The Argentine director Manuel Abramovich won the Silver Bear Jury Prize (Short Film) for ‚Blue Boy‘.

The filmmaker and cinematographer was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1987. He studied camera at the Escuela Nacional de Experimentación y Realización Cinematográfica in Buenos Aires and is an alumnus of the 2012 Berlinale Talents. His short film La Reina (The Queen) screened at over 150 festivals worldwide winning 50 awards and his debut feature film, Solar, premiered at the Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente in Buenos Aires; in 2017, Soldado (Soldier) screened in Generation at the Berlinale. He is a fellow of the current DAAD artist-in-residence programme in Berlin.

Manuel Abramovich

Young men from all over the world have been meeting at the Blue Boy Bar in Berlin for forty years. According to their website, this is where the city’s lonely hearts, business people and tourists go. One after another, several young men take a seat at the bar, look into the camera and listen to themselves. A contract has been settled, the terms are read aloud. It allows the filmmaker to use the interviews as he sees fit. The men are paid for it. The men tell the filmmaker about their job, they are sex workers. As we observe them, a multitude of questions arise. Their eyes are like a mirror of our society.

© ‚Blue Boy‘ by Manuel Abramovich

What is your ambition in the film?

I wanted to make a series of portraits of sex workers applying the same rules of the sex trade. To place emphasis on the performativity of such dynamics and to create an experiment in which the roles of everyone involved (protagonists, audience, myself) were interchangeable. What would it be like for these young men to take distance from the character they play? How would they react to their own stories?

What do you like about the short form?

Short films are like games. I just like to invent the rules and, for a few minutes, invite the audience to play along.

What are your future plans?

I just started the Berliner Künstlerprogramm des DAAD fellowship, where I’m elaborating Blue Boy’s second phase, probably a feature. I’m also working on two new projects in Mexico. The first is related to pornography, I’m interested in people who turn their own sexuality into a show. The other is a collaboration with the gay cowboy community to create something they’ve always wanted to watch: a telenovela about their own love stories.

24 films from 17 countries have competed for the Golden and Silver Bear, the Audi Short Film Award, endowed with 20,000 euros, and a nomination as “Berlin Short Film Candidate for the European Film Awards 2019”.

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