The desire of new filmmakers and gay activists to tell stories that sting a society santurrona have driven the cinema LGBT in Ecuador. And although the feature films are counted on the fingers of one hand, there is a large production of shorts that have an exhibition space at the film festival The place without limits, which takes place every November, for 16 years.
This year's gay cinema showcase brought together six works, some aspiring to become a feature film, that bring us closer to men who defend male sex work, to brothers distanced by the homosexuality of one of them, to young people who fall in love from his best friend, to transsexual couples who hide their nature, to effeminate children who are rejected by their mother. We must add to this list the interviews made to people who have been the spearhead for society to accept gender diversity.
Many of these stories are told by filmmakers who have assumed their sexuality and take advantage of the trials of the race to tell pieces of their lives. "As a gay filmmaker I like to create stories where I can represent members of the LGBT community as human beings who go through universal conflicts. For us, identification is the best way of inclusion, "says Julio Baldeón, who produced An Eden for Helena, a short film about the unrequited love of a boy for his best friend.
And although the plot of a boy loves another boy in silence is not very original, it is vital for those who begin to experience something that does not match what they are supposed to feel. "It is important for them that there is a place where they can see a story that represents them more in countries where the visibility is just beginning or where gay life becomes very indoors," says Martin Deus, an Argentine filmmaker who came to the festival with a movie Similary, My best friend.
The place without limits, even unintentionally, has become a space of recognition. Fredy Alfaro, organizer of the show and founder of the association Quito Gay, is convinced that films are the beginning of certain talks. "We did not calculate any of this, they were on the one hand the movies and we could summon the gay public, basically homosexual couples, but now it is common to see that parents come with their children to talk about the subject and understand what it is to be gay," he says.
The filmmakers who are not gay and dare with these issues talk about awareness. That's what led Diana Ruiz to interview seven people from the LGBT community. "I worked to try to make our environment more sensitive to the issue, to put ourselves in the shoes of the other and make their own history," he says. The same thing moved Elio Pelaez, who together several stories to make the feature film Versatile, in 2016. "My biggest motivation was telling what is happening, there is one world below another and my responsibility as a filmmaker is to tell the life of people who probably have no voice."
The inclusion of these themes in the cinema is not new, but it is increasingly done with more respect, far from the Hollywood stereotypes of another era that caused laughter and resentment: the effeminate gay (Algie the Miner, 1912) or the homosexual villain (Rope, 1948). Lesbian, gay, transsexual and bisexual films have their own spaces at renowned festivals such as San Sebastián and Berlinale, which award the Sebastiane and the Teddy Award, respectively. The Teddy Prize is the oldest, has more than 30 years of history and was established so that films with homosexual content had greater relevance in cinemas. In the gay film festival awards are also given, the Max awards, which have nothing to do with the Spanish awards of the same name. The black legend tells that the organizers of the festival broke their heads looking for the right name for their statuettes, and suddenly somebody thought of taking the name of one of their mascots, Max, and then of the laughter to all of them. It seemed good.