Cambodian Transgender Activist Sou Sotheavy Wins 2014 David Kato Vision & Voice Award

The David Kato Vision & Voice Award is proud to announce that the 2014 award went to Cambodian transgender activist Sou Sotheavy. Now 75 years old, she has spent the last two decades working to establish a national network of organizations to support lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people across the country.  Sou was presented with the award on stage at the prestigious Teddy Awards ceremony Friday, February 14, at the 2014 Berlin International Film Festival.

Frank Mugisha, Chair of the David Kato Vision & Voice Award and Executive Director of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), presented Sou with the award , which was accompanied by a short film profiling Sou and an on-stage interview with

THE DAVID KATO VISION & VOICE AWARD SOU SOTHEAVY: Sou Sotheavy (c) John Vink / Magnum Photos.  (PRNewsFoto/The David Kato Vision & Voice Award)

THE DAVID KATO VISION & VOICE AWARD SOU SOTHEAVY: Sou Sotheavy (c) John Vink / Magnum Photos. (PRNewsFoto/The David Kato Vision & Voice Award)

Mugisha.

Awarded annually, the David Kato Vision & Voice Award is presented to an individual who demonstrates outstanding courage and leadership in advocating for the rights of LGBT individuals, particularly in challenging circumstances and unsupportive policy environments. The award provides winners with a global media platform and a $10,000 grant to support their efforts. The 2014 David Kato Vision & Voice Award is presented in memory of Eric Ohena Lembembe, who served as Executive Director of the LGBT human rights organization CAMFAIDS in Cameroon before he was brutally murdered in July of 2013.

Grassroots activists around the world are leading the work to secure LGBT rights and defend our communities,” said Jack Beck, Program Manager of the award. “Yet so often these crucial efforts go unrecognized and unfunded. Through the David Kato Vision & Voice Award, we are able to provide activists with a platform to elevate the issues that are affecting their communities, as well as much needed funding to sustain and expand their work.”

Sou was born on 8 December 1940 in Takeo province, Cambodia. Before the radical communist regime of the Khmer Rouge took over in 1975, she studied performing arts in the capital of Phnom Penh and worked as a military nurse. Her first involvement with human rights advocacy began in 1985 when she conducted HIV/AIDS outreach for the Khmer Development Freedom Organisation (KDFO). In 1999, realizing the need for special attention to LGBT issues, Sou established the Cambodian Network for Men Women Development (CMWD), the first Cambodian NGO to support LGBT people, where she continues to serve as president today. Active throughout 15 provinces, CMWD has provided much needed capacity building to LGBT groups, providing invaluable support for local programs and advocacy.

Until today, CMWD and Sou’s efforts have received no international attention. By acknowledging the importance of her work on these issues, Sou hopes the David Kato Vision & Voice Award will inspire and encourage more people to join the movement against discrimination in Cambodia and around the world. With more funding and volunteer activists working with Sotheavy in the provinces, she will reach out to a broader audience and support more LGBT people and organizations in Cambodia’s remote rural areas, where the education level is low, discrimination is rampant, and LGBT people remain forced to hide their true identity.

I am tremendously moved to be given this award that to me symbolizes the struggle for rights and freedom for LGBT people in Cambodia,” said Sou. “I think of the torture and suffering that I have endured throughout my life. Today, I am fortunate to live a life that I have always dreamed of, a life that allows me to help LGBT Cambodians escape the torture, contempt, and discrimination that exists in many families and in Cambodian society.”

I have been working without funds for a very long time,” Sou added. “This award will allow me to help my organization, train my team, and ultimately strengthen the rights of LGBT people in Cambodia. On the day I receive the award, my wish is that LGBT people from around the world will help support our LGBT communities in Cambodia, who are now facing a resurgence of violence from authorities. I will fight until the end of my life. I will not stop until the rights for LGBT exist like for other people.”

As we celebrate Sotheavy’s life and work, the global movement for LGBT rights continues to mourn Eric’s loss and the loss of so many other LGBT activists and community members over the past year,” said George Ayala, David Kato Vision & Voice Award Advisory Committee Member and Executive Director of the Global Forum on MSM & HIV (MSMGF). “We commemorate Eric’s legacy and the lives of everyone we lost last year; their memory and contributions will continue to ripple brightly through our communities for years to come.”

