Established in 1997, Mongay is our longest-running film series, taking place every Monday at 22:00. The series was inspired by an extraordinary day in the history of its location, Kino International. On an unforgettable night in 1989, Coming Out, the first East-German film featuring gay protagonists premiered here. During the first screening, the Berlin Wall fell. Once guests left the cinema, they found themselves in a completely different city.
While LGBTQ+ films have been an essential centerpiece of our programming and identity throughout our 40-year company history, Mongay has a special place in our hearts. And when you browse through more than 24 years, 900 films, and 1200 screenings, you can't help but notice how cinema, audiences, and society have evolved since its inception.
There was barely any mainstream representation when Mongay was founded. Its early programming was heavily influenced by the legacy of New Queer Cinema, and the films of Derek Jarman have been screened multiple times throughout the decades. Mongay has followed filmmakers like Rosa von Praunheim, Pedro Almodóvar, Wong Kar Wei, and Todd Haynes throughout their careers. It showcased new German directors and welcomed esteemed guests throughout its history.
For many, it has also always been a crucial part of Mongay to enjoy mainstream cinema with a community audience, like in the instance of Mamma Mia or the Shrek franchise (yes, Shrek, Shrek II, and Shrek III really were part of Mongay.)
Most of all, it has also provided a home for film lovers and audiences. It has been a place for singles, friends, couples, and dates to gather, discuss films, and meet people for more than two decades.
Not only has society's acceptance towards the LGBTQ+ community increased throughout the years: films like "Love, Simon" seemed unimaginable just ten years ago. The plurality and diversity of identities have received more representation within the LGBTQ+ community and within Queer Cinema as well.
Covid-19 has forced Mongay into its only two long-lasting breaks in its history. As we've reflected on its history, we cannot help but get excited about its future. How will the next 24 years of Mongay look? How will films and storytelling evolve? What new voices will emerge?
And mostly, we can't wait for the day we're allowed to gather with 550 other people to collectively experience LGBTQ+ stories on the big screen.