In 2007 I started the gay & lesbian film festival which was soon named Outview Film Festival, Days of Queer Cinema. Seeing that other cities abroad have similar festivals, having already organized individual film screenings and having loved cinema from a young age, I ventured to have a Gay & Lesbian Film Festival in my city, Athens!
My mom used to take us to the movies all the time when she and my dad broke up. It was cheap, affordable and ultimate entertainment in a time of economic hardship brought on by the breakup, so I learned to love it and travel through the movies. In fact, half-serious and half-joking she says, “It’s my fault you became a lesbian, since I took you to see ‘Angelos’ when you were 12 and it was not allowed for kids at that age”. When I was around 16, I used to rush to Alphaville, to Studio in Amerikis Square or to the Film Archive on Akadimias Street and watch all the films of the Drama Festival, spending hours in the theaters during the screenings.
When I longed for something, I did it without a second thought and every year I made Outview better and better and it got bigger and bigger and I kept doing it for 12 years and made it the 3rd biggest film festival in Athens and the best LGBTQI+ film festival in all of Greece and the Balkans.
I’ve compiled an Excel file of the names I’ve brought in, and it’s over 120 people. For any person unfamiliar with the LGBTQI+ scene, the names below may not mean anything, although some are more widely recognized in the art and festival world. Nevertheless, I am very proud to have brought these people to Athens.
My partner at the time, Henriette Hoyskel, helped a lot financially—and she assisted me with the organization in the last years as well.
Michele Josue, Sam Feder, Monica Treut, Wieland Speck, Michael Stock, Bruce LaBruce, Maria Beatty, J. Jackie Baier, Buck Angel, Amos Mac, Del LaGrace Volcano, Gia Love, Wu Tsang, Boychild, Saga Becker, Vaginal Davis, Gloria Viagra, Susanne Sachsse, Fawzia Mirza, Limor Shmila, Colby Keller, Emilie Jouvet, Maureen Bradly, Olivier Rabourdin, Charles Lum, Gerald Mc Coullock, Charles Atlas, Tom Fitzerald Esther Hoffenberg, Philippe Vallois, etc.
I not only wanted my city to host a film festival on par with the major LGBTQI+ film festivals, but also wanted to support Greek LGBTQI+ filmmakers in creating films. So I set up a marathon of Greek LGBTQI+ films without using a film programmer—I screened them all! Additionally, I introduced the award for the best Greek LGBTQI+ film.
I would like to quote the words I said in an interview I gave to Athinorama in 2016, I think.
“………..If at this moment someone wanted to make a tribute to queer cinema, it would include the directors of the so-called underground or new transgression cinema of the time, such as Jean Genet, Kenneth Unger, Maya Deren, George Kuhar, John Waters, and many others. The baton was passed to the new queer cinema that started in the early 1980s with Derek Jarman of course (although he made “Sebastiane” in 1976), the timelessly wonderful Chantal Ackerman, Pedro Almodovar of course, but also Bruce LaBruce, Greg Araki, John Cameron Mitchell, Todd Haynes, Cheryl Duni and Jenny Livingston among others.
…………… As far as Greek queer cinema is concerned, it will be difficult to find female representatives among the directors. So we limit ourselves to well-known names such as those of Alexis Bistikas, Konstantinos Yannaris, Panos Kouros, Christos Dimas and Panagiotis Evaggelidis who belong to the “old bunch”. The new filmmakers taking the baton are Tilemachos Alexiou, Adam Karpidis, Nikolas Pourliaros, Thanasis Tsimpinis, Panagiotis Kountouras and Stefanos Kakavoulis among many others. Although the resounding absence of female creators persists, the work of Lara Kristen is promising, as is the worthy effort of the girls in Cine Collective, as well as that of Natalia Bougadelli. I wonder if Athena Rachel Tsaggari could be classed among them, but I don’t think she would want to.
–What do you consider the Outview Film Festival’s greatest achievement and what is the future bet to be won?
A festival is considered strong when it can and does bring the makers of the films it screens to its audience. This makes a difference, bringing filmmakers and viewers together to introduce themselves to each other, not just through the big screen, so that their art can spread. In last year’s anniversary Outview we had over 27 guests, a number that surpasses festivals larger than ours. Our future bet is moving in this direction, to become a European meeting point for the wider queer art scene, while our ardent desire is to win the best Greek queer film script award, so that Outview can co-produce beautiful, fresh Greek queer films.”
I stopped the Outview Film Festival in 2020 because I got cancer!
I gave the entire Outview archive and the domain name to the
Onassis Cultural Center of the Onassis Foundation!