By Ryan Keating-Lambert
The 18th Mezipatra Queer Film Festival is upon us and as always, promises to be an exciting and diverse week of films, debates, and parties based around the LGBTI community. The festival will take place in Prague from November 2 – 9, and in Brno from November 10 – 17.
In the main competition this year, the festival boasts 9 feature films including the award-winning ‘British Brokeback Mountain’ God’s Own Country, supernatural Norwegian Oscar entry Thelma, directed by Joachim Trier, Tom of Finland – a biopic based around the iconic character’s creator, which will premiere on the festivals opening night. As well as German drama Paths, which will be presented by the director Chris Miera, and The Wound, a look at the coming-of-age rituals among young boys in South Africa, which will also be presented by its director John Trengrove.
In addition to the main competition, Mezipatra will also present screenings of ‘retro’ films that have helped define gay cinema over the years, including the Pedro Almodóvar classic All About My Mother, East German romance Coming Out, and My Beautiful Laundrette with the recently retired Daniel Day-Lewis.
Accompanying the feature film programme is a strong documentary section led by The Death and Life of Martha Johnson, a detailed look at the prominent trans activist involved in the Stonewall riots, whose disappearance still remains a mystery.
Mezipatra is the largest queer film festival in the Czech Republic and is visited by all walks of life. “For eighteen years, it has offered a safe space for all identities to meet and interconnect and for even seemingly incongruous groups to finds points of intersection,” says festival director Pavel Bicek.
The festival motto this year is ‘Be Your Own Champion’ – “Just like the protagonists of the films across all sections introduced at the festival, we need to face our problems on our own,” says Sandra Hezinová, the festival’s program director. “The importance lies in the inner strength and authenticity of each of us. We are interested in various forms of self-expression, and symptomatically also in role-models, which the queer community often lacks.”
Nestled among the festival’s impressive film programme are informative debates, and some of the best parties that Prague has to offer, including the opening celebration and closing party award ceremony, both in the stunning Kino Lucerna. Be sure to also grab a drink at the newly opened Patra community cafe and club, right near screening venue Kino Pilotů.