Freedom, justice and tolerance should be the pillars of any society. We believe Israel must guarantee full social and political equality to all, regardless of religion, race, sex or sexual orientation.
As committed members of the Israeli LGBT community, we struggle for equality and respect by creating a serious, often controversial discourse through the medium of queer cinema. The Tel Aviv International LGBT film festival is the manifestation of this struggle.
The only LGBT film festival in the Middle East, TLVFest is a fixture of the Israeli pride week. Selected twice (2014 & 2015) by INDIEWIRE as one of the 10 LGBT film festivals not to be missed, the festival offers a fascinating look into international and Israeli queer cinematic art. It is also an industry hub of activity. We take pride in the many collaborations and creative work that evolved from TLVFest meet-ups, seminars and workshops over the past decade.
We have come a long way since our 2006 launch. Held in the cramped quarters offered by Ha’Ozen Hashlishit (Hebrew for “third ear”) record store, the first festival opened with a show of Greg Araki’s Mysterious Skin. The venue was fully booked throughout the five-day event; it was clear we had created something
that had to continue and grow. A year later we moved into the Tel Aviv Cinematheque. The only openly and committedly gay-friendly cinema in Israel, it has been our home ever since, and an important partner in all of our endeavours. Since then, each pride week sees TLVFest growing, reaching more audiences, diversifying its program and exposing more local and global LGBT issues. And we make it a point to support the more disadvantaged members of our local community – transgender people and LGBTs belonging to ethnic and cultural minorities – by giving their daily experiences and struggles a visible spot on the silver screen.
TLVFest has had the pleasure to host many of the queer cinema industry’s most innovative minds. Over the years our guests have included Alan Cumming, Lea DeLaria, Bruce La Bruce, Wieland Speck (Berlinale Panorama curator), Jay Brannan (Shortbus), Jamie Babbit (But I’m a Cheerleader), Angela Robinson (D.E.B.S.), Joey Arias, Cheryl Dunye (The Watermelon Woman), Mark Christopher (Studio 54), Alanté Kavaïté (The Summer of Sangaile), Daniel Ribeiro (The Way He Looks) and many more.
TLVFest is more than a regular film festival it’s runs the TLVFest Movie Club, a monthly screening and other cinema related events throughout the year. The festival purchases theatrical rights of selected LGBTQ international films, and distributes them in Israel.
The TLVFest team is already hard at work on the many exciting ideas that will eventually form the next festival. Join us as we continue celebrating Israeli and international queer cinema and promote a more tolerant and respectful Israeli society.
The TLVFest team.