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Push-up Club, What a Great New Name – Hamburg International Queer Film Festival
by Marinell Haegelin

It has been thirty-plus years since the Lesbisch Schwule Filmtage began, and considering adjustments due to the coronavirus pandemic, 2021 was the harbinger year of change. New name, new logo yet the essence of this dynamic, diverse, delightfully quirky festival is unchanged. Welcome to Hamburg International Queer Film Festival (HIQFF)—you noticed the festival added “queer” to its moniker in 2010, right? This year’s festival again offered offline and online screening options.

In the summer of 1990, a year-plus after Hamburg University’s eye-opening seminar about “Homosexuality in Film”, students were so impressed, it was through their collaboration with Metropolis cinema and the community that Kinemathek Hamburg hosted the Lesbisch Schwule Filmtage. Worthy of mention is Paragraph 175 (*1872) that criminalized and jailed homosexuals; it prevailed until 1969, and §175 was not erased from German civil code until 1994.

In 1995, the festival restructured adding the non-profit organization, Querbild e.V.; this support association organizes, sponsors, and provides the festival the legal framework for acquiring financial support. The active 350-plus members of the Push-up Club is another linchpin toward supporting/promoting the festival.

Pushing ahead, HIQFF is now Germany’s oldest, biggest, queerest film festival, and every October welcomes 15,000-plus guests to Hamburg. Besides its multifarious program of current and past international films, the festival’s “socially-committed film culture” forum is a platform for attendees’ open, frank and sometimes challenging discourse. The film festival has presentations, workshops, parties, and the independently organized/operated N8bar which round out activities available during the five-day festival. No wonder Hamburg International Queer Film Festival’s smorgasbord of perceptive, illuminating, and insightful films and entertainment attracts so many guests, queer and straight, from around the world.