Manay Po! / Opening Film / dir. Joel C. Lamangan / Philippines / 2006 / 100min / Japan Premier

Oscar is a successful gay architect and in a loving relationship. He also lives happily together with his mother, who has less luck in love, and two younger brothers; Orson is out and proud while Orwell is just starting to explore the world of sex. However, Oscar has a secret crush on his best friend Adrian…
Made by Joel C. Lamangan, the acclaimed Philippine director of eccentric gay musical “ZsaZsa Zaturnnah Ze Moveeh” (shown at the Tokyo International Cinecity festival in 2007) and wartime romance “Aishite Imasu 1941: Mahal Kita” (18th Tokyo International Film Festival), “Manay Po!” is a comic story about the bonds of love and family and the tears they can sometimes bring.
※No English Subtitied

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The World Unseen / Closing Film / dir. Shamim Sarif / South Africa,UK / 2007 / 94min / Japan Premier

Set among Indian society in 1950s South Africa, this is a story of the love between a subservient wife and mother of three children and an independent woman who runs a café that provides a haven of rest and relaxation in the midst of a society rife with racial and sexual discrimination. In the process, this dramatic gem paints a portrait of the freedom of the heart found even under such repressive conditions. This powerful and moving work, which speaks of such important issues, has received critical praise and awards at film festivals worldwide. The film is based on The World Unseen, the novel written by the director, who also did the film adaptation. Shiraf’s debut novel won both the Betty Trask Award for young writers under 35 and the Pendleton May First Novel Prize in 2001.

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Artemisia / AQFF Selection / dir. Hsiu-chiung Chiang / Taiwan / 2008 / 85min / Japan Premier
Ai-ciao, nearly 58 years old, has raised her children on her own after losing her husband. With a son uninterested in marriage, a daughter who shows up with a child born out of wedlock after studying in France, and a greedy mother, her family troubles seem to be neverending…
This AQFF selection puts the spotlight on Taiwan public television service PTS, whose innovative drama series “Crystal Boys” deals with gay issues. PTS has also televised numerous additional programs that include sexual minority characters, such as the quality TV movie series ”Life Story”, from which we are pleased to screen “Artemisia”. This program, which tells the touching story of a mother who faces the problem of clashing values, features a strong message of love and tolerance. The role of the gay son is performed by Mo Tze-yi of “The Most Distant Course” and “Do Over”, and his boyfriend is played by Tang Cheng-gang from “Go! Go! G-Boys!” (which screened at AQFF 2007).

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Innocent / dir. Simon Chung / Hong Kong / 2005 / 80min / Japan Premier

Brought to Canada from Hong Kong by his mother and father, reluctant immigrant Eric has some important decisions to make about life, love, family and friends. With his home life in turmoil after his parents seek the counsel of Chinese business adviser Chia about opening a restaurant, the 17 year old begins to explore his sexuality and falls for a succession of men, including his classmate Jim.
Released in 2005 by perceptive observer of the small episodes that make up people’s daily lives, Simon Chung, and winner of the best independent film award at the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival, “Innocent” finally makes its Japanese debut.
※No English Subtitied

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SIKIL / dir. Ronaldo Bertubin / Philippines / 2007 / 109min / Japan Premier

Adong and Enzo have enjoyed a deep and lasting friendship, forged while growing up together in a small town south of Manila. When Adong elopes with his girlfriend Melay to the big city it seems Enzo will never see his best friend again. Five years later however, the two meet by chance when they both start working in Manila’s sex trade and are asked to perform together on stage in a live sex show.
Filmed by Ronaldo Barbutin, the director of “Kurap” (shown at the 21st Tokyo International Film Festival), “Sikil” is one of the many remarkable gay-themed movies to have come out of the Philippines recently. This well-acted drama of two friends, the strong and masculine Adong and the more sensitive Enzo, expertly describes the bonds and boundaries of friendship and love.

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Seeds of Summer / dir. Hen Lasker / Israel / 2007 / 63min / Japan Premier

“My Mom always says that my military service is to blame for everything that has happened to her little girl.”
Seven years after completing an IDF (Israel Defense Forces) course for female combat soldiers, the director returns to the place where, for the first time, she fell in love with a woman –– her commanding officer.
Over the course of 66 days and nights, the film follows the girls in one of the IDF’s most rigorous combat courses and looks at the relationships that develop between girls in an environment subject to strict military code. The film reveals the mechanism that enables the transformation of 18-year-old girls from daddy’s little girls into fierce disciplined soldiers. Through the intimate relationship that develops between the director and one of the characters, questions about identity, sexuality and the discovery of femininity surface.

