Panel 3: Trends in Queer Cinema

Chair: Jan Pinseler

Jan Pinseler is a Professor of Media Studies at the Hochschule Magdeburg-Stendal and conducts research on political representation in radio and queer media studies.


How Do I Look (Now)?

Marc Siegel

There have been a number of recent institutional developments in international queer film culture that may have little or nothing to do with the increasingly established queer film festival circuit. Indeed, they may even offer a critique of it. Taken together these alternative zines, magazines and independent screening series offer an important rewriting of queer film history and a retooling of this history for younger audiences. While addressing these recent developments, my presentation will also offer some thoughts about a queer cinema and a broader queer film culture committed to challenging not just heteronormativity, but homonationalism as well.

Marc Siegel is an Assistant Professor in Film Studies at the Goethe University in Frankfurt.


Returns to Nature: The Queer Pastoral in World Cinema

Rosalind Galt

Queer cinema proposes ways of being in the world. Visualizing LGBT/Q people in landscapes hitherto imagined as straight can constitute a bold political and aesthetic statement. This paper proposes an emergent pastoral mode in queer world cinema, where rural environments provide spaces for gender identities, sexualities and the nation to be reimagined. It analyses two disparate examples: She Male Snails (Bergsmark, 2012) and Papilio Buddha (Cherian, 2013). These films’ pastoral landscapes are not mere temporary escapes from oppressive national cultures. Instead, nature nourishes transformation, queerly upsetting the nature/culture binary and disrupting both national geographies and world cinema exoticisms.

Rosalind Galt is a Reader in Film Studies at King’s College London and conducts research in world cinema, gender and sexuality.


Contemporary Trans* Cinema: Affective Tendencies, Communities, and Styles

Eliza Steinbock

In my talk I want to address the circulation of a few well-received 2011-2013 trans* films, which might at first glance suggest a parallel transgender development of The New Queer Cinema (NQC, see B. Ruby Rich). However, I want to avoid the traps of defining, or wrongly celebrating, a “New Trans Cinema”. Instead, I argue that these films embody the current affective tendencies of an emerging post-identity aesthetic movement, not unlike the NQC’s “sense of defiance” (Michele Aaron), which is being lead by trans themes, and an exciting cohort of trans directors.

Eliza Steinbock researches transfeminist issues in visual culture at the Department of Film & Literary Studies, Leiden University.


Temporal Relations On and Off Documentary

Natascha Frankenberg

With a Response by Cheryl Dunye

Queer Cinema has both established and questioned the role of collectivity and community, then and now. The films presented at queer film festivals build up a queer history of narratives, desires and identities aligned. While Queer Studies reflect on temporality, queer time and questions of how to connect to times, feelings and queer lives long lost, films offer their own media- based forms of establishing temporal relations. Here, I will offer a close reading of documentary time, collectivity and queer history-making in THE OWLS (USA 2010, dir. Cheryl Dunye). I will focus on questions of temporality brought up by the film’s use of documentary elements turned on and off.

Natascha Frankenberg pursues a PhD at the University of Oldenburg and is former programmer for the queer section “begehrt! (desire!)” of the International Women’s Film Festival Dortmund | Köln.

Cheryl Dunye is a native of Liberia, and holds an MFA from Rutgers University. She has made over 15 films that investigate the intersection of race, class and gender in the lives of queer women of color. Her fourth feature film, THE OWLS was celebrated at national and international film festivals. Her third feature film, Miramax’s MY BABY’S DADDY, was a U.S. box office success. Her second feature, HBO Films STRANGER INSIDE, garnered her an Independent Spirit award nomination for best director. Dunye’s debut film, THE WATERMELON WOMAN, was awarded the Teddy Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival in 1997.  Her 1990 short film JANINE will screen at the Lesbisch Schwule Filmtage Hamburg “Crown Jewels” retrospectiv eprogram.  Presently based in Oakland, Dunye is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Cinema at San Francisco State University.