Currently approaching his 20th year at the helm of the Berlinale’s Panorama section, the 59-year-old Speck is undoubtedly one of the most important figures in gay cinema in the world.
Having taken over in 1992 from Panorama’s founding director, the late Manfred Salzgeber, Speck has refined the section’s aesthetic, making no secret of its bias towards gay-friendly fare – right down to its annual award, the Golden Teddy – and in the process, helped pioneer an equal footing for LGBT filmmakers and their work at one of Europe’s Big Three fests.
Himself a onetime director (of 1985’s “Westler: East Of The Wall” and 1991’s “Among Men”, to name but two), as well as a former member of agit-prop organization ACT UP, Speck provides an extraordinarily informed perspective on contemporary filmmaking, both in his homeland and aborad, and offers a high-profile showcase for both veteran and neophyte helmers.
Along the way, he’s won praise from industry peers. Marcus Hu, Co-Prexy of NY-based distrib Strand Releasing, echoes the prevailing sentiment when he notes that “As a company, we’ve relied on Wieland’s remarkable track record of discovering new and emerging LGBT talent. We even went full circle with our production of Gregg Araki’s THE LIVING END presented in the Panorama in 1992 and the remixed anniversary last year, which was fantastic.”