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24 Jan 2008

singapore holds first festival dedicated to LGBT feature films: jan 25 - 27

The Love and Pride Film Festival is the first festival here dedicated to feature films of LGBT interests. But publicity by its organiser Golden Village is discreet and minimal.

China has it. Indonesia has it. India has it. Japan, Hong Kong, Korea and the Philippines all have it. And this weekend, Singapore might just be having its first.

Organised by cinema chain Golden Village (GV), Singapore will be seeing its first film festival dedicated to gay and lesbian feature films.

It's called the Love & Pride Film Festival and its modest slate of films consists of only seven titles screened over three days. Although all these films have been cleared by censors and shown separately in Singapore cinemas in 2006 and 2007, GV felt that the films still have sufficient drawing power to attract new and repeat viewers.

(Check out our Fridae Festival Guide for a list and synopses of films playing.)

Ching Su-yin, GV's marketing manager, tells Fridae: "In the past few years, we've seen some wonderful critically-acclaimed films that deal with the theme of gender and sexuality. We felt that it would be a great idea to bring them back in a special festival dedicated to such films."

Most of the selected films performed well at the box-office when they were first released, drawing sizeable gay and straight audiences. Brokeback Mountain, in particular, was a big box-office hit. The four screenings of Brokeback this weekend will be made especially poignant by the fact that its star Heath Ledger died of a drug overdose on Tuesday.

Unlike the Short Circuit film festival - a private festival organised by gay activist Alex Au, poet-playwright Alfian Sa'at and Boo Junfeng and featuring gay-themed short films by local filmmakers - the Love & Pride Film Festival does not seem motivated by social or political concerns, but primarily commercial ones.

Ching says that GV organises annual film festivals for embassies all year round, such as the annual European Union Film Festival as well as the Italian, Japanese and Norwegian Film Festival.

But as January is a quiet month for them - they had decided to plan a festival on their own, centering on critically-acclaimed films of a certain theme.

It just so happened that there has been a surge of high-quality LGBT films in recent years. In fact, 2007 alone saw more than 30 films with gay and lesbian interests. (See the table below.) These films were brought in by major and boutique distributors including GV, Shaw, Cathay, Festive Films, Warner-Fox, UIP, Archer Entertainment, Encore Films, Lighthouse Pictures, BVI, Fortissimo Films, and others.

And so, dedicating a festival to such films seemed like a natural choice.

As this is the first time GV is organising a festival without the collaboration of an embassy, it has been modest in its advertising efforts. There hasn't been much publicity for the Love & Pride Film Festival in mainstream media, but GV has put ads and notices on gay websites such as Fridae. Several web forums have also picked up on the news and are vigorously discussing it.

Fridae would like to thank all the distributors who have supported the distributions and release of LGBT feature films in past and coming years. Thanks to you, wonderful stories of queer men and women are being given an opportunity to be seen and heard.

The Love & Pride Film Festival will be playing at GV Grand and GV Vivocity Gold Class cinema this weekend from Jan 25-27. Tickets at GV Grand are at $7 per movie, or $18 for three movies together. Tickets at GV Vivocity Gold Class cinema are at $98 for two persons and come with a glass of Moet & Chandon champagne each and strawberries fondue. To check timings and book tickets, log on the link provided below.

Next page: Gay Films of 2007
Gay Films of 2007

2007 saw a surge of films with gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender interests. Fridae lists all 33 of them according to their release dates in Singapore, starting with Big Bang Love in January:

Big Bang Love -
Japanese gay arthouse romance by Takashi Miike (Audition)

Metrosexual -
Thai comedy about how to differentiate gay from metrosexual

Running With Scissors -
Hollywood drama about a gay teenager growing up

Berbagi Suami (Love For Share) -
Indonesian women's drama with a lesbian subplot

Volver -
Spanish women's drama directed by gay auteur Pedro Almodovar

Paris, Je T'aime -
French drama with gay subplot directed by gay helmer Gus Van Sant

Notes On A Scandal -
Judi Dench as lesbian teacher in love with Cate Blanchett

20 Centimeters -
Spanish comedy about transvestite whose lifelong dream is to remove her 20cm-long manhood

300 -
Homoerotic Hollywood period drama with abs, abs, abs and a gay King Xerxes

The History Boys -
English comedy about two gay teachers teaching rowdy boys

Cages -
Singapore drama by openly gay director Graham Streeter. Supported by Singapore's Media Development Authority

I Don' Want to Sleep Alone -
Homoerotic attraction between Chinese man and Indian foreign worker. Made in Malaysia by gay helmer Tsai Ming Liang.

Eternal Summer -
Taiwanese gay love triangle involving two boys and a girl. Stars hotties Joseph Chang and Bryant Chang.

Infamous -
Hollywood biopic of gay writer Truman Capote who wrote In Cold Blood

Spider Lilies -
Taiwanese lesbian romance which won the Teddy Award at Berlin International Film Fest.

The Blossoming Of Maximo Oliveros -
Filipino drama about cross-dressing boy in love with a policeman; another Teddy Award winning film.

You I Love -
Russian comedy about bisexual man who has girlfriend and boyfriend

Gone Shopping -
Singapore drama featuring artist Rizman Putra as a mysterious cross-dresser. Supported by Singapore's MDA

Poltergay -
French comedy about gay ghosts haunting an abandoned discotheque

Women Who Love Women: Conversations in Singapore -
Groundbreaking Singapore docu on local lesbians by Lim May Ling and Ngiam Su Lin

Hairspray -
Hollywood musical based on 1988 film by openly gay director John Waters

Mysterious Skin -
Hollywood gay drama by Greg Araki gets a rerun the Arts House

The Home Song Stories -
Australian family drama by openly-gay director Tony Ayres. Supported by Singapore's MDA

Me Myself -
Thai movie about an ex-transvestite played by Anand Everingham (Shutter)

I Now Pronounce You Chuck And Larry -
Hollywood comedy about two men pretending to be a gay couple for insurance purposes.

Savage Grace -
Complex Hollywood drama about a gay man and his relationship with mother played Julianne Moore

Hunting and Gathering -
(Seemingly) gay man with taste for fine crockery and high art rooms with two friends. From France

Evening -
Sexually-confused man (Hugh Dancy) can't decide if he likes Claire Danes or Patrick Wilson in this Hollywood drama

Breath -
Gay prisoner pines for handsome cellmate (Chang Chen) in this Korean drama

Stardust -
Hollywood fantasy with Robert De Niro as cross-dressing gay pirate.

Pleasure Factory -
Singapore drama with gay subplot involving army boy who had fling with campmate. Supported by Singapore's MDA

Across The Universe -
Hollywood musical with lesbian subplot involving girl in love with landlady

Eastern Promises -
Vincent Cassell as gay mobster in this Hollywood gangsterama



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