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Side by Side LGBT International Film Festival receives prize from the Teddy Award Foundation at this years 60th Berlin International Film Festival.

Side by Side LGBT International Film Festival receives prize from the Teddy Award Foundation at this years 60th Berlin International Film Festival.   

The Teddy Award Foundation has awarded Russia’s first annual Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) film festival Side by Side a monetary prize of 2000 Euros. The prize was awarded on the opening evening of the 24th Teddy Award by Klaus Mabel Aschenneller director of the Teddy Award Foundation in recognition of Side by Side’s valuable work fighting for LGBT rights in Russia.

 “It is a great honour to receive such a prize from the Teddy Award,” said festival founder Manny de Guerre who picked up the prize in Berlin. “The money will be put towards developing the Side by Side Film Festival in Saint Petersburg and in regions across the Russian Federation. We remain committed and will continue to bring LGBT films to the Russian audience, initiating issues and rights concerning sexual minorities. This is highly important as LGBT issues remain a taboo and the media continues to shy away from any serious discussion.”

The Teddy Award, since its beginning in 1987 by German filmmakers Wieland Speck and Manfred Salzgeber, places heavy emphasis on its socio-political role, serving as an important means through which LGBT people can gain voice, expression and representation of their lives. The success of the Teddy Award, which is (and continues to be so) a formidable force in the LGBT emancipation movement (not only at home, but abroad) is evident. In Germany today homosexual and transgendered people are accepted members of society, living open lives, enjoying rights and the protection of the law. MEIN NAME IST MENSCH or MY NAME IS HUMAN BEING, the slogan for this year’s Teddy Award, is especially apt for those countries, Russia among them, where hate towards sexual minority groups is openly expressed and even encouraged.

Already it is the fifth day of the Berlinale and Side by Side organizer Gulya Sultanova has the difficult task, along with seven other LGBT film festival organizers to chose the films worthy of the 24th Teddy Award for feature, documentary and short. She commented: “It is an honourable and responsible task to judge the films that are shown at the Berlinale. This year there are 26 films alone in the Teddy Award competition among them a Russian film “Jolly Fellows”, which opened the “Panorama” section at the Berlinale. I am really enjoying being here and discussing the films with other festival organizers from around the world.” On Friday, 19th February 2010 the winners will be announced.



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