The Hamburg International Queer Film Festival (HIQFF) is Germany’s oldest, largest and, from the very start, queerest film festival. Once a year in October it attracts some 15,500 visitors to cinemas and various supporting events in Hamburg. It is the city's second largest film festival and has a firm place in the Hamburg cultural landscape.
Film culture for Hamburg,...
...Germany, and further afield
The HIQFF aims to show its audience both diverse and current international film productions. The films in the programme address relevant topics, tell exciting stories and confront themselves with totally varied personalities. Apart from this, the festival provides a forum for a socially-committed film culture which is both worthy of discussion and challenging. The festvial is well networked internationally and as a result many people involved with festivals from other countries, as well as our invited film guests, travel to Hamburg for the event. This mixture makes the Hamburg International Queer Film Festival a fascinating event for both the queer community as well as for all those interested in film and culture in general.
From the community and
for the community
Since its beginning in 1989 the festival has become one of the most important events for audiences in and around Hamburg. The festival is organised by enthusiastic lesbians, gays and queers for the whole queer community. In addition to the film events there are also workshops, presentations and parties. During the festival week, the autonomous N8bar, organised by a team independent of Querbild, provides a nightly programme. The pleasant and friendly atmosphere there encourages an equal exchange of ideas between the audience, directors, guests and team members.
It all started in 1988
at a film seminar…
In the winter semester 1988/89 students at Hamburg University visited a seminar on the then barely explored topic “Homosexuality in Film”. It was through the co-operation with the communal cinema Metropolis that the first “Lesbisch Schwule Filmtage Hamburg” was held in the summer of 1990, an event hosted by the Kinemathek Hamburg.
In 1995 came the support association Querbild e.V. …
As the festival grew, and garned more attention, a non-profit organisation – Querbild e.V. – was set up in 1995 to support it. The association is both the organiser and sponsor of the festival, and provides its legal framework. This legal structure has led to additional methods of financial support: for instance, from the City of Hamburg through the cultural authority, to involvement by consulates and cultural institutes, and to donations from sponsors through cooperation projects.
… and in 2019 the festival
had its 30th birthday ...
The other mainstay of the festival, besides Querbild e.V., is the Push-up Club, with its over 350 members who regularly sponsor the festival through their donations. The club acts as an “extended HIQFF-family”, emotionally as well as financially. These support groups have made the festival what it is today. From a handful of events it has grown to its present size: five days of films, discussions, presentations and – let's not forget – parties! In 2019 the HIQFF celebrated its 30th birthday.
... and in 2021 the festival was renamed.
After almost 32 years, the Film Days have changed their name: The Lesbisch Schwule Filmtage Hamburg is now called Hamburg International Queer Film Festival. This means that the extension added in 2010 will now become the main name and the festival will also be more inclusive in terms of its name.
If you want to be part of it and help to shape or organise the event: helpers and volunteers are always welcome!
Acting out – the 25th anniversary film
How did a small idea become one of the major international hotspots for queer filmmakers and audiences from all over the world?
The first 25 years of the festival was captured on film and is available on DVD! AYE AYE Film spent two years filming, interviewing, gleaning the archives, watching hours of footage and editing reams of material. The resulting documentary entertainingly brings across both the unique atmosphere and 25-year history of the festival, and above all, illuminates the complex mesh that both forms and carries it. It premiered at the 25th HIQFF and has since been shown at other queer film festivals including Switzerland and Israel.
Bild:schön – the 20th anniversary book
This extensive volume filled with pictures and articles about the HIQFF and “New Queer Cinema” in Germany, is a perfect source to check out the festival’s history. Long-time festival visitors will definitely recognise many of the films mentioned, not to mention photos documenting years gone by.
The contributing authors include important personalities for both German and international queer cinema, such as Monika Treut, Barbara Hammer, Nathalie Percillier, Matthias Müller, John Greyson, Wieland Speck, Angelina Maccarone, Gwen Haworth and many more. In addition, members of the audience and friends of the festival, who have been there since the very beginning, get to share stories and anecdotes.