Lotte Nielsen:
Haus of Dragons

7. February 2019 to 28. February 2019

As a prelude to FOKUS video art festival 2019, we have the pleasure of presenting the film Haus of Dragons by Lotte Nielsen in our cinema at the Tower Space of Nikolaj Kunsthal.

Haus of Dragons is Lotte Nielsen's second film about the LGBT environment in Istanbul, where a group of young students from the LGBT club are staged in the premises of a remote, abandoned Greek school. 

The LGBT club has been under political pressure, especially since the failed military coup against President Erdogan in July 2016. The Government has replaced the university's former dean with a more Government-friendly dean, who amongst other things and as part of the new political line, has chosen to discontinue the scholarship to support trans students, and for which the LGBT club has collected money in connection with the annual drag show ‘Miss Gender’.

In addition, the Government-friendly press has, according to several young people, written critical and downright misleading articles about the club and its work to promote the rights of LGBT students at the university and in Turkish society in general. The Turkish Government has, in addition to banning the annual Gay Pride, in recent years adopted a number of laws which, in various ways, detract from the rights of LGBT people. All this at a time and in a country where LGBT people are severely harassed, subjected to violence and hate crimes - and even murdered.

Shortly before shooting the film, a demonstration took place at the university, supporting the Turkish Government's involvement in the war in Syria. Some of the young people in the film, along with their friends and fellow students, participated in a counter-demonstration. For several of the students this resulted in them being arrested and subsequently imprisoned, an event that obviously affected the young people significantly and which several of them refer to in the film.

Haus of Dragons follows the youth from the LGBT club over a few days, where they party and dance with each other. They speak and write about glimpses of memories of their childhood, their youth, first love experiences, growing up with a knowledge of being different, moving and settling in to a society where being different can be - and increasingly is - catastrophic.