35 years after the first gay kiss was shown on German screens in “Lindenstraße”, queerness on local television, especially on public television, is still not that far off. Here a non-heterosexual victim in the “crime scene”, there a young series that focuses on diversity and was produced for the media library: LGBTQIA topics are still the exception today, never the rule.
This has only changed for a few weeks in the summer for five years. Because that’s how long the wonderful series rbb Queer has been around.
For a month and a half, starting July 2nd, every Saturday evening from 11:30 p.m., highlights of international queer cinema in recent years will be shown, including many films that have never been shown on German television before. Björn Koll describes rbb Queer, the managing director of the Berlin film distributor Salzgeber, as a series of programs that is unique worldwide, and who taxes a large part of the works shown from the start: “Television and cultural history is being written here!”
When asked what was the decisive factor in bringing the series (mostly also available in the media library) into being five years ago, the answer is relatively simple: it was simply about time.
“In the beginning there was the consideration that there was still room for improvement in the area of queer fictional content on rbb television purely quantitatively – especially in our broadcasting area with Berlin as one of the queer strongholds in Germany,” says Till Burandt von Kameke, the responsible on the part of the rbb film editors. “The idea of a queer film series in the summer, based on Pride Month, was born and immediately fell on open ears in the house.”
The fact that the films only run very late on Saturdays is not because the broadcaster is afraid of its own courage and would rather hide queer topics. It is simply due to the fact that feature films in the ARD broadcasters have long been ranked below those shown.
“Our program schedule allows for two late slots per week for feature films, on Thursday and Saturday evenings, after 11 p.m.,” says Burandt von Kameke. “But that later airtime doesn’t necessarily have to be a disadvantage, especially in the summer, as the show’s acceptance over the past four years has shown.”
This year, rbb Queer is starting with a real bang. “Futur Drei”, the autobiographically inspired directorial debut of the Cologne-born filmmaker Faraz Shariat and his production company Jünglinge Film, which sees itself as a collective, is a small masterpiece that local cinema does not often produce.
Parvis (Benjamin Radjaipour), son of an Iranian immigrant couple, leads a very typical millennial life, between children’s rooms in a middle-class family home, boring provincial parties and anonymous sex dates. However, the inexperienced self-evidence of this existence begins to falter when he is sentenced to community service in a shelter for refugees, where he meets and falls in love with the Iranian siblings Banafshe (Banafshe Hourmazdi) and Amon (Eidin Jalali).
Thematically and visually, “Futur Drei”, which is being broadcast for the first time in Germany more than two years after the world premiere, is a real exception in German cinema – and hopefully also a turning point. So queer and so diverse, so cool and truthful, so style-conscious and emotional, fresh and with an affinity for pop, you can talk about it in this country, if you want.
No wonder Shariat won the Teddy Award at the Berlinale and the First Steps Award for this, among other things, and has long been working internationally. In July, for example, the British series “The Baby” will start on Sky, for which he is one of several directors.
Other highlights of this year’s program, which is impressive due to its variety, include the haunting military service drama “Moffie” by the South African Oliver Hermanus, the charming teenage self-discovery story “Princess Cyd” by Stephen Cone or the Danish tragic comedy “A Totally Normal Family”, the wonderfully told about eleven-year-old Emma, whose father one day comes out as trans and wants to live as a woman.
But there is also a classic coming-out story, this time set in the orthodox Jewish milieu of 1980s New York, thanks to Eric Steele’s “Minyan”.
What is particularly pleasing about this year’s rbb Queer edition: the idea caught on. Ironically, the Bavarian Broadcasting Corporation, where they really have no creditable history in dealing with queer films (and works like Praunheim’s “Not the homosexual is perverse, but the situation in which he lives” or “The Consequence” by Wolfgang Petersen were not initially broadcast were), under the name BR Queer, also shows six decidedly non-heterosexual films throughout July.
“Word of the response to the film series has also got around within ARD,” reports Burandt von Kameke, referring to the program in southern Germany, where some of the same films are shown (in addition to “A Totally Normal Family” also the Dutch summer film “Zomer – Nothing like out”. ) – but also, for example, Xavier Dolan’s great “Don’t Say Who You Are” or the modern lesbian classic “Kiss Me” from Sweden.
“Our colleagues at BR signaled to us early on before this year’s edition that they would like to be part of it this year.” Do other third-party programs want to join ARD in the future and do their bit for queer cinema? He adds that this cannot be ruled out for the future.