The idea of a Queer Lion sparked in 2003 from an interview for the monthly magazine Venezia News, made by journalist and fim critic Daniel N. Casagrande to the director of the Venice Film Festival Moritz De Hadeln. Casagrande asked De Hadeln if he would have allowed the creation of a specific award for queer cinema in Venice, the same way he had endorsed, 20 years before, the creation of Teddy Bear Award at the Berlin Film Festival.
Despite a positive answer from De Hadeln, he was not reappointed to the direction of the Festival, therefore preventing the Queer Lion from seeing the light already in 2004. The project started again under the new Festival director Marco Müller, and had its inaugural edition during the 64. Venice International Film Festival.
The Queer Lion Award was therefore founded in 2007 thanks to Daniel N. Casagrande and Marco Müller, as a collateral award recognising the “Best Film with Homosexual & Queer Culture Themes”.
The award – supported from the start by former M.P. and LGBT activist Franco Grillini – is fully endorsed, since 2012 by Alberto Barbera, current director of the Venice International Film Festival.
The award singles out, each year, the title deemed most deserving, both for artistic contribution, social impact and civil commitment, among all the LGBT-themed works presented in the Festival’s sidebars and parallel sections: Competition, Out of Competition, Horizons, Venice Classics, Biennale College, Sconfini, Venice Days, International Critics’ Week.
The Biennale of Venice officially recognizes Queer Lion as ‘collateral award of the Venice International Film Festival’, and actively cooperates every year, granting the organization of the award direct access to the structures and facilities of the Festival, as well as inserting the prize in its official list of collateral awards.