Queer fest screens films from ‘homophobic’ China

Queer films from China, made under strict censorship and fear of reprisal from a “homophobic government”, will play in the city over the next few days as part of the fourth edition of the Kashish International Queer Film Festival that kicked off on Wednesday. This year, the festival’s country focus is on China, with two documentaries, three short films and two feature films from the country. Chinese filmmaker and gay activist Popo Fan, whose documentary ‘Mama Rainbow’ will be screened on Friday, was the sole representative from China.

“The Chinese government is homophobic, and they do not let queer films be screened in theatres,” said Fan, 27, who has been making films on the community for the last six years. “We have to screen films in small cafes, and even then police often stop screenings. LGBT groups are all underground.”

Fan said that just last week, on the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia on May 17, a gay parade in Changsha in China was stopped by the police. And two years back, the police closed down the Beijing Queer Film Festival that Fan was organising.

However, Chinese society is gradually changing, said Fan, and several families have begun accepting their children’s alternate sexuality. “This is a good time to make queer films in China because society is slowly waking up to it,” he said. ‘Mama Rainbow’ features six mothers from China who talk openly about their gay or lesbian children.

Festival director Shridhar Rangayan said, “Being part of the LGBT community is taboo in China, and filmmakers make queer films at great personal risk. It is encouraging to have films from such countries.”

by Mugdha Variyar, Hindustan Times
Source – Hindustan Times