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The th XPOSED International Queer Film Festival Berlin

Panel Discussion

Struggles and strategies: Queer (Short) Film Production in Germany

Panel discussion, September, 19th 2020
4pm streaming live on our Facebook channel

Queer characters and stories seem to enjoy ever increasing ‘visibility’ and ‘representation’ in film, TV, and other media. But do we get to see the complex characters and stories we long for, and if so, where? Who funds them? What is taught at film schools? And how to avoid the pitfalls of tokenism and appropriation that may await marginalized storytelling and storytellers in their fight for emancipation? What needs to change – and how can we all be a part of it?

Filmmakers Pol Merchan, Liz Rosenfeld, Jasco Viefhues and Zara Zandieh will share their perspectives on queer filmmaking, funding structures, and film schools. The discussion is moderated by Dr. Skadi Loist.


Still from THE SEA RUNS THROUGH MY VEINS, by Zara Zandieh
winner of the 2nd Queer Short Film Fund

Dr. Skadi Loist is a visiting professor for production cultures in audio-visual media industries at the Film University Babelsberg KONRAD WOLF and leads the research project “Film circulation in the international festival network” (BMBF 2017-2021). In 2015 she received a PhD for a thesis on queer film festivals. Skadi researches and teaches fair working conditions, gender equity, diversity and sustainability in screen industries, film festivals and queer cinema. She has served as board member for the Hamburg Queer Film Festival and QueerScope – Association of independent queer film festivals in Germany.

Pol Merchan (Lleida, Spain, 1980) is an artist, filmmaker, and film programmer for the Xposed International Queer Film Festival. He holds a degree in Fine Arts from the University of Barcelona and a master’s degree from the Art in Context program at Universität der Künste Berlin. His audio-visual work explores visual semantics and film practices, deconstructing techniques of conventional filmmaking. Merchan uses the camera as an extension of his eye and body, making intimate works that emphasize the body as its own language. Working across film, photography, and text, his art practice addresses transgenerational connections and the archiving of oral history. His film Pirate Boys was supported by the Xposed Queer Short Film Fund and nominated for the LICHTER Art Award, at Lichter Filmfest Frankfurt International. He is currently working on a film focused on Spain’s transitional period into democracy, censorship, and body, through a personal approach to the transgressive work of the artist and illustrator Nazario Luque, made possible by support from the Stiftung Kunstfonds and QueerScope e.V. Kurzfilmfonds. Merchan’s work has been exhibited internationally in art institutions and at numerous Film Festivals such as Museo Reina Sofía Madrid, Contemporary Culture Centre of Barcelona, Art Centre of La Panera, Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, Internationale Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen, Festival Internacional de Cine Guanajuato, Ann Arbor Film Festival, and Anthology Film Archives New York. His work is distributed by Hamaca Media & Video Art and is part of the collection of Leandre Cristòfol Foundation and Museu d’Art Jaume Morera. 

Liz Rosenfeld (b.1979, USA/DE) is a Berlin based artist who works in film/video, performance, and personal discursive writing practice. Liz explores the sustainability of emotional and political ecologies, cruising methodologies, and both past and future histories related to the ways in which memory is queered. Liz’s work approaches flesh as a non-binary collaborative material, specifically focusing on the potentiality of physical abundance and excess, approaching questions regarding the responsibility and privilege of taking up space. Departing from the personal, Liz’s writing is rooted in questions that contend with how queer ontologies are rooted in both political and personal variant hypocritical desire(s). Over the past 6 months, Liz has been making a film in collaboration with Colombian artist Nadia Granados, and USA filmmaker Amber Bemak, through a series of online residencies, in lieu of their Bogotá based artist residency which was supposed to host the artists in early 2020 and was canceled due to COVID-19.  Liz has also gained support, in the form of the Experimentalfilmförderung from the Medianboard, for her upcoming experimental 360* cinema work, White Sands Crystal Foxes, which is currently in the post-production phase. Liz will also premiere the first video in a new ongoing  series called Trembleling, as part of the FCNN artist collective’s online platform for the 2020 Berlin Biennale. Liz is one of the members of Berlin based film collective nowMomentnow.  Her films are represented by Video Data Bank and LUX Moving Image.

Jasco Viefhues. Born in Offenbach, Germany, 1980. Received the A-Level in the year 2000 followed by a traineeship at Schauspielhaus Hamburg, department Stage Design. Active in the fields of New Media, Graphic Design and Film, having volunteered and worked for several publicity agencies and productions as a freelancer. Studied at the renowned Film Academy Berlin (dffb) from 2005 to 2017, graduating with a diploma focused on directing. Fellowship holder at the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation from 2008 until 2012. His film, Capernaum, was nominated for the German Short Film Award in 2010. In 2014, Internal Body Shots (part of the Fucking Different XXY compilation) held its premiere in the Panorama section of the 64th Berlinale, the Berlin International Film Festival. His first feature length documentary Rescue the Fire had its premiere at the 2019 Munich Film-festival. His work is currently focused on racial politics in film, queer history, heritage and ancestry.

Zara Zandieh works as an independent filmmaker and cinematographer, teaches filmmaking and gives lectures and workshops in Berlin. They/ she graduated as a Master Student of Art and Media at the University of the Arts Berlin (Universität der Künste Berlin) supervised by Prof. Nina Fischer. Zara is part of the Queer-Feminist-Filmmaker-Network (QFFN). She accomplished her studies in cinematography and graduated with a master class in 2014 from the Berlin based filmschool filmArche. Zara was part of the Jury of the 13th XPOSED Queer Film Festival in May 2018 and part of the organisation team of the Kabul film festival SECOND TAKE on „Gender and Society in Cinema“ in 2008. In 2006, Zara completed an MA in Gender, Ethnic Studies and Sexuality at the University of East London under the supervision of Prof. Roshini Kempadoo & Prof. Merl Storr. Her/ their path of becoming a filmmaker started through the encouragement and mentorship of Roshini Kempadoo and Keith Piper. Zara’s project OCTAVIA’S VISION (working title) was recommended by the Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe for the Research Fellowship by its 2019 jury and is currently in production phase.