CHERRY POP FILM FESTIVAL
Story behind Cherry Pop Film Festival 2023 edition
At a time when the freedom of expression and the right to self-identification are topics of heated debate worldwide, it is even more critical to encourage open dialogue about sexuality. By focusing our criticism on social norms and changes, we often need to remember to question our own views. We aim to do that as part of the Cherry Pop Film Festival 2023.
Film is the perfect medium for exploring our inner world of emotions and encouraging discussion about an experience so intimate but universal. How often have you been afraid to show your true feelings to someone? Have you ever felt like your partner’s desire will consume you alive? Maybe you’ve been ashamed of losing your sexual toy somewhere? Don’t worry, you’re not alone.
Short film competitions
The Cherry Pop Film Festival 2023 includes two international competitive programs – the Main and the Student competitions. We have gathered 33 short films focusing on all the challenges encompassed by sexuality as a topic.
The prize for the Main Competition, Sweet Cherry, will be awarded by a jury consisting of:
- Nikki Bohm (director, screenwriter, actress, and producer)
- Viktor Zahtila (director, journalist, and LGBT activist)
- Nikica Zdunić (director, screenwriter)
Sour Cherry will be awarded for the best Student film, and the jury consists of:
- Sara Grgurić (director, screenwriter)
- David Gašo (director, screenwriter)
- Rea Bušić (actress, educator)
Admission is free for all film blocks. All films will have English subtitles only.
The focus of the second edition of Cherry Pop is the relationship between sexuality and work. Therefore, in the accompanying film program Cherry Pick, we present three documentary titles.
The winner of the Encounters section of the 72nd Berlinale, Mutzenbacher is a film by Austrian director Ruth Beckermann that, by confronting men of different ages with the infamous 1906 erotic novel of the same name about the sexual adventures of a Viennese prostitute, explores how society shapes our erotic fixations.
The stylistic contrast is the verité approach of the Austrian documentarian Michael Glawogger, who, in Whore’s Glory, takes us through three countries, three languages, and three religions unobtrusively while presenting complex stories about the working conditions of sex workers in Thailand, Bangladesh, and Mexico.
The Cherry Pick selection is rounded off with Dana Budisavljević’s documentary Straight A’s, an intimate story about Lidija Šunjerga, a Croatian woman who at the age of 19 went to Amsterdam where she worked as a prostitute, but also about her not-so-easy return to her homeland 15 years later, where she faces numerous difficulties and prejudices.
THURSDAY 16 / 11 / 2023
17 h – Student Competition 1
Spectrum Of Ties
The story explores the intricate boundary between pleasure and excess and what happens when we cross it.
The arrival of a katana transforms the situation for a young woman in an abusive relationship with an older man.
The story is told across nine screens. After yet another misunderstanding with her girlfriend, a girl writes her thoughts in her diary: she tells what it means for her to love, accept yourself and face your fears, while remembering all those moments of carefree and suffering that she spent with her girlfriend.
Manel and Judit travel to the snow after leaving it a few months ago.
Tara and Igor were madly in love ten years ago. When they meet again after so many years, they start waking up to emotions that have long since ceased to exist … or did they at least think so?
19 h – Cherry Pick 1
In a newspaper ad, Ruth Beckermann announces a casting call for a film based on the pornographic novel Josefine Mutzenbacher or The Story of a Viennese Whore in an exploration of the confines of male sexual fantasies.
21 h – Main Competition 1
Fear & Doubt
Sergio and Elena are a happy couple. One night, Elena starts to talk and act strangely. The next day the couple take it as a joke. Things start to get complicated when Heleno turns up in their lives. This entity will use old sexist patterns and new liberal ideas to destroy Sergio and his relationship with Elena.
A young man confesses to his friend that he is secretly in love with his older neighbor. Apparently, she doesn’t know of its existence. How many opportunities we let pass for not daring to follow our heart.
Alba wakes up one morning with two men. Something happened the night before, but she doesn’t remember anything. Just a strange feeling that she can’t define.
Tom and Ellis, 16 years old, have been friends forever. They spend their summer fishing at sea. One day, they meet Lucie who came to their village on holiday. As days go by, they grow more intimate.
FRIDAY 17 / 11 / 2023
17 h – Student Competition 2
Us, Them, Pride, Love
The stories of 3 people who struggle to fit in a society’s expectations built around gender binarism. A conversation tries to deconstruct the idea of gender as we know it and confronts the ideals that are imposed in each of us.
Will Taylor has never been able to have a girlfriend but he has a crush. In an attempt to learn how to date, he goes on a “practice date” with social media influencer Lara Quinn. After experiences with Lara, friends, and peers, Will is ready to ask out Sarah.
During the night, a teenage girl is taking a taxi ride to the neighboring town. After a disturbing ride, and an even worse night at a friends birthday party, she is forced to return home with a menacing taxi driver who insists on her sitting in the front seat next to him.
