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Queer Film: The Wetter The Better? Radio Sweden

Is water really more popular in queer film? This is a still from "FLOAT", a short underwater film with trans folks swimming naked set to music by Rae Spoon. Photo: Donut Films.

The Cinema Queer International Film Festival, now in its fifth year, prides itself on finding unusual venues to screen films. Radio Sweden finds out what the organizers have got up their sleeves this year, and also the one ingredient that as a director of certain queer films, you might not be able to resist featuring in your movies.

When you run a film festival, naturally you watch a lot of movies, and sometimes you start to notice certain patterns about them.

"We've been joking about this for a long time, because there's always a lot of water, especially in lesbian films," says Melissa Lindgren, co-founder of the festival, sitting in her colorful office, surrounded by movie posters, just a few days before the festival opens. She and Oscar Eriksson founded the festival together, and on this particular morning, they're also joined by one of the participants this year, Tine Alavi, who is a regular.

"I love all queer festivals, but I think Cinema Queer is more selective, which I like," says Alavi.

Alavi runs a project producing a series of short films for LGBTQ youth of color. The project is called Blatte Queer, and this year, Alavi will be taking part in a film activist workshop.

Besides workshops, parties and discussions, the festival will of course be screening films - about 30 of them, mostly made outside of Sweden.

Lindgren says this festival is the only chance for people here to see a lot of these films. This theme of this year's festival is revolution, and the movie that will open the festival is called "Screaming Queens, the riots at Compton's Cafeteria."

"It's about the first militant act that the LGBT community in San Francisco - or in the U.S. at large, did against the police violence that they were facing," Lindgren says. "This is pre-Stonewall, which is otherwise considered to be the start of the LGBTQ movement in the U.S."

A lot of the movies screening are from the States, but there are also movies from South Africa, Burma, and Argentina, to name a few. Titles include "11 Life Lessons from an Awesome Old Dyke", "Girl Gets Girl", "Pop-Up Porno: M4M", and "Appropriate Behavior."

Besides hunting out just the right films, Lindgren and Ericsson also look for unusual venues to screen them, because they feel it's important that all kinds of spaces be open for cinema like this. For example, this year, people will be able to watch the short film "FLOAT" on a rooftop, and last year, the festival even screened a movie in an old bathhouse, which didn't turn out quite as planned, because the organizers had thought the water in the pool would be warm and had written that in all the festival materials.

"People were shivering, but they stayed til the end of the film," Lindgren laughs.

And back to water... Tine Alavi laughs about how water seems to turn up almost invariably in every lesbian film.

"I love water in all queer films," Alavi says. "It's amazing. You can just always find water, like a lesbian showering, crying, brushing her teeth, swimming... yeah, making out in water is a really popular thing as well."

Oscar Eriksson says that next year's festival theme will be water. "This is the first time we're saying this to anyone," he adds.

You heard it here first. The Cinema Queer International Film Festival starts on Thursday, the 24th of September, and runs through Sunday, the 27th.

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