PRESS RELEASE May 3, 2003
Police forces prevent last year's Pride violence:
Zagreb -- The 1st stage of the 6th ILGCN (International Lesbian &Gay Cultural Network) World Lesbian & Gay Cultural Conference took place in the Croatian capital as part of "Queer Zagreb" -- a powerful event filled with theater, films, art and photography, discussions, debates and festivities between April 25-30. This was an impressive reponse to last year's tear-gas drenched violence against the 1st Zagreb Pride.
'"Queer Zagreb was a great success, all the programmes were well attended, national media coverage was extensive and positive and the festival stimulated a wide public discussion on lgbt issues," says co-ordinator Zvonimir Dobrovic' .
The event took place at Zagreb's Goethe Institute, various theaters and cinemas, and different club locals -- all well protected by police and private security guards -- scaring off the skin-head and neo nazi attacks from last year and blocking demonstrations of bible-carrying religious fanatics yelling in loud speakers and passing out homophobic leaflets.
"We're pleased that the event could also include a stage of our
series program about Nazi and neo-nazi persecution of homosexuals --
using films, photos, publications, art and discussions -- illustrating
the link between the violence of the past and today," says Bill
Schiller, ILGCN-Nordic. Other stages for this booked this year
include Skopje in November.
Bloody Violence in Belgrade to Rainbows in Alaska
Other film screenings included a documentary on last year's bloody and brutal attacks against Belgrade Pride, the first Croatian lesbian feature film, a documentary on Anchorage's rainbow parade response to the mayor's closing a library homo exhibition, prize-winning films of ILGCN-Toronto ambassador, Paul Lee, video art by Erica Eaton and Pamela Hawkins - ILGCN American ambassadors -- and "Breaking the Silence" by Dutch Amnesty.
Art work included an extensive exhibit at the student university's local and the world conference screening of Tupilak (Nordic homo cultural workers) Nordic art and photo slide collection with work from Iceland to Latvia, plus Sweden's ILGCN cultural ambassdor Nina Boström's photo exhibit "1st Jerusalem Pride" -- which took place despite threats, bullets and bombs.
The ILGCN conference also approved new co-ordinators from Macedonia, Slovenia, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Croatia, Poland and Alaska -- and the first ILGCN cultural ambassdors from Serbia. Also approved were candidate cities for future conference stages: Sarejevo, Ljubjana, Tallinn and Belgrade.
Berlin: 2nd stage world culture conference in September
"We are making the final preparations for the 2nd stage of thisyear's ILGCN world conference in Berlin between September 25-28 -- and especially hope that a number of our colleagues from the Balkan region will join us," says ILGCN co-ordinator, Colin de la Motte-Sherman (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Zagreb conference included the annual ILGCN "Grizzly Bear" award ceremony -- honoring pioneering work in extremely ferocious conditions -- going this time to Croatian women and men working on Queer Zagreb and the brand new Macedonian group, the Center for Civil and Human Rights, in Skopje.
The ILGCN conference ended with the symbolic awarding of the "Warsaw Lights" burning candles to representatives of each participating nationality -- a gesture launched at the world conference in the Polish capital in 2000 and carried out ever since.
Financial support from the Swedish Institute made it posbile for
the Swedish delegate to attend the Zagreb event.