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For a new series of voices we interview visitors to Rotterdam from all over the world. This time we spoke to movie director Marco Berger and actor Juan Pablo Cestaro, premiering their feature film at this year’s IFFR. The thriller is set around a 15 year old boy exploring his desires and getting entangled at the same time.

With everything being straight in the world, I want to see queer stories about love between men

Marco Berger 

Tiger time in Rotterdam
Every year at the end of January and beginning of February Rotterdam catches a case of ‘Tiger fever’ with it’s annual International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR). With over 300.000 visitors, more than 200 feature films and 2400 attending film professionals from all over the world, it’s a festival that seriously celebrates film and the visual arts.This year we were lucky to speak to two professionals visiting Rotterdam from Buenos Aires – Marco Berger, a director who’s been making feature films since 2009 and the up-and-coming actor Juan Pablo Cestaro, who stars in Berger’s latest movie, El Cazador. We asked them what they think about Rotterdam, but more importantly what stories they have to share about their work and passions. Here’s what they had to say.

So to break the ice, what is your impression of Rotterdam?
Marco Berger (MB): It is the first time I am in Rotterdam and I really like it and am very impressed. To me it is similar to Bergen (Norway), where I lived for 3 years. It is modern and new, a bit smaller than I expected. We visited the Martkhal and went inside the Cube houses. And of course...IFFR. It is amazing to have my movie premier here and participate in one of the competitions. Juan Pablo Cestaro (JPC): It is my first time in Rotterdam too, the buildings and architecture are so great, different from Argentina. MB: and you like the girls too, right? JPC :(grins).

Marco, your movies have creative scripts and are often populated with sexy men (see overview). Each film has its own, very different, characters. Can you tell us a little bit more about the last two?
MB: With ‘The Blonde One’, I wanted to go far away from the previous movie I had made, ‘Taekwondo’ , which is a comedy so it became a drama. I think I had the script of ‘The Young Hunter’ before ‘The Blond One’, so it is a thriller and not a comedy. I like change. The next big project will actually be a comedy again and will be a love story.  Hopefully, in between, I can make a smaller independent film. Also important, I don’t pretend to make queer or gay movies. I make films that I'd like to see myself, and with everything being straight in the world, I want to see queer stories about love between men. There are many approaches to these gay themes, I don’t choose them on purpose. But I don’t like it when my work is framed as ‘gay’ or I'm reduced to a ‘gay film maker’. For me they are just films.

How are your movies received in countries in Latin America ?
MB: Really good. For instance about 10 years ago I released 'Plan B' in Cuba, which at that time still was a how shall I say, viewed as a "macho country". It was explosive. Actually a lot of women liked the film. I think it helps that I am not aggressive or provocative with my ideas about queer subjects. So even if you are a little homophobic and see my films a little change can happen. One can understand that it is about love over everything. Once, at a screening, a man who had seen 'Plan B' without knowing what movie was going to be about came up to me to confess, ‘I think I was very homophobic until now, but I watched the movie and feel I understand now and leave this theatre a different person’.


Scene from 'El Cazador / The Young Hunter'

Your latest movie 'The Young Hunter', deals with a sensitive topic, mostly because the actors in the story are - or are supposed to be - rather young. 
MB: It has a strong subject, but I made it in a delicate way. Had I made it more provocative I could have drawn more attention to the film. Instead, I wanted to make a smart film and have people think about the subject, not to run away from it. I really love portraying naked people and I have no problem with sex, but for this film in particular, that was risky. I am actually criticizing child pornography. Even if one is showing an 18-year-old actor play a 14-year-old, what are you doing then? [Rhetorical] But, if I make a film about a naïve love story between two 14-year-old boys, then it is different. I could then make it sweet about a relationship and maybe nakedness. With 'El Cazador' I did not want it to be a snake that eats it’s own tail. The main character is not a fragile boy, he is more like the character in my earlier movie ‘Ausente’ - a strong character that's looking for sex. In this film, he starts out as a child, but he is also an animal. He becomes a hunter. The experiences he has in this movie and consequences of the choices he makes are what he will always carry with him.

