Queer East Film Festival returns for a second year [15 to 26 SEP 2021]

Queer East Film Festival returns for a second year with a full programme centred on queer storytelling & activism from East & Southeast Asia. Now booking at venues across London (15 to 26 SEP 2021).

By RADIANT CIRCUS // Twitter @radiantcircus | Instagram @radiantcircus

After a turbulent but brilliantly creative launch year in 2020, the wonderful Queer East Film Festival returns with a full programme for 2021 including a selection of 37 features, short films and artists’ moving image works from 15 countries. The film choices range from new releases to classic retrospectives, mainstream box office hits to radical independent works, accompanied by pre-screening introductions and filmmaker Q&As.

As with many events, the festival is opting for a blended approach to its interactive elements, promoting a series of online panel discussions with international guests throughout the festival period. These will cover such topics as women in the film industry, queer film festivals, and the development of Asian LGBTQ+ movements.

Launched in 2020, Queer East is a new film festival that aims to amplify the voices of Asian communities in the UK, who have often been excluded from mainstream discourse, despite Asians being one of the country’s fastest-growing ethnic groups. They’re also determined to facilitate a better understanding of the richness of queer Asian heritage, and to bridge the cultural distance between the UK public and the region.


DEAR TENANT (2020) – Closing night film at Queer East Film Festival 2021.

The second edition of Queer East opens with the UK premiere of DAUGHTERS (2020 – main featured image), the directorial debut of Japanese filmmaker Hajime Tsuda; and will close with the multi award-winning DEAR TENANT (2020), directed by Taiwanese filmmaker Yu-Chieh Cheng.

Japan’s history of iconoclastic, inventive and unapologetic queer filmmaking, and its growing strength in advancing LGBTQ+ rights is celebrated in a special strand, Focus Japan, including ten films that cover queer representations in Japanese films from the 1980s until today. It features a double bill from the Japanese maestro Nagisa Oshima; MERRY CHRISTMAS, MR. LAWRENCE (1983) and a rare 35mm presentation of GOHATTO (1999); a queer revisiting of the 1995 animation GHOST IN THE SHELL (d. Mamoru Oshii) and the 20th anniversary screening of Ryosuke Hashiguchi’s HUSH! (2001), alongside recent releases like QUEER JAPAN (d. Graham Kolbeins, 2019) and CLOSE-KNIT (d. Naoko Ogigami, 2017).

Building on the success of last year, the festival’s Focus Taiwan strand continues with DAYS (2020) by the internationally acclaimed auteur Tsai Ming-Liang, the UK premiere of Teddy-award winning director Zero Chou’s SECRETS OF 1979 (2021), and a special presentation of THE END OF THE TRACK (d. Tun-Fei Mou), a rediscovered classic made in 1970. The series also includes an exciting line-up of short films and experimental works that showcase Taiwan’s vibrant queer culture.

Yi Wang, Festival Director and Programmer for Queer East, had this to say about the programme:

“Global events in the past year, from Covid-19-related anti-Asian attacks to the Black Lives Matter movement, have once again reminded us how vital fair and authentic racial and sexual representation is for our society. LGBTQ+ people have had labels, stereotypes and stigmas imposed on them for a long time. For me, queer is a word without consistent meaning, and we should not settle on a one-note definition. I believe that film is one of the most direct and accessible mediums that allows us to address issues and situations that people simply weren’t aware of before. Films enable us to construct a more positive, inclusive and dynamic LGBTQ+ narrative both outside and within the LGBTQ+ communities.”

Yi Wang / Queer East

Queer East Film Festival screens from 15 to 26 SEP at venues across London & online, & is booking now!

#QueerEast #QEFF2021




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