The SUNNY BUNNY LGBTQIA+ Film Festival, which will be held in Kyiv from June 22-28, 2023, announces the full list of films that will be presented this year, including an extensive Ukrainian program as part of the Ukrainian Retrospective.

The team of SUNNY BUNNY presented films for programs such as: Panorama, Ukrainian Queer Retrospective, Queerby, X BORDERS, International Short Films: Decolonize, Reclaim, Rebuild and Queer Fighters. It was also announced which films will be the Opening and Closing films of the film festival.

The opening film of the first SUNNY BUNNY will be the French documentary Orlando, My Political Biography directed by Paul B. Preciado. The film became a sensation at the Berlin International Film Festival, winning four awards, including the Teddy Award for Best Documentary/Essay Film, the Encounters Competition Special Award, the Berlinale Special Documentary Award and the Tagesspiegel Readers' Prize. Based on the trans classic Orlando from Virginia Woolf's novel of the same name, the film speaks to the author through the voices of transgender and non-binary people. The film tells of a fictional character (created in the image of Woolf's lover — Vita Sackville-West) who became a reality.

The closing film is the first feature by German-American director Harvey Rabbit, Captain Faggotron Saves the Universe, which had its world premiere in the Bright Future program of the Rotterdam International Film Festival 2023. Shot during the pandemic and featuring mostly porn actors, the Berlin micro-budget film uses a masterful mix of genres and forms (feature and animation, musical, comedy and thriller) to tell the story of Captain Faggotron, who faces a challenge — will he be able to save the world from a queer apocalypse?

Ukrainian Queer Retrospective  will present 6 full-length films. The festival guests can watch the legendary film by Serhii Parajanov Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors. This film was the debut of Ivan Mykolaichuk, who later became a famous actor, director and one of the symbols of Ukrainian cinema. Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors is considered the best Ukrainian film of all time — and it's important to emphasize that its creator wasn't heterosexual.

This program will also feature: Ihor Chernytskiy's dramatic film Ivin A., which is known for its homoeroticism, Kira Muratova's crime comedy Three Stories with an LGBTQ theme, Vadym Ilkov's documentary My Father Is My Mother's Brother, which had its world premiere as part of the European documentary film festival Visions du Réel in Nyon, Switzerland. There, the film received an award as the most innovative film of the international competition program; in addition, My Father Is My Mother's Brother was awarded as the Best Ukrainian Feature Film at the Odesa International Film Festival 2019.

The feature-length section of the Ukrainian Queer Retrospective will also screen: Alisa Kovalenko's film Home Games, a co-production between Ukraine, France and Poland, and Kateryna Gornostai's film Stop Zemlia, which was awarded the Crystal Bear by the jury of the Generation 14plus competition program at the Berlin International Film Festival 2021. A year later, in 2022, the film Stop Zemlia received the main prize of the National competition of the Kyiv International Film Festival Molodist, hosted by Filmfest Hamburg.

The SUNNY BUNNY festival presents a collection of new short films for 2022-2023, including: director Nadia Parfan's first fictional film It's a Date, which screened in the competition program of this year's Berlin International Film Festival; Anton Shebetko's film Simeiz, which was first an exhibition, then an installation, and only later transformed into a short film; documentary films by director Olena Siyatovskaya I Am Michelle and He.She by Yana Kyrychenko, Roommate by director Yevhen Slupchuk and Before Curfew by Anzhelika Ustymenko.

The festival will also feature a special event called Queer Fighters, which will screen the documentary short film Ukrainian Queer Fighters  for Freedom by Anzhelika Ustymenko. The film is about LGBTQIA+ military personnel who talk about their experiences in the first weeks of  russian full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Anzhelika’s and Alex King’s Rebel Queers: Ukraine’s Queer Resistance follows up on these characters almost a year later. The film screening will be followed by a discussion on the need to adopt a law on civil partnerships, with the participation of MP and the author of the bill No. 9103 Inna Sovsun, LGBTQ+ activists and representatives of the organization LGBTQ Soldiers and Their Allies. The Ministry of Justice of Ukraine is also invited to the event.

The Panorama program, dedicated to established and celebrated queer filmmakers, will feature 5 impressive films, including: two-time Sunny Bunny winner Marco Berger with his Argentine film Horseplay, nominated for Best Film in the Proxima Competition of the 2022 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival; Queer Palm nominee at the Cannes Film Festival 2022, winner of the Directors' Week Award at the Brussels International Film Festival 2022, and winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the Seville European Film Festival 2022 — Will-o’-the-Wisp by acclaimed Portuguese auteur João Pedro Rodrígues; the unexpected coming-out comedy I Love You Beksman by Filipino director Percival Intalan — opening film at the Queer East Film Festival in the UK and participant in the International Film Festival Rotterdam 2023; French film Passages by acclaimed American director and Sunny Bunny participant Ira Sachs, nominated for the Teddy Award and the Panorama Audience Award at the Berlinale 2023, starring Franz Rogowski, Adèle Exarchopoulos and Ben Whishaw; and the Teddy winner for the Best Feature Film at the Berlin International Film Festival 2022 — Brazilian film Three Tidy Tigers Tied a Tie Tighter by Gustavo Vinagre.

The short program Queerby offers viewers 5 films for the whole family, including: In Nature by Marcel Barelli, French film Adam's Skirt by Clément Tréhin-Lalanne, Lolo by Leandro Godinho and Paulo Menezes, Canadian Heat Wave by Fanny Perreault and The Gift by Aditya Ahmad. The recommended age for the films in the program is 10 years and up.

The X BORDERS program presents 4 short films from Portugal in collaboration with BEAST International Film Festival (Porto), Cineclube do Porto (Porto Film Society) and OKNA Cultural Centre. The program includes: An Avocado Pit by Ary Zara, Ø Island by Cláudia Varejão and Joana Castro, All Those Sensations in My Belly by Marko Dješka, and Tracing Utopia by Catarina de Sousa and Nick Tyson.

As part of the program International Short Films: Decolonize, Reclaim, Rebuild the audience will see the following: the Canadian film Freaky by Mark Durand, Australian Dipped in Black by Matthew Thorne and Derik Lynch (winner of the Teddy Award for Best Short Film and the Jury Award — Silver Bear in the Berlinale-2023 Short Film Competition), Brazilian Casa de Bonecas by George Pedrosa (participant of the Rotterdam Film Festival 2023), Colombian Aribada by Simon(e) Jaikiriuma Paetau and Natalia Escobar, as well as Swiss-Colombian Flowers From the Other Yard by the winner of Molodist KIFF Jorge Cadena.

In early June, the organizers announced the first half of the program, namely: International Feature Film Competition and two non-competition programs — New Colors and part of the Documentary.

The Documentary program included two more films that expand and change the perception of documentary film with their hybrid experiments: Nicky Lapierre's Belgian film Astro, nominated for the 2023 Magritte Awards in four categories: best editing, best sound, best original score and best documentary; and Playland by American director Georden West, nominated for the Tiger Award at the 2023 Rotterdam International Film Festival.

Full program — at the link

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