Everyone heard about Israel’s one and only LGBTQ film festival – TLVFest. By now to keep the audience close throughout the year, the organizers created a special spin-off: TLVFest Movie Club, a monthly screening taking place in the city’s established film theater, The Cinemateque.
Meet Israeli film director and scriptwriter Yair Hochner, the man who decided to boost the creative buzz in Israel, bringing home the most exciting films which are dealing with LGBTQ issues.
It’s quite impressive that a one-a-year festival can extend into all-year-around chain of events. You must be courageous to go with a decision like this.
There was no question about it that the demand was big enough to extend the festival: in 2013 we had over 10,000 people in our auditoriums, We’ve screened over than 250 movies – including shorts and features – and we had twenty-something artists visiting us from all over the world.
You have been very successful in driving the Israeli crowd’s attention on international gay-themed movies. How about bringing Israeli movies abroad?
That is exactly our current mission. We created programs abroad of Israeli LGBT films in such cities like: Oslo, Berlin, Sao Paulo, Montevideo, Athens and many more. Also, TLVFest decided to distribute local movies all around the world. Our first title is “Gay in a Day”, which premiered at our festival in 2012. We’ve asked members of the LGBTQ community to document themselves for one full day, and the materials make up a rich movie-mosaic, showcasing the different meanings of being lesbian, gay, trans or bi.
It’s been several years since you started your mission: connecting cinematography and homosexuality. How is it looking back now at the first baby steps?
It’s crazy to think about it that the first festival took place at Tel Aviv’s legendary CD and DVD store, the Third Ear. We’ve been showing our movies in tiny theaters of about 30 seats each. By next year the breakthrough was on its way: we moved our programs to the Cinematheque, and only openly gay friendly cinema institution in Israel, and the rest is history.