Roze Filmdagen – The Best of Gay and Lesbian Cinema

Roze Filmdagen – The Best of Gay and Lesbian Cinema

The 16th edition of Amsterdam’s

exceptional LGBT film festival, known as Roze Filmdagen, opens at the

spectacular Eye Film Institute on the 13th of March 2013 and

continues for the next eleven days at the equally charismatic Ketelhuis,

impressing audiences with a stunning collection of classics from the inspiring

world of gay cinema.

Boasting a

prestigious reputation amongst both the public and the critics, the Roze

Filmdagen, literally translated as Pink Film Days, has remained a hotly

anticipated event for the city’s LGBT community since its triumphant opening in

1996. Its predecessor, the International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival Holland,

originated ten years previous, occurring once every five years within

underground cinemas across the capital. After discovering the third instalment had

been cancelled, a group of employees from the film theatres Rialto and Cavia

respectively decided to instigate their own festival and hence the Roze

Filmdagen was born.


the Netherlands, being a land of unabashed tolerance, showcased several

mainstream gay films throughout the 90s, the vast majority of smaller

independent productions, shorts and documentaries disappeared unnoticed,

prompting the cinemas to create a festival offering a more diverse and

subsequently a more authentic portrayal of homosexual and transgendered life.

This broadening of horizons and inclusion of less conventional cinematic forms emphatically

strengthened the event’s appeal, allowing audiences a fascinating insight into

queer nature across the globe.

The 2012

edition witnessed an unprecedented 8,000 visitors that descended upon the

unique Ketelhuis for a feast of rousing, heart wrenching and hilarious tales.

With its industrial heritage and inimitable aesthetic, this distinctive setting

always provides an endearing venue for a rewarding cinematic treat, residing

within Amsterdam’s beloved cultural expanse of the Westerpark. This picturesque

position was also a destination of convenience for myself, living within ten

minutes cycling distance of the festival’s location.

So my first

introduction to the Roze Filmdagen transpired on a typically wet March evening,

as I arrived into the warmth and atmospheric buzz of the cinema’s foyer, an

open area saturated with cosy tables and a well equipped bar. We had chosen

Circumstance for a number of reasons,

primarily as a result of its success on

the festival scene and also due to its depiction of lesbian life in Iran, a

subject certainly intriguing to an uninformed westerner such as myself. The

auditorium was completely full and populated by a healthy mix of men and women,

with an expectant yet jovial ambience pervading the crowd. An introduction to

the movie was delivered by a volunteer, a contribution granted to every

screening, and a ballot handed out for rating the film’s merit in preparation

for the series of accolades bestowed upon the winners at the closing awards



I was a little taken aback as the translation was in Dutch, however the

majority of non English presentations do provide English subtitles so be sure

to check the event’s webpage before making your selection. Despite the lack of

complete understanding, the film floored me with its visual intensity,

agreeable leads and motivational propensity, delivering me into an exotic world

of both beauty and horror. The audience appeared to agree as the credits rolled

and approving murmurs ruptured the silence.

The 2013 Roze

Filmdagen promises even more inspirational narratives, tempting spectators with

an incredible repertoire of almost 120 performances representing a colourful

spectrum of gay, lesbian and transgender existence. Homosexual travellers, or

indeed film fanatics of all persuasions, fortunate enough to be visiting

Amsterdam during the festival’s duration are implored to take advantage of this

fantastic opportunity to join me and thousands of like minded individuals for a

gay cinematic extravaganza to treasure indefinitely.

For more

information and to purchase tickets visit the festival’s website at

or check out the concise English version at