10 Recommendations for 2016 Hong Kong Lesbian & Gay Film Festival

The 27th Annual Hong Kong Lesbian and Gay Film Festival begins this weekend with some films from the East and ends on October 2 with a big KIKI and in between, there is vogueing, scaring, break-ups, hook-ups and even naked skate boarding.  There are films from Brazil, Argentina, Mongolia, and the first time a film from Myanmar has been shown in the festival (in the Asian Alliance Shorts Program).  Below are ten films that the fest is showing that I highly recommend you go see.  Go and support the festival and see some films.

Weekend-What is it like to be a part of the only gay choir in South Korea?  The opening film WEEKENDS follows G-Voice and their journey to their 10th anniversary concert and the hardships and joys that these men have to go through in their personal lives as well as choir members.  It is just a great doc that explores gay lives in a very conservative Asian country. 

Kiki– if you remember the 1990 documentary PARIS IS BURNING, then KIKI’s premise will sound kind of familiar but it has a completely different purpose than just exploring NYC’s ballroom vogueing scene.  KIKI does not mainly focus on vogueing, it delves into the activism that goes on with the members of each house.  One of the best films I have seen this year and a great choice for a closing film.

The Nest–  Originally a four-part miniseries on Brazilian television about a young gay soldier who goes AWOL and takes refuge in a town that is home to a queer nightclub whose patrons take him under their wings, all four parts were put together to make one film and make the festival rounds. The film has been gaining a lot of attention and awards, including International Special Mention Award at Outfest LA.

Chem Sex – A film that should be titled “Everything You Wanted to Know About Chem Sex But Were Afraid to Ask”.  This film does not hold back on the details of the effects of chem sex or the images that it shows.  A non-judgemental discussion is being planned for after the film in the theatre.

I Promise You Anarchy–  A Mexican film that is reminiscent of the early works of Gus Van Zant, the film is part social commentary, part crime noir mixed with a gay love story.  It is about two friends who are lovers that come from two classes of society in Mexico who sex, skateboarding naked and getting high.  They also are involved in a criminal scheme that involves illegal donations of blood.  The film won Best Latin Film at Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival.

Departure-  First time director Andrew Steggall directs Juliet Stevenson (TRULY, MADLY, DEEPLY) in this film.  Stevenson is a mother who travels to the south of France with her son to empty out a summer home after her split from her husband.  Things take a turn when a local man enters their lives. 

Esteros-  Another Spanish language film, this time from Argentina, ESTEROS refers to the wetlands in Argentina where two childhood friends, Matias and Jeronimo, would spend their summers together until Matias; father moved his family to Brazil.  The friend’s reconnect years later to confront their past and face the uncertainty of their future.

Miles–  A semi-autobiographical film from director Nathan Adloff, MILES stars Molly Shannon and Missi Pyle and the film won the audience award at OUTFEST this year.  Miles, whose family is broke, discovers a loophole that allows him to get a scholarship for a joining a girl’s volleyball team.

Being 17–  Selected to compete for the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival this year, the French film BEING 17 (from Andre Techine who directed WILD REEDS, another gay film from 22 years ago) shows the relationship between two 17 year old boys grow from a hatred of each other to love over the course of 18-months.

LOEV–  You do not see many films about LGBT people coming from India seeing as homosexuality is illegal in India but this year, this film festival has one.  In fact, the film that shows the unexpected romance that happens between two old friends when one returns to Mumbai for a 48-hour business trip, had to be shot in secrecy because of India’s anti-gay laws. 

www.hklgff.hk

– Words by Russell Boaz

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