowly follows her life. It focuses on her songs, being nervous before performing, 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. 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.

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. You cannot help but wonder what you would do had you been in the same situation.

So many options at the Roze Filmdagen!

These are my movie tips for the 2018 Roze Filmdagen. Still, there are so many movies, documentaries, and shorts that I still want to see. Also, there will be a screening of the winners of the 48 Hours Project. The project had an LGTBQ theme this year. So, the movies 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

IDFA 2017: 5 Diverse Documentaries on Queer Day

IDFA 2017: 5 Diverse Documentaries on Queer Day

On November 20, the fifth Queer Day was held at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) in the beautiful building of EYE film museum. On this day, we were shown five premieres of LGBTQ+ documentaries, some of which were followed by debates with filmmakers, protagonists, and experts. I was there and so I can tell you all about it. A vlog is included if that is more your cup of tea.

‘IDFA 2017: 5 Diverse Documentaries on Queer Day’ On November 20, the fifth Queer Day was held at IDFA. On this day, we were shown five premieres of LGBTQ+ documentaries, some of which were followed by debates with filmmakers, protagonists, and experts. I was there and so I can tell you all about it. A vlog is included if that is more your cup of tea. Read it here:


Catherine Gund, Daresha Kyi – United States – 2017

Short synopsis: Singer Chavela Vargas (1919-2012) was born in Costa Rica, but at 14, she left for Mexico to perform in elegant clubs. “When I dressed like a woman, I just looked like a transvestite,” so she decided to comb her hair back and to wear pants and a poncho — a look considered outrageous in the 1930s. Although she did not come out as a lesbian until the age of 81, her sexual orientation was a public secret


·         Review Chavela

What a great start of Queer Day. I am going to be honest and say that I had never heard of Chavela before, which some of you may find unbelievable. The movie immediately teaches you about her music, building the foundation of your documentary experience.

After that, it slowly follows her life, touching upon various subjects, 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.


Daisy Asquith – United Kingdom – 2017

Short synopsis: composed entirely of excerpts from BFI’s archive, Queerama tells the extraordinary story of the development of attitudes towards homosexuality in the UK. It shows British legislation on homosexuality but focuses on the fears, longings, relationships, and oppression of gay men and women, and how they have been portrayed in film and on TV. All this is supported by a luscious soundtrack with music by John Grant, Goldfrapp, and Hercules & Love Affair.

·         Review Queerama

What a celebration of queer life! The challenge that this documentary faces is that there is not one person that you follow and to whom you become emotionally attached. How can one then tell a story with a big pile of unrelated pieces of footage?

Well, both UK legislation and the soundtrack bring everything together. What is cleverly done is that the creators have edited unrelated pieces of footage in such a way that the people in it seem to communicate or be in the same surroundings. Simply because you are traveling in time almost seamlessly, I sometimes wondered: “Wait, what era was this in?”


What I particularly liked was the interviewer from the sixties (or somewhere around that era, sorry I don’t know the exact moment) who simply asked gay men and lesbian women brutally honest questions. He referred to heterosexuals as normal people and he asked questions like: “What do lesbians do?” or “Are you attracted to your students?” One could hate him for it but I was surprised that in the context of his era, he was not afraid to ask those questions. After all, most people ignored the subject completely or thought it was a disease. These interviews are a small time capsule opened.

This Is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous

Barbara Kopple – United States – 2017

Short synopsis: Gigi Gorgeous started a vlog at the age of fourteen when she was still Gregory Lazzarato. In her transition from Gregory to Gigi, the camera is her therapist and YouTube is her diary. She likes to boost people’s confidence by showing them how it is possible to be yourself.

·         Review This Is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous

The many layers this documentary had was what I liked about it. It really tells several stories, some of which you may find hit home. I mean, I am not transgender, but I recognized the process of coming to terms with who you are and figuring out how you want to express yourself.

On another level, the impact you can have with posting videos was interesting. At this event, I was filming my first vlog. Let me tell you: it is scary as hell. Gigi even had to become comfortable with herself as a transgender woman in front of the camera. Those videos mean so much to so many people. In a way, I knew the impact such videos can have but at the same time, I did not. Does that make sense?


Mr. Gay Syria

Ayse Toprak – France, Turkey, Germany – 2017

Short synopsis: Twenty-four-year-old Husein is from Syria. As an LGBT refugee stuck in a straight marriage, he waits in Istanbul for possible placement in Europe. He must hide his sexual orientation from his conservative family. He can be himself with his friends in Istanbul’s tight-knit gay community. To bring attention to homosexuality among Syrians, he decides to compete in the Mr. Gay Syria and Mr. Gay World competitions.

Mr. Gay Syria @ Queer Day

·         Review: Mr. Gay Syria

Wow, this was definitely the saddest documentary of the day. You are constantly hoping for him 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, though. You cannot help but wonder what you would do had you been in the same situation.

Antonio Lopez 1970: Sex, Fashion & Disco

James Crump – United States – 2017

Short synopsis: Antonio Lopez is considered the most influential fashion illustrator of the last century. This hypnotic collage is a tribute to the life and work of this highly energetic artist. His work was always groundbreaking; one example is that Lopez was among the first to draw black models.

I had to go home after Mr. Gay Syria, so I cannot tell you anything about the experience of watching this documentary. You will have to see it for yourself!

A day after Queer Day: afterthoughts

At the moment of writing this blog, it is the day after Queer Day. That makes it an interesting day to see what has stuck with me. First of all, I am impressed by all the different stories I have seen. IDFA has done a great job selecting an inclusive program with the restriction of only five documentaries. The four that I watched have all given me different feelings. I like it! So, you can see this as virtual applause to IDFA.

·         Relevant

Secondly, I was able to watch two discussions: one after Queerama and one after Mr. Gay Syria. Daisy Asquith, director of Queerama, told us that she was leaving for Russia the day after Queer Day. She was going to show Queerama at a gay film festival there. This particular festival and its organizers are the subject of many protests, so she was a bit afraid she was going to go to jail. The day before Queer Day, the government in Ankara, Turkey announced that it would ban all gay film festivals from now on. These two examples show you just how relevant a Queer Day or a gay film festival still is to this day.

·         Closure

In addition, I still feel the emotions from watching Mr. Gay Syria. I was happy the director and two of the men followed in the documentary were available for a discussion. The movie ends on a sad note and you long for some type of closure. Seeing that these two men were living a happy life (not together anymore but still close) and hearing that Husein has finally been granted asylum in France made me very emotional and happy. The big question that this movie raises is “What can we do to help?” If you want to know the answer, you should follow their Facebook page because they are coming up with some solutions soon.

Stay updated!

I hope you liked reading this IDFA Queer Day blog and watching my first vlog. Please subscribe to my YouTube channel for more videos. My aim is to cover cool LGTBQ+ events. An example is ClexaCon in Las Vegas!

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