Reimagining Queer Film Festival as a Counterpublic Space. A Case Study of Turkey’s Pink Life Queerfest



This article discusses how film festivals provide a counterpublic space that goes beyond a cultural event for artistic exchanges, particularly in contexts where queer culture raises tensions both with political authorities and within society. They also serve as meeting points and safe spaces where LGBTIQ+ people gather to share experiences, emotions and ideas, to discuss critical issues such as gender politics, everyday violence, hate crimes, and to map out strategies for political action and resistance. However, queer film festivals often suffer from state-imposed restrictions, bans, prohibitions, and political surveillance and control mechanisms. Pink Life Queerfest (Pembe hayat kuirfest), Turkey’s first and only LGBTIQ+ film festival, provides a platform for LGBTIQ+ people to address issues that are not usually discussed in (conventional) public spaces. This article, based on a case study of the Pink Life Queerfest, focuses primarily on exploring the political significance of film festivals at a local level, while, at the same time, reflecting upon a set of questions based on globalisation, politics of location, queer visibility and (counter) public space.

Keywords: counterpublic space, film festivals, queer, visibility, contemporary Turkey

DOI: 10.24193/ekphrasis.25.10