Films ahoy! Queer film festivals in Berlin

"Can you live without films? Never!" This is Lena Braun’s motto. The screenwriter and director loves queer cinema. Here, she introduces the Berlin film festivals that specialise in gay, lesbian, and queer films.

A highlight of the Berlinale 2023: The film "Tár" by Todd Field.

Teddy Award

The Berlinale is under a queer star this year. Starting with the nomination of Kristen Stewart as jury president. The successful 32-year-old US actress was one of the first of her generation to come out loud and casual as a lesbian. One of the most anticipated films of the 73rd Berlin International Film Festival is "Tár" (Berlinale Special) by American director Todd Field: in it, Cate Blanchett plays the star conductor Lydia Tár, who is entrusted with the direction of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and plans a recording of Gustav Mahler's Fifth Symphony with the orchestra.

This year's Berlinale programme also seems to fulfil the aspirations of the Teddy Award. The goal of the award: gay, lesbian and queer films should receive more professional attention. The Teddy has been part of the Berlinale since 1987 and is awarded in the categories short film, documentary and feature film. In fact, the concept worked right from the start. For the first prize winner was the Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar for his film "Law of Desire", in which a then still largely unknown Antonio Banderas starred. In the same year, director Gus Van Sant was also awarded for his short films. Both directors subsequently became world stars. The Teddy bears are cuddly bronze bears on Berlin cobblestones and were designed by the gay comic artist Ralf König. Every year, their presentation is a glamorous highlight in Berlin's cultural calendar.

Teddy Award
As part of the Berlinale
16 to 26 February 2023
Berlinale's Website
Teddy Award's Website

Home of the Queer Porn Film Festival Berlin: the Moviemento cinema

Pornfilmfestival Berlin

Not only sex, but also politics, feminism, and gender issues are some of the topics tackled by the queer "Pornfilmfestival Berlin". It is the only festival of its kind in Germany and presents approximately 100 films from all over the world every year. Panel discussions, lectures, readings, workshops, performances, and exhibitions complement the film programme. It was founded in 2006 by filmmaker and producer, Jürgen Brüning, to reinterpret the genre of pornography, which can be deadly dull in artistic, social, and philosophical discourse. The porn film festival is undoubtedly female-feminist and artistic-alternative and it showcases the genre at its best. Also, about half of the audience is female - and that's saying something! The festival is organised by a dedicated team of four and takes place in Germany's oldest cinema, the Moviemento in Berlin-Kreuzberg.

Pornfilmfestival Berlin
Kottbusser Damm 22, 10967 Berlin-Kreuzberg
Queer Porn Film Festival Berlin' Website

Provocative: The short film "Dog Lover" is about fast dates, BDSM and an unexpected discussion about racism.

XPOSED Queer Film Festival

If you can never quite decide between current films or queer classics, you should take a closer look at the programme of the XPOSED Queer Film Festival, because it combines both - and thus offers the chance to highlight developments of queer life on the big screen. It was founded in 2006 by actor and producer, Bartholomew Sammut. Then, as now, you can sense the passionate fun the festival team has when they track down queer stories from all over the world and select the most memorable ones for us. The result is an entertaining, quirky programme, politically left-of-centre. Many of the works shown break with familiar perceptions and demonstrate that life could have worked out quite differently!

XPOSED Queer Film Festival
In various cinemas in Berlin
Next edition: spring 2023
XPOSED Queer Film Festival's Website

Scene from the film "Girls Girls Girls", one of the highlights of the "Queerfilmfestival".


Great queer films are always screened at major film festivals. The "Queerfilmfestival" team has set itself the task of selecting the best films and presenting them. In 2022 it will take place for the fourth time and show the majority of the films as German premieres. This year it will be opened by the movie "Peter von Kant". François Ozon's film is based on "Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant", a classic by Rainer Werner Fassbinder from 1972. In addition, the festival presents numerous other films, such as "Shall I Compare You to a Summer's Day?" by Mohammad Shawky Hassan and "Sublime" by Mariano Biasin from Argentina. If you're in the mood for the best queer films of the year, don't miss the "Queerfilmfestival"!

Expected in late summer 2023
Website of Queerfilmfestival

Further information

Fancy some art and culture in Berlin? Multimedia artist, Sanni Est, introduces you to her favourite galleries and museums in this video!

Are you planning to go to a film festival in Berlin? You’d better book your accommodation in time! We have compiled recommendations for queer hotels here.

Subscribe to Place2be.Berlin's Instagram channel for the latest info and impressions from Berlin!

The Place2be.Berlin city map shows you interesting queer locations all over Berlin.

You can find a complete overview of all events for every single da on the event pages of SIEGESSÄULE, Berlin's famous queer city magazine.

Words: Lena Braun

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