Sat, Sep 27, 2014 - Page 12 News List

Queers go mainstream

The Taiwan International Queer Film Festival launches its first edition with audience-friendly films

By Ho Yi  /  Staff reporter

Charlie David, I am a Porn Star.

Photo courtesy of TIQFF

While the LGBT community eagerly anticipates the 12th Taiwan LGBT Pride (台灣同志遊行) parade set for Oct. 25, the Taiwan International Queer Film Festival (台灣國際酷兒影展, TIQFF) launches its first edition this weekend with a lineup of 60 feature, documentary and short works from 30 countries. With venues in Taipei and Greater Kaohsiung, the festival aims to bring more visibility to the LGBT community through audience-friendly films, a competition and a production workshop given by industry professionals from Taiwan, South Korea and the US.

“People think gay men are all about flesh and parties ... We want to show that there is a lot more going on than partying, and that there are a lot more sexual and gender identities than gay and lesbian,” festival co-director Jay Lin (林志杰) told the Taipei Times.

The festival will screen works that address a wide range of issues and topics faced by not only gays, but transsexuals, cross-dressers and other gender-variant people. Topics include family, aging, relationships and HIV/AIDS. While conservative Christians may find it hard to believe, some actually offer wholesome, family entertainment.

G.B.F., for example, is an American teen comedy about a gay teenager fought over by three popular girls, who all agree that a “gay best friend” is the trendiest personal accessory.

The award-winning documentary How to Survive a Plague compellingly documents the early days of the AIDS epidemic and the struggles Aids Coalition to Unleash Power (Act Up) had with authorities.

Peter Staley, founder of Act Up affiliate Treatment Action Group and who is featured prominently in the documentary, will attend question-and-answer sessions as well as forums joined by local LGBT-rights activists and NGO leaders.

Festival notes

What: Taiwan International Queer Film Festival (台灣國際酷兒影展)

When and Where: yesterday to Sept. 30 at Taipei Shin Kong Cinemas (台北新光影城), 4F, 36, Xining S Rd, Taipei City (台北市西寧南路36號4樓), Oct. 3 to Oct. 7 at Oscar Digital Theatre (奧斯卡數位影城), 287 Renjhih St, Greater Kaohsiung (高雄市仁智街287號)

Admission: Weekday matinee screenings (before 6pm) cost NT$150 and weeknight and weekend screenings are NT$180, NT$100 for senior citizens aged 65 and up and people with disabilities. Tickets are available through FamilyMart (全家) FamiPort kiosk and at www.famiticket.com.tw

On the net: www.tiqff.com


Apart from film screenings, festival organizers hope to establish a network among filmmakers and industry movers and shakers.

Taiwan International Media and Education Association (台灣國際影音與教育協會) and Portico Media (杰德影音), a media production and distribution company, will collaborate to discuss the importance of producing LGBT-related projects within the media industry.

“Taipei is considered one of the most open and liberal cities in Asia, but there are relatively few LGBT-themed films made here ... We want to set up a platform through which filmmakers and other professionals can develop material, seek funding or network,” says Lin, who is the CEO of Portico Media.

QUEER AWARDS

To discover and encourage new talent, the Taiwan Queer Awards (台灣酷兒獎) was launched to recognize excellence in short filmmaking in Chinese-speaking regions. Five works — all Taiwanese productions — were nominated. The award ceremony will take place on Oct. 5 in Greater Kaohsiung.

Meanwhile, an intense, two-day workshop intended for local filmmakers will focus on the production and distribution of LGBT-related works, as well as specialized topics such as how to generate LGBT content that appeals to mainstream audiences.

Participating speakers include television and film producer and director Kim Jho Gwang-soo from South Korea, whose four gay-themed shorts and debut feature, Two Weddings and a Funeral, will be shown at the festival, and Stephen Israel, the prolific producer behind G.B.F..

Taiwan-born, San Francisco-based filmmaker Leo Chiang (江松長) will share his experience of co-producing Limited Partnership, a documentary about one of the first legally married same-sex couples in the US. The film is on the festival’s lineup.

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