Juan Pablo Cestaro as Ezéquiel

A question for Juan Pablo, how did you experience being in this movie?
[The casting is still fresh on his mind] JPC: It was challenging and beautiful at the same time. I have worked in theater since I was 15 and have always dreamt about being in movies. I started auditioning from the age of 18 after I finishing college. It was a challenge applying the techniques I had learned. With this role suddenly all the things I had been hoping for materialized. For me was like the culmination of a beautiful storm. My take on Ezéquiel – the mail role – is that he doesn’t have much of choice. He feels he is forced into certain actions. In my life I have choices, but this character doesn’t have that option, he hasn’t come out yet. My take was to approach the role it with empathy and try to find a place in myself that could relate, it was difficult, but it worked.

What about future plans for both of you?
JPC: I am working on a monologue that I will perform in Buenos Aires in July. I need to be on stage for 60 minute so it requires a lot of rehearsing. Meanwhile I'll also be scouting for work. Life as an actor is not so predictable. If I do a casting next month and things works out I may suddenly have to travel to Spain. Who knows? Maybe I'll get to work Almodovar in the future. 

MB: There are many things I am interested in and I have several ideas. For instance about the Malvinas war in 1982 between Argentina and the United Kingdom, what would it be like if I was a soldier and fell in love? There is an actual script finished. I can not tell you everything, but let's call that project, ‘The Astronaut’. I plan to make it a comedy. The ideas is to play on that fear that some straight people have about being gay. It is challenging, because good comedy is actually much more difficult then drama.’ Berger explains: ‘There will be a stronger emphasis on dialogue but comical. I always say my films can be played by any actor, however, for this script casting is key. I typically scout for young and handsome actors, but for this project delivery is very important. I have my sights set on someone who is really sharp and handsome. This is all still in my head. I'm thinking of shooting in spring 2022. Maybe I will make and independent movie in-between.   

We will certainly be looking forward to this. In the meantime you can enjoy most of Berger's movies by ordering them on DVD via the big online stores, or try your luck at the local music or gay stores.

Overview Filmography Marco Berger:  

  • Marco Berger’s movie Plan B from 2009 was his break through feature about an ex-lover who plans to befriend the new boyfriend of is former girlfriend. He wants to drive them apart, but of course things don’t exactly go according to plan.  
  • Berger won the Teddy Award at the Berlin Film Festival in 2011 with his movie Ausente (Absent). A smart movie about the tension between a swim student and his instructor.  
  • One of this proudest achievements to date is Hawaii from 2013 which he made with a minimum of money, but also a maximum of personal freedom and inspiration.  
  • His movie Mariposa (Butterfly) premiered in 2015, which Berger calls his ‘no gay’ movie, to continue that for the future he will stick to the queer stories that he likes to makes so much.  
  • In 2016 he released Taekwondo, made together with Martín Farina, The main gay character is invited to spend the weekend with a friend and finds himself going all over de the place when he discovers he will be surrounded  by half naked straight men most of the time. 
  • 2019 was a very productive year with a smaller feature Un Rubio (the blond one) and El Cazador (the young hunter) a thriller that we will get into in this article. 

    Note: If you see the movies in a row, you can notice several connections. Berger actually leaves ‘Easter eggs’ in his movies that often refer to earlier movies or themes.

At GayRotterdam we think that we are lucky with such interesting visitors and this festival. We like to show and portray visitors to Rotterdam for our website more often. So if you know of someone visiting for a special occasion, please let us know in the contact form of via our social media.

Queer Pub Quiz

maart 26, 2020

 Wij zij trots eerste editie van de GayRotterdam Queer Pub Quiz aan te kondigen. Schrijf je in en test je kennis op het gebied van alles queer – van het furry dierenrijk tot de Olympische spelen, quotes, weetjes en LHBTQI geschiedenis. Zei er iemand Eurovisie...? Is trivia niet je sterkste punt? Bewijs jezelf in onze karaokeronde! Tickets zijn 7,50 per team van max 5 personen. Tickets via het event op onze FaceBook pagina of rechtstreeks bij onze ticket website

De vragen zijn in het Engels, maar er is altijd een Nederlandse vertaling zichtbaar.


