Queer East Festival, 18 -30 April 2023, Various London Venues
Get ready for an explosive celebration of queer cinema and performance art as Queer East Festival returns for its fourth year with a jam-packed program that pushes boundaries, challenges stereotypes, and celebrates diversity. From 18 to 30 April, across eight venues in London, the festival will showcase an incredible range of contemporary feature films, documentaries, short films, VR cinematic experiences, dance productions, and more.
The festival opens with an unmissable Opening Night Gala at BFI Southbank, featuring the UK Premiere of I Love You, Beksman, a hilarious high-camp comedy directed by Percival Intalan. The film follows the story of Dali, a makeup artist and fashion designer who is mistaken by his queer family, colleagues, and friends to be gay. However, when Dali falls for beauty pageant queen Angel, he is forced to come out as straight, but nobody believes him, not even Angel. The film promises to be a fun and uplifting exploration of identity, packed with music and laughter.
The festival concludes at Barbican Cinema with the UK Premiere of Home Ground, a moving documentary directed by Jang Sun. The film tells the story of Korea’s first lesbian bar, Lesbos, which opened its doors in 1996 after the women-only cafe Chanel was shut down by the police in 1976. Home Ground chronicles the bar’s history through the experience of bar owner Myong-woo and the struggles and hope of the city’s lesbian community. The film is a poignant reminder of the importance of safe spaces for marginalized communities and a vital piece of contemporary Korean LGBTQ+ filmmaking.
Throughout the festival, audiences can expect to see 50 films from 17 countries across East and Southeast Asia, including 15 titles from Focus Korea, showcasing the vibrant tradition of queer filmmaking despite conservative social attitudes towards LGBTQ+ rights. Expanded Short and Artists’ Moving Image Programs offer in-depth explorations of the current queer landscape in Asia, with films that explore playful and fluid queerness through cross-dressing and gender-reversed casting.
Queer East Festival 2023 isn’t just about the film – it also features two international dance productions, Robin Numanong’s Cyborg DNA and Choy Ka Fai’s Yishun is Burning, which explores the intersection between technology, digital art, physical movement, and queer identities. These exceptional performance works highlight the themes of queer performance central to this year’s program, offering an alternative way of navigating intersections between technology, digital art, physical movement, and queer identities.
After the main festival in London, Queer East 2023 will embark on a nationwide tour from September to November, visiting ten cities across the UK. With its diverse and thought-provoking program, Queer East Festival continues to be a vital platform for showcasing LGBTQ+ voices and perspectives across Asia and beyond.
Get ready to be inspired, provoked, and engaged by Queer East Festival 2023. Whether you’re a cinephile, a performance art enthusiast, or simply curious about queer culture and identities, this festival has something for you. With its diverse and inclusive program, Queer East Festival is an essential platform for celebrating LGBTQ+ voices and perspectives, challenging societal norms, and promoting empathy and understanding. So take advantage of this unique and inspiring festival experience – book your tickets now!
About Queer East Festival
Queer East is back and bolder than ever, bringing you an electrifying mix of boundary-pushing LGBTQ+ cinema, live arts, and moving image work from East and Southeast Asia and beyond. The festival runs in various venues across London, showcasing diverse perspectives on what it means to be queer and Asian today.
The festival was born from a need for a more authentic and fair representation of Asian voices in the arts. Recent global events have only reinforced the importance of intersectional representation and the celebration of diverse identities. Queer East Festival is committed to promoting the richness of Asian and queer heritage and challenging conventional norms, labels, and stereotypes associated with queer Asian portrayals.
Collaborating with allies across the film, arts, and cultural sectors, Queer East aims to create an inclusive and welcoming space for everyone to explore the contemporary queer landscape across East and Southeast Asia. Through its diverse and forward-thinking program, the festival aims to amplify the voices of Asian communities and promote empathy, understanding, and social change.
Main image: Let Me Hear It Barefoot (Japan) (Queer East 2023)