 

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2014 BERLIN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL TO PREMIERE TWO FILMS BY JOSEPHINE DECKER

WORLD PREMIERE OF “THOU WAST MILD & LOVELY” STARRING JOE SWANBERG AND SOPHIE TRAUB

WORLD PREMIERE OF “BUTTER ON THE LATCH” STARRING SARAH SMALL AND ISOLDE CHAE-LAWRENCE

Josephine Decker 2013 (Photo by Abe Avisnan)

Josephine Decker 2013 (Photo by Abe Avisnan)

A powerful new female voice in indie film has arrived. The 2014 Berlin International Film Festival will premiere two films from Josephine Decker next month. About Josephine Decker, Lead Programmer of the Berlinale Forum Section, Christoph Terhechte, says, “I haven’t seen such a powerful filmmaking in a long time.”

Thou Wast Mild & Lovely” and “Butter on the Latch” are both set in sensuous, subtly dangerous spaces, and blossom into wildly climactic endings.

Sarah in “THOU WAST MILD & LOVELY” -  Cinematography by Ashley Connor, dir Josephine Decker

Sarah in “THOU WAST MILD & LOVELY” – Cinematography by Ashley Connor, dir Josephine Decker

A filmmaker and performer, Decker has collaborated on many works with acclaimed indie director Joe Swanberg. In a role reversal, she directs him in “Thou Wast Mild and Lovely,” world premiering in the Berlinale 2014 Forum Section. Set in the delicate blue hills of Kentucky, “Thou Wast Mild and Lovely” is a highly intimate and subtly erotic thriller centering on a father and daughter whose world is turned upside down upon the arrival of a young farmhand. The film features scorching central performances by Swanberg and Sophie Traub who makes her return to the screen after starring in Hollywood blockbusters as a child actress in films such as “Tenderness” opposite Russell Crowe. Robert Longstreet (“Take Shelter”) also stars.

HOUSE - Butter on the Latch - dir Josephine Decker_Photo_by_Josephine_Decker

The Berlinale 2014 Forum section will also feature the world premiere of Decker’s unique “Butter on the Latch,” a work-in-progress version of which screened at the Maryland Film Festival last May. The work-in-progress version has received acclaim on the festival circuit and was called “an utter exhilaration of cinematic imagination” by The New Yorker and “a sexy, wild romp you have to see to believe” by Indiewire. It was recently named to Film Comment’s “Best Undistributed Films of 2013” list. “Butter on the Latch” follows Sarah (Sarah Small) and Isolde (Isolde Chae-Lawrence), two friends who reunite during their stay at a Balkan music camp in the beautiful woods of Mendocino, California. Their trip, initially a fun bonding experience, takes a southward turn when Sarah becomes interested in handsome fellow camper Steph (Charlie Hewson). Continue reading

THE MONUMENTS MEN IN THE OFFICIAL PROGRAMME OF THE 64TH BERLINALE

The international premiere of George Clooney’s dramatic adventure The Monuments Men will be presented in the official programme of the 64th Berlin International Film Festival.

monuments-men-poster

Over five million cultural assets stolen by the Nazis were returned to their countries of origin in the years following World War II. As the recent discovery in Munich demonstrates, the art theft of that time is as current as ever. The Monuments Men finally gives this little-known subject a worldwide audience,” says Berlinale Director Dieter Kosslick.

Still missing are thousands and thousands of cultural assets and documents worth billions of dollars.The Monuments Men touches on a subject matter that re-surfaced with the discovery of 1,400 works of art in a Munich apartment. The collection of found objects allegedly includes masterpieces by Marc Chagall, Max Liebermann, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Oskar Kokoschka, Edvard Munch, Emil Nolde and Albrecht Dürer.

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A German-American co-production, The Monuments Men is based on a true story and focuses on an unlikely World War II platoon, tasked by the Allies with going into Germany to rescue artistic masterpieces from Nazi thieves and returning them to their rightful owners. It would be an impossible mission: with the art trapped behind enemy lines, and with the German army under orders to destroy everything as the Reich fell, how could these guys – seven museum directors, curators, and art historians, all more familiar with Michelangelo than the M-1 gun – possibly hope to succeed? But as the Monuments Men, as they were called, found themselves in a race against time to avoid the destruction of 1000 years of culture, they would risk their lives to protect and defend mankind’s greatest achievements.

Two-time Academy Award winner George Clooney has been a frequent guest of the Berlinale as a producer, actor and director. The Monuments Men will be his second directorial appearance in the official programme after Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (Berlinale 2003).

