Gay Cinema Comes Out of the Closet RIO DE JANEIRO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL PRESENTS FIRST ‘FELIX’ AWARDS HONOURING BEST OF LGBT FILMS OF THE YEAR
Tonight, Monday 6 October, gay movies came out of the closet as the Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival presented its first awards dedicated to gay-themed cinema – the Felix Awards. Three awards were given in a ceremony at Rio’s prestigious cultural centre, CCBB, presented by among others Rio’s re-elected Federal Deputy Jean Wyllys and popular actor Mateus Solano. Reflecting the international reach of the festival, the awards recognized gay filmmaking achievements from Brazil, Australia, and Greece, France and Belgium.
The winners, selected from 43 films in this year’s Festival do Rio that in some way represent LGBT culture, were tonight named as:
Best Fiction Film: Xenia, directed by Panos H. Koutras (Greece/ Françe/ Belgium, 2014) – presented by Mateus Solano.
Best Documentary: Tie and Red Nail (De Gravata e Unha Vermelha), directed by Miriam Chnaiderman (Brasil, 2014) – presented by Jean Wyllys
Special Jury Prize: 52 Tuesdays, directed by Sophie Hyde (Australia, 2014) – presented by Felix Jury president Wieland Speck, director of the Panorama Section of Berlin Festival and co-creator of the Berlin Festival Teddy Award
The Felix Awards: In previous editions of Festival do Rio gay-themed films had their own section, Gay World. Reflecting cultural change, the curators of the Gay Section felt the need to integrate the films in this category amongst all the other sections, finishing with the traditional Gay Section and creating instead the Felix Award, which premiered this year.
The films with LGBT content were judged by a jury presided over by Wieland Speck (Jury President) director of the Panorama Section of Berlin Festival and co-creator of the Teddy Award and will be made up by João Emanuel Carmeiro (scriptwriter for Central Station and author of the soap opera Avenida Brasil), Albertina Carri (filmmaker and artisitic director of *Asterisco – International LGBTIQ Film Festival of Buenos Aires) and Malu de Martino, director of Margaret Mee e a Flor da Lua. The award ceremony will be on the evening of Monday, 6th October.
The Felix award was taken from the Latin word ‘felix’, a synonym for ‘fortunate’, ‘joyful’, ‘satisfied’ and ‘happy’.
It is perhaps appropriate that the Felix Award is introduced just as Daniel Ribeiro’s Hojé eu Quero Voltar Sozinho (The Way He Looks) is chosen to represent Brazil at the Academy Awards. The film, which won the Teddy Award and FIPRESCI prize in Berlin, tackles LGBT issues.