The Cannes Film Festival kicks off today in the south of France, with dozens of films competing for dozens of prestigious prizes, the Palme d'Or clearly the queen among them. But for the past five years, that prize has had a queer little sister in the Queer Palm -- and despite our earlier suggestion there wouldn't be much in the way of options competing for it, it turns out there's a lucky 13.
Franck Finance-Madureira helped create the prize back in 2010, which has since seen the likes of Gregg Araki's "Kaboom," Xavier Dolan's "Laurence Anyways" and -- last year -- Alain Guiraudie's "Stranger By The Lake" take top honours. The prize was inspired by Berlin's Teddy Award, and Finance-Madureira said he wanted it to help push LGBT issues to the front of the festival.
"We are super excited about the various French films selected, such as the new Céline Sciamma, Girlhood, and Bonello's feature about Saint Laurent," he said. "We also can’t wait to see the new Xavier Dolan, "Mommy." We also expect many great things from "Xenia," the new feature from Panos Koutras: it will be super interesting to see how a Greek director deals with queer issues in the context of the economic and political crisis. We are also delighted to have, for the first time, an Italian feature - "Darker Than Midnight."
The Queer Palm will hold many related events throughout the festival, including a pop up nightclub called La Dame de Coeur. In addition they will host queer parties in a select locations each night. They are also organizing a meet-up of queer film professionals on May 21st (registration and information: firstname.lastname@example.org).
In general, the Queer Palm has been particularly instrumental in the development of queer film networks," Finance-Madureira added. "Past winners have benefited from the publicity associated with the prize. We are constantly promoting our films, both in LGBT and in non-LGBT networks. We are also strongly connected with various film festivals throughout the world. We notably encourage them to include our winners in their selection. Ultimately, we strive to foster the diffusion and distribution of (good) queer films and to increase cooperations between film professionals."
While queer films have been screened at Cannes for quite a while, Finance-Madureira thinks the Queer Palm brings a new outlook on LGBT cinema by helping create these professional networks.
"Because of its politics and content, queer cinema is a challenging environment and we are looking to participate in the building of a serene and sustainable circuit and film industry for queer features," he said. " And we are really excited about the 2014 edition, and are looking forward to fostering new queer film networks."
Here's the 13 films that will be a part of that:
Saint Laurent - Bertrand Bonello (France)
Whiplash - Damien Chazelle (USA)
UN CERTAIN REGARD
Xenia - Panos Koutras (Greece)
Respire - Mélanie Laurent (France)
When Animals Dream - Jonas Alexander Arnby (Denmark)