André Fischer (54) is a pioneer with regard to the LGBT+ theme, long before this acronym even exists. In 1993, the carioca idealized the MixBrasil Festival, which at the beginning exhibited short films GLS (old acronym that referred to “gays, lesbians and supporters”) and, with the success, in addition to the feature films, today he even curates the works that will be part of the event line-up. Considered the largest festival of diversity in Latin America, MixBrasil has expanded to the point of also hosting theater, music, literature, games, conferences and laboratories on cinema.
Still in the first half of the 90s (1994), Fischer created the MixBrasil portal, becoming an important source of information and culture for the general community. The portal was on the air for 20 years and, in the meantime, André founded the Junior Magazine, which featured sensual photo shoots without explicit nudity and reports on the most diverse subjects.
Restless and multi-talented, André Fischer also embarked on literature, having written more than four books, the most recent being the Practical Manual for Inclusive Language (2020).
In an interview with GAY BLOG BR, André told a little about his trajectory in the different fields in which he worked.
With regard to information and the culture of diversity, you were a pioneer with the MixBrasil portal, which went live from 1994 to 2014. Why the MixBrasil portal ended?
The MixBrasil portal, as well as the TV and radio programs and the magazine publisher, ended up basically for philosophical, economic and personal reasons. It had already lost its relevance, which had been immense in the first 15 years of activity with the changes in the Internet and the market. It was no longer profitable enough to maintain the structure, staff, etc. And I was interested in other topics. We decided to keep and focus on the MixBrasil Festival, which, in any case, had been the origin of everything.
And the Junior Magazine, which you founded in 2007?
The print publishing market as a whole practically ended in Brazil, so imagine an independent publisher. But I think there is another factor. I no longer believed in the editorial project to the point of making a huge effort to keep it alive. It was a very improved, well-made publication, but aimed at a GGG audience, with very consumerist values. I think he fulfilled his role very honorably, but it dated.
What were the biggest challenges in content production in the 90s?
To begin with, find subjects: we often needed to create events ourselves (the LGBT scene was limited at that time), look for characters and, at a time when there was no social network and few people had Internet. And find financial resources to maintain a team.
Thousands of films have passed through the Festival since 1993. What were the films that most impressed you?
What a tough question! There have been more than three thousand films in these 28 years, many have marked my life at different times. I will mention the first ones that come to mind: almost all of Bruce LaBruce, “C.R.A.Z.Y.”, “Fucking Amal”, “Bixa Travesty“, “Go Fish”, “O Príncipe“, “O Terceiro” etc.
Last year, for the first time, the Festival was held online due to the pandemic. What was the balance?
It was excellent, very positive balance. We had time to watch initiatives that took place during the year, learn from others’ mistakes, use good ideas and create our own solutions. In person, in previous years, we had an audience of around 50 thousand people. Online, we not only multiplied the audience by 5, but viewers everywhere in Brazil were able to participate. In addition, we had the opportunity to produce a lot of content that is still available – interviews with directors, lectures, workshops. We created our platform, MixBrasil Play, and in the theater we were able to participate very actively in a fusion movement of the languages of performance with audiovisual.
About Bolsonaro, was there any moment when the Festival was threatened? Is there at risk of not having an upcoming edition?
Quite the contrary, I think that the MixBrasil Festival has never been so strong and consolidated precisely as a fundamental counterpoint to this political setback. The audience was renewed, a lot of new people arrived together and we had an enthusiastic support from partners and sponsors. I always say that the only certainty I have is that the MixBrasil Festival will happen, with or without funds, we will always find a way to do it.
Were you also a columnist for MTV Notícias? How was your relationship with the broadcaster, which was it the only channel that opened doors to diversity in the 90s?
MTV was a key partner in the early years of MixBrasil, it covered and gave a lot of space to the LGBT theme and our activities. After participating for many years on the bench of various programs, I was invited to collaborate with columns and comments for MTV Notícias, it was a very nice experience for 3 years. At the same time, I was also a presenter and editor of the Cine MixBrasil, a program of Canal Brasil/Globosat that was on the air for 7 seasons and was one of the great promoters of the national production of LGBT+ short films.
You are also a writer, having released some books; your most recent work is on inclusive language. What is your positioning regarding neutral language?
The search for a gender-neutral language is a justifiable initiative to include non-binary, agenders, gender fluid or transgender people and that fosters an important discussion on the need for people to fit into a binary gender pattern. But the proposal needs to overcome some practical issues, which start by finding a consensus among systems that use different pronouns and these rules are not yet provided for in dictionaries, spell checkers or writing manuals. Inclusive Language, on the other hand, follows the current norm of the Portuguese language used in Brazil today and has the advantage of being able to be applied universally and immediately, regardless of formal changes.
On YouTube there are several channels dedicated to the LGBT community, what do you think of the content presented by them?
To be honest, I watch and follow more to keep myself informed about what is being produced in our community than for the content itself.
Do you see militancy in the millennial and Z generation?
Yes, it is a militancy done differently. As I stay on the circuit, I identify with many of the issues experienced by millennials. As for what Z and alpha think and do, it requires a little more effort to engage me. There is no point in waiting for them to think and do everything in the same way as my X Generation, which was under other pressures and has other references.
Is there anything in the current LGBT+ culture that you believe is extremely against the movement itself?
As the demands and idiosyncrasies of each subgroup become more and more specific, it seems that some LGBTQI+ people begin to see peers as rivals. This weakens the community at a time when what we would need most would be unity and strength to face the threats common to all of us.
At the time of the Mix portal, you had a greater involvement with the SP Parade. Many people, including famous people, left the association for different reasons. What is your relationship with the Parade? How do you evaluate the management?
After a long time, I am again very close to the Parade, even acting in this administration that was elected in December as a member of the Council. The Association did a work of rapprochement with the community, from whom it distanced itself a lot, and recognized that it needed to change. It is time for us to be together and I see that in recent editions the Parade has gained a new gas.
You are always involved with several projects at the same time. What are you currently doing? What are your post-pandemic projects?
In addition to the MixBrasil Festival, I am in charge of the Cultural Center for Diversity, equipped by the Municipal Secretary of Culture in the Faria Lima region with a program 100% dedicated to LGBTQI+ cultural production. In February, I launch the Extended Manual of Inclusive Language, as the name says, a very extended version of the previous one with techniques and reflections on how to write and speak without reinforcing prejudices of gender, sexual orientation, color/race, xenophobia, ageism and capacitism. And a new project, which involves a study on the convergence of languages, which I hope to be able to talk about soon.