Hong Kong Lesbian and Gay Film Festival 2014

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Sep 13-Sep 26
 

Arthur Tam talks to director of the Hong Kong Lesbian and Gay Film Festival Joe Lam about the focus of this year’s festival

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Hong Kong Lesbian Gay Film Festival (HKLGFF) making it the longest standing LGBTI film festival in all of Asia. This is a triumphant feat and a milestone for the festival’s organisers and its director Joe Lam, who have worked hard to preserve the essence of the fest in light of all the anti-gay demonstrations that have happened in recent months. “This year, instead of a graphic image for the cover of the festival, we have invited 40 couples to take part in a photoshoot,” says Lam. “The purpose is to give visibility to the gay community by showing real loving couples to naysayers and dispelling misconceptions.”

This year’s curation and focus looks to a more mature, and often forgotten, segment of the LGBTI community – the elderly. “We’ve never had a senior section before,” says Lam. “Our inspiration came from Dr Travis Kong, who earlier this year released a book called Oral History of Older Gay Men in Hong Kong (see our interview with Dr Kong here). The book sold out and we realised there are a lot of people out there that care about the elderly.” Because of Kong’s dedication in bringing forward the issues facing older members of the gay community, he is going to be the recipient of this year’s Prism award, which is given to people who have made exceptional contributions to the LGBTI community.

The second goal for this year’s festival is to have a stronger focus on documentaries by dedicating a whole section to them. “We want the festival to provide some kind of education. It used to be more commercial, so this time around we want something more meaningful,” Lam comments. To support this, documentary screenings are priced at $50 a pop, half the cost of other films in the festival. Organisers felt that the discounted price would stimulate a higher turnout.

Notable films in this section include Regarding Susan Sontag, which follows the life of the influential writer and activist of the past century through her professional and personal life during the last century.

For the past year, it has been hard to escape the blatant discrimination against the LGBTI community in Russia, which is why popular international porn star Michael Lucas has decided to release Campaign of Hate: Russia and Gay Propaganda, to reveal what really goes on up in the icy cold federation.

As tradition dictates, the festival opens up with one gay film and one lesbian one. Love is Strange (rated with five stars by Time Out New York) is a tale warning of the perils that lie ahead in marriage for elderly gay couple Ben (played by John Lithgow) and George (played by Alfred Molina), who have been together for the past four decades. The film has been called a triumph for director Ira Sachs and features career-topping performances for both Lithgow and Molina.

The other opening film, Life Partners, is a comedy directed by Susanna Fogel and follows straight A-type personality Paige (played by Gillian Jacobs) and her lesbian sloth of a friend Sasha (played by Leighton Meester). The friendship of the co-dependent duo becomes complicated when they make a pact that Paige won’t get married until Sasha gets the same legal rights as her. Naturally Paige meets a drop dead gorgeous doctor of a man, who she’ll have to resist for the sake of friendship – hijinks ensue.

The festival has an impactful and powerful lineup this year and be sure not to miss the first ever secret special screening on September 19 at 9.50pm at the Palace IFC. Tickets are on sale now, and be sure to keep your ticket stub, as it’s your pass to go to the HKLGFF party at XXX Gallery out in Sai Wan. Tickets do sell out quick, so start planning ahead to be part of the most renowned LGBTI event in HK as it moves forward into its next quarter century.

Hong Kong Lesbian and Gay Film Festival Sep 13-26, various venues. For full programme and ticketing details, visit hklgff.hk.

 

Saturday September 13

7:30 pm - LOVE IS STRANGE
8:00 pm - Life Partners

Sunday September 14

3:40 pm - The Circle
5:40 pm - Boys Shorts III: Red
6:10 pm - Futuro Beach
6:20 pm - Campaign of Hate: Russia & Gay Propaganda
7:30 pm - Girls Shorts: Underground Love
7:55 pm - Boys
8:10 pm - The 10 Year Plan
9:50 pm - Appropriate Behavior
9:50 pm - Boys Shorts 1: Desire

Monday September 15

8:00 pm - Limited Partnership
8:00 pm - Eat With Me
9:50 pm - Tiger Orange
9:50 pm - Land of Storms

Tuesday September 16

7:40 pm - Before You Know It
7:50 pm - Boys
8:00 pm - Something Must Break
9:50 pm - Waiting for the Wings: The Musical

Wednesday September 17

7:25 pm - Xenia
8:10 pm - The Third One
9:50 pm - Boys Shorts II: Lives

Thursday September 18

7:50 pm - Regarding Susan Sontag
8:00 pm - The 10 Year Plan
8:10 pm - Happy End?!

Friday September 19

7:30 pm - I Am Happiness on Earth
7:50 pm - The Circle
7:50 pm - Land of Storms
9:50 pm - Appropriate Behavior
9:50 pm - Surprise Screening
9:50 pm - Salvation Army

Saturday September 20

2:50 pm - Tiger Orange
4:00 pm - Girls Shorts: Underground Love
4:00 pm - Tom at the Farm
4:20 pm - The Third One
5:45 pm - Waiting for the Wings: The Musical
6:00 pm - Boys Shorts II: Lives
6:00 pm - Frangipani
7:45 pm - 52 Tuesdays
7:55 pm - Eat With Me

Sunday September 21

3:40 pm - Unfriend
3:55 pm - Tru Love
4:10 pm - Happy End?!
5:30 pm - I Am Happiness on Earth
5:45 pm - Before You Know It
5:50 pm - John Apple Jack
7:50 pm - Xenia
7:50 pm - Gerontophilia
8:00 pm - Life Partners
9:50 pm - LOVE IS STRANGE
9:50 pm - Salvation Army

Monday September 22

7:45 pm - Waiting for the Wings: The Musical
7:50 pm - Tom at the Farm
8:00 pm - Frangipani
9:50 pm - Tru Love
9:50 pm - The Third One
9:50 pm - Campaign of Hate: Russia & Gay Propaganda

Tuesday September 23

7:40 pm - John Apple Jack
8:00 pm - Limited Partnership
8:00 pm - Unfriend
9:50 pm - Futuro Beach
9:50 pm - The 10 Year Plan

Wednesday September 24

8:10 pm - Boys
8:10 pm - Boys Shorts III: Red
9:50 pm - Regarding Susan Sontag
9:50 pm - 52 Tuesdays
10:00 pm - 20 Lies, 4 Parents & a Little Egg

Thursday September 25

7:40 pm - Gerontophilia
8:10 pm - 20 Lies, 4 Parents & a Little Egg
8:10 pm - Something Must Break
9:50 pm - Life Partners
9:50 pm - Boys Shorts 1: Desire

Friday September 26

7:30 pm - Anita's Last Cha-Cha
7:30 pm - The Way He Looks

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