Film as Resistance: Queer Film Festivals in Asia
At Queer East, we believe that arts and culture can contribute to positive social change. Film is one of the most direct and accessible mediums, able to shine a light on issues and situations that people were not previously aware of. This panel invites festival directors, programmers and organisers from across East and Southeast Asia to share their first-hand experiences of working in queer film festivals, from curatorial approaches and audience engagement, to the creation of successful impact and identifying obstacles still remaining. We will also discuss how festivals responded to the Covid-related lockdowns last year, and looking ahead to the post-pandemic era, ask the panellists their views on how ‘streaming’, ‘virtual’ and ‘online’ have now become keywords for cultural events.
Sachiko Imai, Programming Director, Rainbow Reel Tokyo Film Festival
Sachiko Imai has been the programming director of Rainbow Reel Tokyo since 2012. After graduating from Nihon University with a BFA in Film, she has been working in the film industry, mainly in the field of subtitling. She also works for major film festivals in Japan such as the Tokyo International Film Festival and Osaka Asian Film Festival.
Founded in 1992, Rainbow Reel Tokyo (formerly known as Tokyo International Lesbian & Gay Film Festival) is the longest running LGBTQ event in Japan. It is run entirely by volunteers and is known as a place where a diverse group of people can enjoy films together, transcending gender and sexuality barriers. In 2022, the festival will celebrate its 30th anniversary.
Lini Zurlia, Organiser at Southeast Asia Queer Cultural Festival
Lini Zurlia is an Indonesian queer feminist activist. She has been involved with issues relating to women and sexuality, democracy, and human rights in Indonesia for many years. She currently serves as an Advocacy Officer of ASEAN SOGIE Caucus and was part of the organizing team of the 2021 Southeast Asia Queer Cultural Festival.
The Southeast Asia Queer Cultural Festival 2021 is organized by ASEAN SOGIE Caucus, a regional network of LGBTIQ human rights defenders. SEAQCF is a virtual platform that celebrates LGBTIQ inclusion in Southeast Asia. In the festival, advocates, artists and cultural workers came together to share cultural works that reclaim, reimagine, and insist on LGBTIQ belonging in the region, and to build stronger bonds of regional community. Visit https://seaqcf.net/ for more information.
Vita Lin, Co-founder and Festival Director at Taiwan International Queer Film Festival
Vita Lin is an activist, festival director and lecturer who specialise in film studies and festival management. She was the festival director for one of the theme-based film festivals, Women Make Waves and Let Children Be, for many years. With more than 15 years of experience, she has changed and led the young generation to follow their passion and make a difference in society.
Taiwan International Queer Film Festival (TIQFF) was founded in 2014 by Taiwan International Media and Education Association (TIMEA), TIQFF is one of Asia’s largest LGBTIQ+ film festival. The festival also founded the Asia Pacific Queer Film Festival Alliances (APQFFA); it brings in all the LGBTIQ+ film festivals from Asia to share their works, network, and support each other.
Will Dai, CINEMQ Shanghai and Shanghai Queer Film Festival
Will Dai is a Beijing native who makes his home in Shanghai’s queer underground. He is a designer, drag artist(known as Dai Nasty), filmmaker, and musician. He is a member of the underground queer screen culture collective CINEMQ, and the art director for Shanghai Queer Film Festival.
CINEMQ is an unrefined queer cinema collective in Shanghai. We organise events and curate content from around the world, with a focus on Chinese and East Asian queer screen culture. Our monthly thematic screening and party series is filthy and gorgeous, an eclectic mix of short film, visuals and music. We also publish a bilingual web zine focused on Asian LGBTQ+ cinema, produce documentaries, and host Queer Screen Chit Chat, a Chinese livestream show exploring queer experience through the lens of screen culture.
Shanghai Queer Film Festival (SHQFF) is the first independent LGBTQ-themed film festival in Shanghai. Launched in 2016, we run a series of events every fall to celebrate queer cinema and culture. As a non-profit organization, our team is run entirely by volunteers. SHQFF hosts screenings and discussions of queer films, as well as film-related activities like practical workshops, parties, and forums. All of our events are open to the public for free.
Kristina Pringle (Yu Shin Tsai), Programmer & Designer at Fringe! Queer Film & Arts Fest
Kristina Pringle 蔡宇欣 (She/They) is a Taiwanese filmmaker & film programmer based in London, where she has worked as film programmer & designer for Fringe! since 2018. With a background in Film Studies (King’s College London) and Documentary Filmmaking (UCL- Open City Doc School), her work aims to foreground the voices of underrepresented communities in the film industry.
Rico Johnson-Sinclair, Programmer at Fringe! Queer Film & Arts Fest
After working with Flatpack Festival in Birmingham in 2017, Rico Johnson-Sinclair went on to build CineQ (Birmingham’s Queer Film Festival that prioritises Queer and Trans People of Colour) which is now in it’s 4th Year. He’s also a new BAFTA Voting Member. Outside of programming and exhibition, Rico consults with organisations around events that focus on inclusion and diversity. Not limited to film, Rico has lead campaigns that focus on marginalised communities. He was also Festival Manager of SHOUT Festival, Birmingham’s Queer arts and culture festival offering a mix of dance, music, theatre, live art, visual arts and film and has previously worked for organisations such as Coventry City of Culture and Film Hub Midlands. He is currently Race Equality Lead for the BFI, working to bring a critical perspective into conversations about race in the film industry. He recently produced the BFI NETWORK backed film ‘Sweet Mother’ in 2019 written and directed by Zane Igbe and is currently working on his first short film as Writer/Director named ‘PREY’ which was also funded by BFI Network.
Founded in 2011, Fringe! Queer Film & Arts Fest is an entirely volunteer-run organisation rooted in East London’s queer creative scene. Each November, Fringe! showcases an eclectic mix of films, arts and events celebrating LGBTIQA+ stories from around the world, welcoming everybody into its warm festival embrace.
With support from Fringe! Queer Film & Arts Fest, Japan Foundation London, and Ministry of Culture, Taiwan.