Ben Galster reflects on the LGBTQIA+ experience in Poland in an intimate portrait of queer photographer Leo Maki
Initiating conversation about the LGBTQIA+ experience in Poland, director Ben Galster captures a cinematic portrait of Warsaw-based queer photographer Leo Maki in short film The Hidden Dimension. Illuminated by colour, Maki’s work challenges traditional male stereotypes through the themes of intimacy, desire, and eroticism – yet, in recent years, his native Poland has seen a marked escalation in anti-LGBT hate speech.
Created with Berlin-based queer platform Container Love, The Hidden Dimension takes an intimate journey into Maki’s daily life, creative practice, and experience of his craft against the landscape of a country where same-sex civil unions remain outlawed. Highlighting the importance of queer spaces in adverse contexts, and the beauty and complexity they give life to, Galster navigates prejudices and gaps in understanding imposed on LGBTQIA+ communities across the globe – and the self-created sense of safety and empowerment achieved through creativity.
Considering the impact of adversity, and the emergence of self-expression against the odds, The Hidden Dimension sheds light on action still needed to further LGBTQIA+ rights, stressing that queer identities matter, exist, and must be a key consideration for the creation of democratic, safe societies.
June 6, 2023