Director, screenwriter, producer and actor George Clooney has assembled a high-calibre ensemble for The Monuments Men: Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Bob Balaban, Hugh Bonneville and Cate Blanchett. The screenplay is written by George Clooney and Grant Heslov, who as screenwriters have twice been nominated for an Academy Award. The film is based on the book by Robert M. Edsel with Bret Witter, and is produced by Grant Heslov and George Clooney, who won last year’s Oscar for Best Picture (Argo).

The Monuments Men is a co-production by Obelisk Productions Limited and Studio Babelsberg. Shooting took place at Studio Babelsberg, in the Goslar region and in Berlin, among other locations. 20th Century Fox, who has international rights, will release The Monuments Men in Germany on February 20, 2014. Sony has the US rights and will release the film on February 7.

BERLINALE GENERATION 2014: OUT OF THIS WORLD

With another 17 feature films, Generation’s programme is now complete. A total of 60 short and full-length films from 35 countries have been selected for the Generation Kplus and Generation 14pluscompetitions. They include five long and nine short animated films.

This diversity transcends all limits, in content, imagery, narrative structure and rhythm. Each of these animated gems creates KeyVisual_mit_Rahmen_IMG_367xVARits own universe and is a fantastic cinematic adventure, not just for children,” says section head Maryanne Redpath. Among the live-action films, there is also a wide, contrasting range of craftsmanship and content. Rigorously structured films open up spaces for sensitive and intimate portraits and he multifaceted perspective young people have on their worlds – from punk to dark and melancholic – permeates the films’ microstructures and narrative forms.

Generation 14plus

3 Histoires d’Indiens (3 INDIAN TALES) – Canada
By Robert Morin
Three stories over four seasons. Depicting the life of a new generation of Native Americans who are less resigned and more active than their parents. From the inside out, this fictional feature offers authentic insights into everyday life on a reservation today.
World premiere

ärtico (arctic– Spain
By Gabri Velázquez
What’s the value of family when everything has lost all rhyme or reason? Gabri Velázquez presents the everyday moods and states of mind of Spanish adolescents during the economic crisis. Sparse in dialogue and using static tableaux-like imagery, the entire composition is also deeply influenced by music. World premiere

Feriado (Holiday– Ecuador / Argentina
By Diego Araujo
In a remote region in the Andes, shy Juan Pablo meets self-assured Juano. A fragile romance evolves that transcends all class distinctions. Their tender explorations are set against a corruption scandal that shakes Juan Pablo’s rich banking family to the core. World premiere

Mavi Dalga (The Blue Wave– Turkey / Germany / Netherlands / Greece
By Zeynep Dadak and Merve Kayan
This clique of girls still talks about boys, clothes and the latest music. Yet its carefree days are drawing to a close. A new life is imminent, and this feels both exciting and dangerous. An ensemble film about the end of adolescence and a new beginning.
International premiere

Supernova – Netherlands / Germany / Belgium
By Tamar van den Dop
Where Meis lives, absolutely nothing ever happens. She loses herself in wistful fantasies about love, sex and a world elsewhere. A refreshingly bizarre story that conveys, on all cinematic levels, a sense of immanent change. World premiere

Obietnica (The Word– Poland / Denmark
By Anna Kazejak
After a silly infidelity, Janek is doing everything to try to win back his girlfriend. A highly emotional youth-drama and a suspenseful crime story are intricately and cleverly woven together.
World premiere

Violet – Belgium / Netherlands
By Bas Devos
In a shopping mall, Jesse’s best friend is stabbed to death right before his eyes. To convey his silent despair, the film uses long shots that have an artistic, photographic quality and are embedded in a spherical sound track.
World premiere

What We Do in the Shadows – New Zealand / USA
By Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement
Youth is not a question of age. In their mockumentary, the popular team from the cult TV series Flight of the Conchords and the film Eagle vs. Shark takes a biting look at the life, love and woes in a Wellington flat shared by vampires.
European premiere Continue reading

The Complete Slate for the 64th Berlin International Film Festival Competition Programme is Announced

The Competition of the 64th Berlin International Film Festival is now complete. 20 of the 23 films in the Competition programme will be vying for the Golden Bear and Silver Bears. The following countries are participating: Algeria, Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, People’s Republic of China, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, Uruguay and the USA. The Competition programme includes 18 world premieres and three feature debut.

