TLVFest, Tel Aviv’s International LGBT Film Festival is a unique annual event taking place each June at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque and the Tel Aviv LGBT Community Center. The festival offers public screenings of films with no Israeli distribution, meetings with local as well as foreign filmmakers, panel discussions and special events. The impressive program includes many exciting films while aspiring to enrich and empower tolerance and pluralism in Israeli society.
In addition to displaying worldwide cinema, the festival encourages Israeli original work, awarding Best Film in the competitive Israeli program and provides exposure and a public stage for local queer filmmakers. The festival also runs the TLVFest Movie Club, a monthly screening and other cinema related events throughout the year.
TLVFest’s First Year
The first ever LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transexual) Film Festival in Tel Aviv was launched in 2006. The establishment of this festival originated in the desire to bring the best of worldwide LGBT cinema to local audiences. These films would otherwise never get theatrical, TV or DVD distribution and would then never be seen. The festival took place at the legendary Ha’ozen Hashlishit (Third Ear) in Tel Aviv and screened in 5 tiny theaters of 20-40 seats each.
The festival opened with Greg Araki’s “Mysterious Skin” and over 2000 attended the festival to sold out houses. In 2007, the festival moved to a bigger venue and took place at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque. To this very day, the festival remains at the same place– the only openly gay friendly cinema institution in Israel.
Declaration of Intent
We believe that Israel should be based on freedom and justice and should ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race, sex or sexual orientation. TLVFest opposes all occupations and forms of violence and believes that peace should be fulfilled through justice for Palestine and Israel. We hope that one day the Middle East will be a safe place for LGBT people and we wish that the countries and their leaders will be more tolerant to our community.
Over its past 6 years the festival is very happy to have had acclaimed guests from all over the world who supported our event like: Bruce LaBruce, Jay Brannan (“Shortbus”), Wieland Speck, Suzy Capo, Ocean Leroy, Cheryl Dunye, Todd Verow, Jurgen Bruning, Gwen Haworth, Joey Arias, Maria Beatty, Allan Brocka, Casper Andreas, Michael Stock, João Pedro Rodrigues, Jan Krüger, Emilie Jouvet, Jake Yuzna, David Hall, The Hungry Hearts, Lazlo Pearlman, Pyuupiru, Daishi Matsunaga, Christian Petersen, Wayne Yung, Charles Lum, Monica Palazzo, Maria Cyber, Bard Yden, Florence Fradelizi, Michael Stuetz, Marcus Lindeen, Chantal, Johanna Jackie Baier, Gamma Bak, Yuvraaj Parasher, Kapil Sharma and many MORE.
TLVFest Economic Situation
After the attempt of The Israeli Film Council to stop the support in our 2012 festival failed to pass, we are more relieved. However, the current political climate directly affects our opportunities to gain local financial support. We have repeatedly come up against obvious cases of homophobia in our search for media partners. Fashion companies, beverage, travel, beauty and their likes are reluctant to cooperate with us in fear of a boycott by religious groups. With your support we hope to make the festival one of the most talked about cultural events of the year.