Montreal’s radical queer festival Pervers/Cité wants to pump the politics back into Pride. A response to the perceived corporatization of queer party Divers/Cité, the fourth annual Pervers/Cité runs until August 15.
On Tues, Aug 10, the festival gets a little trans-Atlantic love from Entzaubert, Berlin’s radical queer film fest. For one night only, Entzaubert will show films curated by Berlin-based artist Mascha and presented by Montreal artist Coral Short.
Xtra spoke to Mascha about grassroots politics and art, and the connection between Montreal and Berlin queers.
XTRA: Tell me about Entzaubert in Berlin.
MASCHA: Entzaubert is a radical queer film festival that happened for the fourth time this year in Berlin. Our aim is to create a platform for filmmakers, artists and the audience to exchange, learn from each other, build networks and share resources.
It is run completely non-commercially: We don’t receive any funding and there is no entry fee to screenings. That means we are working on a low budget which is based on what the audience can and wants to donate. The festival is intertwined with its venue: a queer living and community project named Schwarzer Kanal, which had been under eviction threat (already) when we first put the festival together and meanwhile moved to another location.
I have been part of the festival team since the first year, when we started off in a “grassroots” learning-by-doing process. With the years the collective changed and the interest in the festival grew among submitting filmmakers as well as among the audience.
XTRA: Can you talk a little bit about the connection between Montreal queers and Berlin queers?
MASCHA: Montreal and Berlin are both big cities in western, industrialized, [and] in many ways quite privileged countries.
Globalization has its effect also on parts of the queer scene. Those of us who can travel, have the chance to experience different places, network, stay for some time here and there. Some have different home bases across the ocean. Within this context there has grown an exchange between Montreal and Berlin.
The Snow Queen was made by a Canadian artist based in Berlin, with queer kids from Montreal, Finland, France and other places. It is an example how people and places grow together and overlap. The setting is Schwarzer Kanal, a space where queers live [and] are culturally and politically active. This place had to move away from the centre of Berlin in the beginning of 2010 due to gentrification processes. Many people joined the fight to keep it alive, and it was possible to negotiate a new ground. This is important to mention, since in Berlin there has been a struggle for “free spaces” since centuries. After the wall came down, many people left the eastern part of the city, and due to economic reasons rent was very low. There are still spaces leftover from this, however, it’s getting tighter. More and more people who can afford a high rent are willing to live in these formerly “cheap” areas of Berlin.
I think Montreal has a history of a similar dynamic, due to the history of almost-separation of Quebec. Maybe I’m wrong, but this affects how people lead their lives: both cities seem to attract many artists and culturally interested people who want a life that means more than work for rent and holidays.
XTRA: What are some of your favourites from the screening?
MASCHA: Unfortunately I won’t be at the screening! But I’m looking forward to queers in Montreal getting the chance to see the work of queer filmmakers from abroad, and filmmakers having a chance to be part of this screening.
For instance, Julia Rivera is a young DIY filmmaker from Berlin. The Decadence of Your Starvation portrays layers of her personal identity as a genderqueer person of colour in Berlin, yet it tells the story of many: dealing with a society that is looking for one gender, one racial background, one national background, one identity.
Entzaubert goes Montreal starts Tuesday, August 10 at 9pm, at Cafe Touski, 2361 Ontario E. Full listing of films is available here at perverscite.org. More info on entzaubert is available at entzaubert.blogsport.de.
Queer Rebel: Let Us Live How We Want is one of the films playing at Entzaubert goes Montreal. Watch below: