Blogging Berlin :: Let the Screenings Begin!

by James Nadeau
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Sunday Feb 9, 2014

(Editor's note: James Nadeau is the Executive Director of the Boston LGBT Film Festival. He is currently in Berlin attending the 64th Annual Berlin International Film Festival (also known as the Berlinale) and will be blogging from it over the next week on the films he sees and the events he attends.)

The downside

Oh boy! Day 1 at the Berlinale is over. I was unfortunately delayed in Paris thanks to Air France. It made me miss my first film Something Must Break, which I heard was wonderful (weird but wonderful). I’ll have to make sure I get a copy from the distributor, as it was the films only screening here. For more on this film, read this interview with director Ester Martin Bergsmark. A little bit of the downside to this fest. If you miss something sometimes it is gone! I’m just lucky to be friends with the person who is selling the film.

Sidebar: the highlight of the flight from Paris to Berlin was the presence of John Goodman on my flight. He is in Berlin for Monument Men I believe. He was lucky enough to be met at the plane by a car. I had to take a slightly less glamourous taxi. Oh well.

A very peculiar film

After checking in at the festival and getting my badge I made it to The Samurai (Der Samurai), a very peculiar film. Beautifully shot, but a very strange film. Not sure what to make of it or where it would go in the Boston program. Read about ’The Samurai’ at the film’s Wordpress page.

Back to business: I then had a great meeting with another distributor and booked several films for this year. I’ve yet to watch them all but am hoping one of them can be our opening night film! That is my goal this week: find a film that will open the 30th annual festival! It’s out there somewhere. I know it!

Ira Sach’s latest

I managed to get into the premiere screening of Ira Sachs’ new film Love Is Strange with John Lithgow present at the screening. I wont say much about the film. It was a hit at Sundance and was bought by Sony Classics so I don’t think we’ll be able to get it for the festival alas. But it was good. Very well done - no surprise as Ira makes lovely films. (For more on "Love Is Strange," visit the film’s website.)

Following the film I piled into a cab with Scott Ferguson, from Inside Out: the Toronto LGBT Film Festival, Charlie Boudreau and Katharine Setzer, of Image&Nation: the Montreal Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, and Shane Engstrom, from the CT Gay and Lesbian Film Festival and headed to Schwuz and the Teddy Award opening party. This is the opening night event for the gay award. Party was jammed and we all stayed out a wee bit late. I woke up this morning with just enough time to make a meeting with a German distributor. Whew. I am getting too old for 5AM nights out. But I’m are only in Berlin once a year, right? I have to make the most of it!

Another day, more films

Another day and more films! So, day two at the Berlinale. Not a lot on the agenda but a couple of films and the Canadian party. I caught the film Lilting (read about it here) and so far it was one of the best films I’ve seen. Directed by Hong Khaou, it tells the story of a mother trying to come to terms with the death of her son. It was a really quiet and powerful film and I’m hoping to bring it to Boston.

I then saw Honeymoon (Libanky). I wasn’t sure about this film. Reviews haven’t been kind but Michael Gamila, from the Rochester Gay and Lesbian Film Fest, screened it last year and recommended seeing it. I’m really glad I did. First of all, it was beautiful to watch on the big screen. The cinematography by Martin Strba is really lovely and in contrast with the complicated narrative adds to the tension. You are watching something beautiful and disturbing at the same time. I loved the film and it is on my list to try and bring to Boston. (visit the film’s Facebook page for more information.


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