Bisexuality immediately doubles your chances for a date on Saturday night.     

Woody Allen



september 23, 2019
In een tijd van big budget films en anonieme megabioscopen, is het goed om te zien dat er plekken zijn die hier weerstand tegen bieden. Plekken zoals LantarenVenster, die de bezoeker de mogelijkheid geven voor een meer ontspannen ervaring. 

Holding The Man

februari 25, 2019

In juli was de spraakmakende film Holding the Man al te zien op het Gay & Lesbian Summer Film Festival in Rotterdam. Op 23 augustus draait de film nogmaals in het Lantaren Venster. Laurens Ohlenroth ging namens GayRotterdam kijken, en schreef de volgende recensie:

Het Internationaal Filmfestival Rotterdam vertoont twaalf dagen lang, verspreid over vele Rotterdamse theaters, een zee van nieuwe speelfilms, documentaires en korte films. Verder biedt het tentoonstellingen, optredens en talkshows. Elk jaar weer, rond eind januari is Rotterdam de spannende en gezellige mondiale filmhoofdstad.

De Doelen vormt altijd het hart van het festival; dé ontmoetingsplaats voor de festivalgangers. Een kleurrijke bijenkorf met bars voor drankjes en hapjes, ruime zitgelegenheid en rondom ruimtes waar performances, debatten en Q&A’s met filmmakers en acteurs plaatsvinden. Een prima plek voor de kersverse bezoeker om het festival te leren begrijpen. Ga hier zitten met je smartphone of tablet om het zeer ruime aanbod van het programma in je op te nemen en keuzes te maken. Hier is ook de centrale kassa waar kaartjes voor het hele festival gekocht kunnen worden en een winkeltje met aantrekkelijke IFFR-gadgets.

De zeven tips van Teun:

Verwacht géén mondain gedoe met sterren en andere hoogwaardigheidsbekleders. Alles is informeel en relaxed; één grote picknick. Stel je daarop in.

Kies eerst de dagen/avonden dat je het festival wilt bezoeken en bestudeer voor die (en alléén die) momenten wat het programma biedt wat jou aanspreekt. Maak hier een lijstje van voor jezelf.

Vergeet vooral op het lijstje de in de pers bejubelde films: deze zijn altijd uitverkocht, ténzij je kijkt of er op 'onmogelijke' momenten van vertoning nog plaats is. De meeste films worden meerdere malen en op steeds verschillende tijden en locaties vertoond.

Als je lijstje klaar is, maak dan een ruw bezoekersplan. Let er vooral voor op voldoende tijd in te ruimen tussen de gekozen films of andere events. Soms moet je naar de andere kant van het centrum voor de volgende uitvoering op je lijstje. Koop dan de kaartjes voor de films die je wilt zien. Dit kan ook op de IFFR-site vanaf 19 januari 20.00 uur. Soms bestaat één voorstelling uit meer films; een korte en een lange.

Let bij de keuze op de aard van de ondertiteling en let er vooral op of in de betreffende voorstelling een Q&A met filmmaker/acteurs aan het eind van de voorstelling is gepland. Dit is extra interessant omdat dit het speciale tintje geeft aan het festival. De organisatie doet alle moeite om filmmakers en acteurs in Rotterdam te krijgen.

Mocht je nog een onverwachte ochtend of middag over hebben kies dan een paar films die gelijktijdig in één theater worden gescreend en ga een half uur vóór de voorstelling naar de kassa. Wedden dat het altijd lukt, en een kaartje kost dán €5,50 en is gratis voor Rotterdampashouders. Kijk op de IFFR-site voor passen, prijzen en kortingen.

Maak er een avontuur van. Kies films waaraan je twijfelt óók, je kunt wel eens misgokken, maar mijn ervaring is dat dat maar zelden gebeurt. 


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