In this interview João Ferreira talks about the importance of queer film festivals and their relevance for society.
João is a Lisbon based Artistic Director and Programmer of Queer Lisboa – International Queer Film Festival. He was an actor in the Sensurround Theatre Troupe, directed by Lúcia Sigalho; and an actor, playwright, and director in Projecto Solilóquio. He is currently staging and acting in Heiner Müller’s Hamletmachine. He is the award-winning author of two plays, as well as having published several articles and participated in lectures and debates, on Queer, Film, and Performance Studies, in Portugal, Spain, Italy, Germany, and Brazil.
Since its very beginning in 1997, Queer Lisboa has had a critical approach to so-called “LGBT Cinema” and “Queer Cinema”, often programing films that are generally perceived as “non-queer” or simply as “arthouse”. This had led the festival to question what is Queer Cinema, and what are its narrative and aesthetic boundaries, be it from the creators’ point of view, or from the spectators’ point of view. We believe that this ongoing quest has enriched our program, and has raised important cultural, social, and political debates among our audience, and in the end has contributed to a richer approach to Queer Cinema as a genre we perceive as always assimilating, volatile, and countercultural, way beyond any closed identity politics. In this presentation we aim to discuss how queer film and queer film festivals are a mirror of our society, and how a festival should handle ever-shifting identity, gender, and sexuality categorizations, so as broader political issues which are more and more a structural element in Queer Culture; how we should, on the one hand, embrace and celebrate queer heritage, and on the other have the freedom to build new concepts and break old barriers; how the real problem with this concept of Queer Cinema is having too much material to choose from and to work upon; and ultimately discuss the importance of desire as a motor of Queer Culture and its role in the creation and in curating film.
Queer Lisboa Artistic Director