Five queer past and present BYU students tell of their struggle to live truthfully to themselves and their identities while trying to avoid academic and social backlash from the conservative Mormon University. Collectively they tell a story of queer struggle and the safety and security that can be found in the community.
At the counter of the Bar of Soap everything looks the same at first sight. Strangers start deep and sincere conversations about the similarities and differences that might bring them together. Fed up with the social conventions imposed on them, Sonia and Filipe reflect on coincidences, relationships, and happiness. At the end of their conversations, will they still be strangers?
Ema is a first-year acting student. While grocery shopping, she encounters Jakov, an already-established young actor. Jakov offers to help her with a self-tape audition and for that reason, they agree to meet at her place later that day. While Ema is excited to get acting advice from an acclaimed actor, Jakov sees this as an opportunity for a hook-up.
19 h – Cherry Pick 2
This documentary dwells into the lives of local sexual workers: three countries, three cultures, three religions – one profession. A thought provoking examination of the lives, needs, troubles, and hopes of prostitutes in Thailand, Bangladesh, and Mexico.
21 h – Main Competition 2
Love, Dicks & Vaginas
An empty paper depicts a struggle between artistic composition and decomposition as the voice of the narrator-protagonist reminisces about her tumultuous relationship with a former girlfriend.
Visual artist Daniela Torres creates colorful ceramic dick sculptures inspired by the men who have been dicks to her. In this intimate artist portrait, Daniela shares her struggles, anger and catharsis as she creates a sculpture modelled after a series of unsolicited dick pics.
Johnny is a young quadriplegic guy who lives in the care of his companion, Carol, and Manoel, his nurse. He receives full support from Carol, who is dedicated to his care. Dissatisfied with his loss of libido, he seeks to feel the sexual pleasure he hasn’t felt for years.
Through their skins, we learn to know ANGE and BRUE in the shining celebration of their love. Two years of complicity and kisses,of pleasure and tenderness. Because sex in the afternoon is healthy a.f.
This will not end well… A poet forewarns their next lover of what lies ahead. Based on the poem “to my next lover” by Paula Harris.
It’s an LGBTQ+ romantic comedy short film exploring love and adult life. The story follows a couple who spend one night turning their house upside down trying to find a special possession that they think will spice things up in bed bringing them closer again.
A bath is always a good place to have an important conversation and that is what Silvia and Lara do. An almost adult conversation of two teenagers with love problems.
SATURDAY 18 / 11 / 2023
16 h – Student Competition 3
Therapy & Taboo
Two people are sitting on a bench in the Parc des Bastions in Geneva. One, Judith, is a sex worker who talks about her experience with disabled clients. The other one, me, is interviewing and recording her. An animated documentary about sex between people who are not in love.
“Post Socialist Bodies” is a 17-minute experimental documentary film, which explores the experience of abortion in contrasting political systems with abstract imagery and dance. Using methods of artistic research, the director and researcher in the field of visual-culture, Laura Lintner sheds light on her insights of the female experience and body politics in post-socialist Belgrade.
Laura is a sexual assistant for people with functional diversity. Her boyfriend, Marco, is desperate to find work to change the situation. Perhaps the only thing all we need is a little affection to feel alive.
95% of Heterosexual Men usually or always orgasm during partnered sexual activity compared to just 65% of heterosexual women. Filmmaker Samantha Berlanga sits down with fellow vulva owners, sexologist Dr. Carol Queen and even HER MOM for some real talk about the clitoral orgasm gap!
Orphan since her childhood, Iris suffers from a sexual disorder that leads her to multiply conquests. One day, during her mother’s dead body identification, she discovers a strange butterfly tattoo on the corpse, puzzling her about the link between her mother’s past and her trouble.
19 h – Cherry Pick 3
Made with a lot of passion and subtle humor, ”Straight A’s” is a documentary about Lidija Šunjerga, a Croatian woman who moved to Amsterdam at the age of 19, worked there as a prostitute for 15 years and then returned home, facing numerous problems.
20 h – Main Competition 3
Marga, prostituted in an industrial estate when she receives a surprise visit from her sister Lucia.
Yegler and Susana are a married couple who have suffered a terrible loss. Today would be just another day, if Yegler wasn’t going to ask Susana for something she may not be ready to accept.
When brothel worker Violet returns to work post break-up only to find her recent ex-girlfriend hustling the same shift, she must make the choice between avoidance and vulnerability in order to make her month’s rent.
‘Monsters’ blends personal essay with unnerving imagery, in the hopes of taking the current narrative surrounding trans and queer people as ‘monsters’, and juxtaposing this with childhood videos, amusement parks, and slugs. ‘Monsters’ takes these writings around the queer-coding of monsters alongside the media narrative of trans and queer people, and flips it on its head.
Lou, 28, is a lesbian. The day she wakes up next to a man, her world turns upside down.
Cintia and Alegria, friends and classmates, are having a study session for Literature but, at 17, it’s hard to focus, especially when one of them has such important news.