International Film Festival Rotterdam has announced that Ukraine will host a queer film festival, the first of its kind. Sunny Bunny, named after Kyiv-based Molodist Film Fest’s section established in 2001, is planning to take place for the first time in Ukraine in June.
Programmer Bohdan Zhuk spoke to Variety on Tuesday, saying, “Maybe it’s a bit stereotypical to do it in June, as it’s Pride Month, but it will give us more time to prepare […] The war is unpredictable, so you just have to adapt and be flexible. When we did Molodist in December, there were blackouts, so we needed generators. We also needed to plan where people would hide in case of raids, plan out shelters in cinemas or nearby metro stations.”
Sunny Bunny’s goal is to represent queer communities in all their forms as well as reflect the present and ongoing struggles on living life during a war.
Zhuk added, “It’s essential to talk about queer people in the army. They are out there, fighting. Lately, especially since the start of the invasion, many military volunteers and others [involved in the fight] have been publicly coming out. As queer, gay, bisexual, trans.”
Sunny Bunny will be sure to expand beyond the “queer tragedy” narrative and break out of stereotypical boxes for queer characters.
“I feel so much joy when I watch films that don’t follow this conventional narrative of what a queer character should be. […] We want to see a lot of diversity and just… a lot of everything. The more the better. […] It’s an ongoing conversation among queer film festivals, because we are tired of all these coming-out films, of stories revolving around the acceptance of the queer character by somebody else. We want other things: we want fun. We don’t want tragedy. We are done with that.”