London’s Queer East Film Festival will run a virtual program of four freetostream Asian documentaries from July 331, as cinema closures due to coronavirus force its regular programming online.
The festival typically seeks to bring rarely seen LGBTQ+ films from East and Southeast Asia to the U.K., but this year’s online iteration will be mostly available to viewers worldwide.
Its “QE: Docs4Pride” virtual program features selections from the Philippines, China, Taiwan and Japan. They are: “Out Run,” which chronicles the campaign efforts of Ladlad, one of the world’s only LGBTQ+ political parties, in its attempt to get the Philippines’ first transgender woman elected to congress; “Shanghai Queer,” which documents LGBTQ+ activism in the Chinese metropolis from 2003 to 2018; “Taipeilove*,” a look at Taiwan’s move to legalize samesex marriage; and “Of Love and Law,” recounting the story of an openly gay couple who run Japan’s first LGBTQ+ law firm. The last film will only available to stream in U.K. and Ireland.
Festival director and programmer Yi Wang explained that the festival “aims to amplify the otherwise unheard voices of people of color in the LGBTQ+ community and facilitate constructive conversations about the intersectionality of race, gender identity, sexual orientation, and nationality.”
“Global events this year are a strong reminder of the importance activism and reflection play in progressing rights,” he added.
“QE: Docs4Pride” is the event’s second virtual film series since coronavirus shut cinemas. It comes on the heels of a special VOD capsule series that ran from midApril to midMay dubbed “QE: HomeSexual.” That program consisted of two featurelength documentaries and a series of shorts available to rent for around $3.50, with all proceeds going to independent cinemas that were supposed to have partnered with the festival this year. It featured Taiwanese director HuiChen Huang’s touching “Small Talk,” the 2017 Berlinale’s Teddy Award winner for best documentary, and Chinese filmmaker Fan Popo’s “Mama Rainbow,” both films about parents and families coming to terms with a member’s LGBTQ+ identity.
Pride parades and events worldwide have been cancelled, downsized or gone virtual because of COVID19 — but not in Taiwan, which currently has just five known cases.
On Sunday, a few hundred people braved the rain to march in central Taipei. The event was quickly pulled together after organizers realized there would likely not be any other largescale, inperson events to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the firstever Gay Pride march, held in New York a year after the Stonewall Riots.
“The whole world is facing the height of the pandemic,” organizer Darien Chen told BBC, saying that in Taiwan, “we must continue with this flame of hope and stand up for the world.”