Get Ready for TLV Fest! – Israel’s LGBTQ movie bash is about to rock your world once again

TLVFest Women Week, a celebration if ladies on screeen just ended at the Cinemateque of Tel Aviv, and I was lucky enough to see the movie Tangerine – a painfully realistic yet so very funny film about the transgender prostitutes of LA. 


If you’ve missed the fun, don’t be sad – from May 29. to June 7 the International LGBTQ movie festival will return for a fresh new season. As a little reminder how cool this event is, I’ll share with you some of my most inspiring moments from last year – when I was interviewing the international guests of the festival for the TLVFest YouTube channel. Meet the wonderfully talented artists who were hosted by Yair Hochner, founder and festival director.

Angela Robinson

In 1995, Angela Robinson directed the lesbian vampire short movie Chickula: Teenage Vampire, giving us a hint of what was to arrive in 2012 – becoming one of the producers/writers and directors behind the hit HBO series True Blood. In 2005 she was the first out lesbian and first African American director who directed a film for Disney – “Herbie Fully Loaded” starring Lindsay Lohan and Michael Keaton. Among other things, she produced more than twenty episodes and directed nine episodes of the most successful lesbian series of all time The L Word.

Although she was based in Hollywood, Robinson had not relinquished her independent beginnings and created the successful internet series Girltrash!. Last year’s festival screened the cult film D.E.B.S. that just celebrated a decade, last year. It mixes the youth film genre like Clueless with the world of espionage and James Bond movies. Today Robinson continues to break stereotypes as Consulting Producer in the successful series How to Get Away with Murder.

Luizo Vega

15-year old Catholic girl from Michigan  accidentally became pregnant. To avoid having an abortion, she secretly moved into a hospital run by nuns. The baby was given up for adoption far from his biological mother, in Argentina, where he was raised under a new identity.

At 18, he discovers that his biological mother is Madonna Ciccone, who had meanwhile become an international pop culture icon.

Material Boy is the story of the private world of Luizo Vega, a performance artist, actor and model, who roams the globe, never settling in one place for long. Luizo Vega has created a disturbing, comic, and challenging documentary that raises serious doubts about reality and falsehood.

Jay Bedwani

Jay Bedwani is an award winning documentary filmmaker from Wales, the director of the film My Mother – in wich Gustavo reminisces about his childhood and his relationship with his mother, the inspiration behind his weekend trips to San Francisco, where he lives and performs as his alter ego, Donna.

He is currently shooting his third, in his hometown of Cardiff. In “The Jury is proud to present” he presented his film: “My Mother”

Matthew Hammett Knott

Matthew Hammett Knott is a director and writer, known for On This Island, Bonobo, and Ouroboros. At the TLV Fest he presented Bobobo in which Judith is a lonely, middle-aged, middle class widow, struggling to come to terms with the fact that her daughter Lily appears to have thrown away a bright future by dropping out of law school to join a bohemian commune. The commune, led by the enigmatic Anita, aspires to a way of life that mirrors the behavior of the Bonobo ape, an animal whose social structure centers around recreational sex. In order to talk some sense into her, Judith follows Lily to the commune to take her home.

Anita agrees to resolve the conflict between mother and daughter, provided Judith spends time with the group and gives their way of life a chance. “Bonobo” is a charming comedy about a woman in her sixties about to reveal to herself things that she never tried to deal with. Funny, sexy, effortless and without stereotypes this film emerges as a work celebrating the human body, sexuality and femininity. The kind of film that leaves you with big smile at the end.

Ronni Sanlo

This film is an exciting and inspiring documentary. The popular singer and model Anita Bryant launched in the late 1970s with her husband a campaign that was against the LGBT community. This was a similar smear campaign mentioned in the film “Milk.” Ronni Sanlo, a married woman with two children decides to leave her husband and come out.

As a result of the campaign of Anita, she loses custody of her children but fights back which leads her to become social activist and lawyer. The film is based on the letter written by Ronnie Sanlo to Anita Bryant, read throughout the film by the Emmy awarded actress, Meredith Baxter.