The following films will complete in the Competition programme:

Bai Ri Yan Huo (Black Coal, Thin Ice
People’s Republic of China
By Yinan Diao (Night TrainUniform)
With Fan Liao, Lun Mei Gwei, Xuebing Wang
World premiere

Boyhood 
USA
By Richard Linklater (Before MidnightMe & Orson Welles)
With Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke, Ellar Coltrane, Lorelei Linklater
International premiere

Chiisai Ouchi (The Little House
Japan
By Yoji Yamada (Tokyo FamilyAbout Her Brother)
With Takako Matsu, Haru Kuroki, Hidetaka Yoshioka, Satoshi Tsumabuki, Chieko Baisho, Takataro Kataoka
International premiere

Historia del miedo (History of Fear
Argentina / Uruguay / Germany / France
By Benjamin Naishtat – Feature debut
With Jonathan Da Rosa, Claudia Cantero, Mirella Pascual, Cesar Bordon, Tatiana Gimenez
World premiere

Jack
Germany
By Edward Berger
With Ivo Pietzcker, Georg Arms, Luise Heyer, Vincent Redetzki, Jacob Matschenz, Nele Mueller-Stöfen
World premiere Continue reading

BERLIN FILM FESTIVAL/BERLINALE 2014 ANNOUNCES INTERNATIONAL JURY

With James Schamus serving as Jury President, the International Jury will decide who will receive the Golden Bear and Silver Bears of the 2014 Berlinale Competition. The other members of the International Jury will be Barbara Broccoli, Trine Dyrholm, Mitra Faharani, Greta Gerwig, Michel Gondry, Tony Leung and Christoph Waltz.

James Schamus, Jury President, USA
In his capacity as a producer, James Schamus has been responsible not only for the Academy Award-winning film Brokeback KeyVisual_mit_Rahmen_IMG_367xVARMountain, but also for numerous other Ang Lee films, including The Wedding Banquet, which won the Berlinale Golden Bear in 1993. James Schamus also wrote the script for the Ang Lee film The Ice Storm and was co-writer of Crouching TigerHidden Dragon and LustCaution by Ang Lee. He is also Professor of Professional Practice in Columbia University’s School of the Arts, where he teaches film history and theory. As one of independent cinema’s most important champions, James Schamus knows the balancing act between Hollywood’s studio system and art-house cinema better than anyone. In 1991, he founded the production company Good Machine in New York, which merged with USA Films in 2002 to become the new company Focus Features. For over a decade, James Schamus led Focus Features, and during that era, was involved in the production and distribution of award-winning and celebrated films such as Far from HeavenEternal Sunshine of the Spotless MindLost in TranslationMilkDallas Buyers Club and Teddy Award winner The Kids Are All Right. Thanks to Focus Features, international successes such as 8 WomenThe Pianist and The Motorcycle Diaries were presented in American cinemas.

Barbara Broccoli, USA
As the daughter of producer Albert R. Broccoli, Barbara Broccoli grew up on film sets and had her first experiences as an assistant director and assistant producer on the films A View to a Kill and Licence to Kill. Following the death of her father, she took over the production of the James Bond films with her brother Michael G. Wilson, starting with GoldenEye through to the most recent instalments Casino RoyaleQuantum of Solace and Sam Mendes’s Academy Award-winning Skyfall. Ms Broccoli also puts her extensive industry knowledge to use beyond the James Bond franchise: she has produced the documentary Stolen Childhoods, the TV drama Crime of the Century and most recently executive produced The Silent Storm with Andrea Riseborough and Damian Lewis. Her theatre credits include “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” (2002 London, 2005 Broadway), “A Steady Rain” (2009 Broadway), “Chariots of Fire” (2012 West End), “Once” (2012 Broadway, 2013 West End) and most recently “Strangers on a Train”, which opened in London’s West End in November 2013. In addition, Ms Broccoli was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 2008.

Trine Dyrholm, Denmark
Far beyond the borders of her native country, Trine Dyrholm has become one of the most successful Danish actors. She’s a regular at the Berlinale: she had roles in the Competition films In Your Handsby Annette K. Olesen, A Soap by Pernille Fischer Christensen, Olesen’s Little Soldier, and most recently in A Royal Affair by Nikolaj Arcel. She can also be seen regularly in German productions, such as in Ulrich Köhler’s Bungalow, which celebrated its premiere in the 2002 Berlinale Panorama, or recently in 3096 Days by Sherry Hormann. Her performance in “4:48 Psychosis”, for which she received the Danish theatrical award Reumert in 2002, led her to the legendary Volksbühne in Berlin. She has won numerous prestigious awards; she is even the only actor ever to have won five Bodil Awards. Trine most recently starred in the films In a Better World and Love Is All You Need by Susanne Bier. Currently, she can be seen in the new Danish Television series The Legacy, whose first episode aired January 1st 2014. Continue reading

MERCILESS WORKING ENVIRONMENTS AND THE ABSURDITIES OF THE CULTURAL ESTABLISHMENT: THE FILMS OF THE 44TH BERLINALE FORUM

The 44th edition of the Berlinale/Berlin Film Festival Forum once again provides an overview of independent, artistic filmmaking with a disregard for convention, screening 28 world and eight international premieres from every single continent.

