Slovak Queer Film Festival is the sole cinematic event in Slovakia dedicated to the films focusing on the stories and issues of the LGBTQ communities. It aims to reach wide audience – not only to be a festival about LGBTQ people for LGBTQ people but also to speak to the non-LGBT audiences. Simply, to transcend sexual identities and orientations and to create a space for learning, understanding, and acceptance.
The very first edition of “Gay Film Fest” took place in Tajov, a small village in Central Slovakia, in 1995. It was, as well as its 1996 edition, a rather closed event consisting of seminars, lectures, and screenings focusing on the history of the image of gays and lesbians in films. After a two-year-break, the festival moved to Bratislava and grew a little. At that time, beloved Film Club 901 of the Faculty of Pedagogics of Comenius University became its main venue.
Gradually, it has gained new partners in schools, especially the Academy of the Performing Arts, foreign cultural institutes and embassies. The 5th edition in 2001 that took place in Bratislava and Banská Bystrica, was followed by a five-year hiatus.
Slovak Queer Film Festival, already under its current name, rebooted in 2007. First as a mirror festival of the Czech LGBTQ film festival “Mezipatra” (= mezzanine; a space in between). Nonetheless, the reboot worked out well. In 2009 the festival gained its independence in programming and ever since it takes place every year in Bratislava and eventually in other cities in Slovakia.
Slovak Queer Film Festival does not hold a separate competition section, yet all the films in the program (except for those in the Queer Classics section) vie for the Audience Award Pink Balloon.
The festival is organized as a non-profit event financed and/or supported by the combined public (eg. Audiovisual Fund, City of Bratislava – fund Ars Bratislavensis, private sponsors and partners, limited own resources) and since 2007 it has been organized by a non-profit organization Iniciatíva Inakosť. Iniciatíva Inakosť is an umbrella civil association interconnecting individuals and organizations aiming to improve the quality of life of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, intersexuals and transgender people so they could be equal members of their families, work or school collectives, local communities, churches and thus equal citizens of Slovakia.
For the 3rd consecutive year, in 2019, Slovak Queer Film Festival presents a special section dedicated to the cinemas of Far East Queer Asia. The section is curated by Kristina Aschenbrennerova, programme consultant for the East and South-east Asian territories. Each screening opens an introduction providing a socio-cultural context to the film, as well as the background of the director.
The 13th edition of the Slovak Queer Film Festival will be taking place 16 – 21 October 2019 in Bratislava, following by screenings of selected films in other cities of Slovakia.