Alex Kondracke

Alex Kondracke is a photo and film based artist. She studied at Dartmouth College and NYU Graduate Film school. Her short film, Ice Fishing won a jury prize at The Sundance Film Festival. After graduating, Alex worked as a cinematographer for documentaries and tv shows on the BBC, Bravo, VH-1, TLC, Discovery, A&E and the National Geographic Channel. Alex began writing and producing Showtime’s The L Word and later, HBO’s Hung.

Alex is also the director of the musical feature Girltrash: All Night Long. In addition to her film work, Alex has been working as a fine art photographer, based in Los Angeles. Alex’s photographs have been exhibited in group shows and publications across the country and have garnered numerous awards.

Michael Stütz

Born and raised in Linz, Austria, Michael studied Film and Theater at the Universities of Vienna and Berlin, where he is based since 2005. Since 2006, Michael is associated closely with the Panorama of the Berlinale, where he works as a program coordinator and head of the office.

He is also the coordinator for the TEDDY Award and is also part of the advisory selection board of the section.Since 2011 he serves as the Co-Director of the Xposed International Queer Film Festival Berlin.

Ursula Raberger

Ursula Raberger was born in 1981 in Linz. In her studies at the University of Vienna she focused on Theatre, Film and Media. Specialized in queer filmmaking. She co-founder the Kibbutz Klub parties in Vienna promoting Israeli music and culture.

Her book, “The Israeli Queer Cinema”, was published this year – it’s the first book in German language covering the history of LGBT cinema in Israel.

Maya Jafer

A Holistic Doctor, Actor, Dancer & Transgender Activist. She was born & raised in a very strict, orthodox, religious, traditional Muslim family in Madurai, Tamilnadu, India. Her family has completely disowned her, due to her Gender Transition from male to a complete woman.

She interviewed in several television programs, documentary films including a film about her life, “Muhammad to-Maya” and participated as an actress in the Golden Globe winner – “Transparent”

Sebastian Beyer & Katja Briesemeister

Since 2008, Sebastian Beyer has been programmer and publicist for the Hamburg International Queer Film Festival, Germany’s biggest and longest-running, completely volunteer organised LGBT film festival. Besides this he studied social work in Germany and Brazil and works as a sex educator, loves to DJ and hosts an infamous queer Karaoke- Party in Hamburg.

Katja holds an MA in Sociology from the University of Hamburg. She also completed a postgraduate programme in Visual Communication with focus on film at the University of Fine Arts in Hamburg where she still lives and works. Since 2009, she’s a board member and programmer of Lesbisch Schwule Filmtage Hamburg International Queer Film Festival.

Sherry Vine & Gloria Viagra

Sherry Vine is an American actor, drag queen, and musician. Vine is the creator and host of She’s Living for This, a variety series on here TV. Vine works primarily in New York City and Fire Island, but has also performed across the United States and Europe. Sherry Vine is known for her parodies of popular songs.

Goria is the most famous drag queen of Berlin. She is DJ, singer, Showgirl, Band-Leader, host and also know as an activist for queer rights, refugees, against Nazis and many more. Since many years she is part of the Teddy-Award family, the most important queer Award at the Berlin Film Festival. In 2009, she organized the Berlin solidarity march to show sympathy with Israel’s LGBT community after the murder in the Bar-Noar.

Saskia De Keyser & Nicolas Gilson

With two university degrees, one in Germanic and Roman languages – literature and linguistics –  and a translation degree, Saskia’s main activity consists of translating, subtitling movies and “surtitling” opera and theatre. She always has been fascinated by cinema and arts and started first subtitling and translating for Pink Screens Festival, Brussels, Belgium. Attracted by diversity in all its forms, she started programming for the festival three years ago.

With a university degree in Performing Arts geared towards writing and critical analysis, Nicolas Gilson has been working for more than seven years as an independent movie critic. In 2010 he joined the team in charge of organizing and scheduling the Brussels Queer Film Festival (Pink Screens) before becoming part of the Scheduling Committee of the International Francophone Film Festival of Namur.

tlvfest_for_yair-976x540Stay in touch with the latest news about TLVFest on the festival’s FB page, and luv the blog on the social platforms: Instagram as @whitecityboy, FB, and my personal FB page

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