The films of the 44th Forum:

The Airstrip by Heinz Emigholz, Germany – WP
Al doilea joc (The Second Gameby Corneliu Porumboiu, Romania – WP
Le beau danger by René Frölke, Germany / Italy – WP
Butter on the Latch by Josephine Decker, USA – WP
Casse (Scrap Yardby Nadège Trebal, France – IP
Castanha by Davi Pretto, Brasil – WP
Cheol-ae-kum (A Dream of Ironby Kelvin Kyung Kun Park, Republic of Korea / USA – WP
Chilla (40 Days of Silence) by Saodat Ismailova, Uzbekistan / Tajikistan / Netherlands / Germany / France – WP
The Darkside by Warwick Thornton, Australia – IP
L’enlèvement de Michel Houellebecq (The Kidnapping of Michel Houellebecqby Guillaume Nicloux, France – WP
Forma by Ayumi Sakamoto, Japan – IP
Free Range – Ballaad maailma heakskiitmisest (Free Rangeby Veiko Õunpuu, Estonia – IP
Das große Museum (The Great Museumby Johannes Holzhausen, Austria – WP
The Guests by Ken Jacobs, USA – WP
Gui ri zi (Shadow Daysby Zhao Dayong, China / Hong Kong – WP
Huba (Parasiteby Anka Sasnal, Wilhelm Sasnal, Poland / United Kingdom – WP
Ich will mich nicht künstlich aufregen (Asta Upsetby Max Linz, Germany – WP
Iranien (Iranianby Mehran Tamadon, France / Switzerland – WP
Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter by David Zellner, USA – IP
Kumun tadı (Seaburnersby Melisa Önel, Turkey – WP
Lajwanti (The Honour Keeperby Pushpendra Singh, India – WP
Los Ángeles by Damian John Harper, Germany/Mexico – WP
La marche à suivre (Guidelinesby Jean-François Caissy, Canada – WP
N – The Madness of Reason by Peter Krüger, Belgium / Germany / Netherlands – WP
Nagima by Zhanna Issabayeva, Kazakhstan
Non-fiction Diary by Jung Yoon-suk, Republic of Korea – IP
Pădurea e ca muntele, vezi? (The Forest is Like the Mountainsby Christiane Schmidt, Didier Guillian, Romania / KeyVisual_mit_Rahmen_IMG_367xVARGermany – WP
Que ta joie demeure (Joy of Man’s Desiringby Denis Côté, Canada – WP
Shemtkhveviti paemnebi (Blind Datesby Levan Koguashvili, Georgia
She’s Lost Control by Anja Marquardt, USA – WP
Ship bun (10 Minutesby Lee Yong-seung, Republic of Korea – IP
Souvenir by André Siegers, Germany – WP
Sto spiti (At Homeby Athanasios Karanikolas, Greece / Germany – WP
Thou Wast Mild and Lovely by Josephine Decker, USA – WP
To Singapore, With Love by Tan Pin Pin, Singapore
Töchter (Daughtersby Maria Speth, Germany – WP
Top Girl oder la déformation professionnelle (Top Girl or la déformation professionnelleby Tatjana Turanskyj, Germany – WP
Und in der Mitte, da sind wir (And There We are, in the Middleby Sebastian Brameshuber, Austria – WP
Zamatoví teroristi (Velvet Terroristsby Ivan Ostrochovský, Pavol Pekarčík, Peter Kerekes, Slovak Republic / Czech Republic / Croatia – IP

(WP = World premiere, IP = International premiere)

Actress Josephine Decker pulls off a highly original twin pack in this year’s programme: her directorial debut Butter on the Latch about the uncanny experiences of two friends in a Californian forest screens alongside her second feature Thou Wast Mild and Lovely, a dark love story set on a farm in rural Kentucky that ends in catastrophe.

The German production Los Ángeles by Damian John Harper is set in a village in Mexico. This powerful debut tells the story of a young man who dreams of a better life in Los Angeles. Yet his goal recedes further and further into the distance after he runs into trouble with the local gangsters whose support he was counting on, deciding instead to revolt against the system of violence everyone else takes for granted. Continue reading