Austin Asian American Film Festival presents “Prismatic Taiwan:” A Queer Film Series
The Austin Asian American Film Festival will co-present a virtual, six-film series celebrating the past and present of queer Taiwanese cinema. The viewing period for all films - including exclusive filmmaker Q&As - will be September 4-13.
The legalization of same-sex marriage in Taiwan (which took effect in May 2019) inspired the AAAFF team to examine the evolution of LGBTQ subjects throughout the country’s cinematic history. The resulting lineup of films (many of which were never released or remain elusive in the United States) spans 1970 to 2016, and includes such key filmmaking figures in Taiwanese cinema as Tsai Ming-liang, Mickey Chen, and Zero Chou.
The series slate serves as a documentation of history as it unfolds, containing contemporaneous portrayals of queer subcultures across various eras - from the gay club scene in the early 1980s (Yu Kan-ping’s Outcasts) to the online culture of the early 21st century (Zero Chou’s Spider Lilies). Taken as a whole, these films give viewers a firsthand look at the decades-long fight for acceptance waged by Taiwanese people across the LGBTQ spectrum - as subtextual portrayals of hidden desire (as in Mou Tun-fei’s The End of the Track) give way to direct confrontations with society (Mickey Chen and Mia Chen’s Not Simply a Wedding Banque) and family (Huang Hui-chen’s Small Talk).
The series will also include a live, virtual roundtable discussion event with Asian Cinevision and director Zero Chou on September 5. Entitled “Creating Transnational Queer Asian Spaces,” this event will explore the meaning and importance of transnational organizing group, as well as what it means to organize online, and what practices have and have not worked. Panelists include leaders from LGBTQ activism groups such as Taiwan Equality Campaign (Taiwan), Queer Asian Social Club (USA) and more.