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New and Powerful Gay Directors Program
Tanjong Rhu / Boo Junfeng / Singapore / 2009 /19min
Laundromat / Edward Gunawan / USA / 2007 /12min / Japan Premier
The Police Box / Josh Kim/ Hong Kong / 2006 / 4min / Japan Premier
The Postcard / Josh Kim / South Korea / 2007 / 15min / Japan Premier
Auld Lang Syne / SO Joon-moon / South Korea / 2007 / 26min / Japan Premier

We are proud to present a series of shorts showcasing the rich talents of a new generation of queer Asian filmmakers. Up and coming director Boo Junfeng from Singapore tells the story of a boy arrested in an undercover sting operation in “Tanjong Rhu”. —— Writer, actor and model, Edward Gunawan shows his short film “Laundromat” —— We have two parts of a romantic trilogy by Josh Kim: “Police Box” and “Postcard”. —— Finally there is the quiet and reflective tale of two old lovers who meet again, “Auld Lang Syne” by So Joon-moon, who made his directorial debut as a part of Lee Song-hee-il’s planned movie omnibus, “No Regret”.

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South Korea Program

A Passing Rain / KIM Myoung-hwa / South Korea / 2006 / 9min / Japan Premier
Boy meets Boy / KIM-JHO Gwang-soo / South Korea / 2008 / 13min / Japan Premier
The Bath / LEE Mi-rang / South Korea / 2007 /20min / Japan Premier
Happy Birthday / KIM Sung-ho / South Korea / 2007 / 38min / Japan Premier
These four short films come from the thriving independent movie scene in Korea. In “A Passing Rain” two schoolgirls run into each other in a residential suburb... —— On the bus as two boys’ eyes meet and pulses begin to quicken, who knows what will happen next… “Boy meets Boy” stars Kim Hye Sung from “High Kick” and “The Land of Winds”. —— The transsexual main character of “The Bath” has a strained relationship with her sister. One day they visit a public bath together... —— In “Happy Birthday”, after a disappointing birthday that no one celebrated, the aging main character decides it is time to end it all. At the chosen place he meets a young boy who is on the run from the mob...

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Girls Program

It's Over / LEE Jung-a / South Korea / 2006 / 13min / Japan Premier
Sweet rain / Keita Sakai / Japan / 2009 /10min
Marry me? / Rohwun / South Korea / 2006 / 19min / Japan Premier
I'm Jin-young / LEE Sung-eun / South Korea / 2006 /19min / Japan Premier
This collection of love stories features a collage of varied beautiful images. In “It’s over”, So-jung is confused when her close friend confides her love for her, and as her feelings slowly change, she finally tells her boyfriend —— A woman loses her lover to the backdrop of a gently falling rain in “Sweet Rain”, ...a mysterious and poetic work directed by Keita Sakai, who was inspired to begin making films by Hitoshi Yazaki’s “March comes in like a lion”. —— Hah-Eun, who lives with her mother in a relationship of codependence in “Marry me?”, is distressed by her mother’s wishes for her to marry. Her older lover Sae-Eun’s heartfelt response —— Jin-young is a saucy honor student in her fourth-year of primary school who falls in love at first sight with her mom’s friend Hyun-ji... “I’m Jin-young” is a heart-warming story of a girl growing up.
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Boys Program

The Longest One Night Stand / Eduardo Roy, Jr. / Philippines / 2006 / 20min / Japan Premier
Lost & Found / Shrenik / India / 2007 / 6min / Japan Premier
Love Audition / Anucha Boonyawatana / Thailand / 2008 / 46min / Japan Premier

A touch and a glance… these short films examine our complicated love lives. Sam and Paul often bring strangers home to share their bed. When one of the men, the handsome JIGS, falls in love with Paul could this mean the end of his long relationship with Sam? “One Night Stand” deals with the boredom and frustration often encountered in long-term gay relationships and the serious consequences it can sometimes bring. —— In the 42degree heat of New Delhi, two men brush against each other on a crowded, moving bus. The silent movie “Lost and Found” leads to a comic climax of mistaken identity. —— From the director of “Down The River” (AQFF 2007) Anucha Boonyawatana’s new film “Love Audition” examines the lives of young gay men in Bangkok – a condom fight brings about unexpected discoveries about love, sex and relationships.

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Documentary Program

The Secret in the Satchel / LIN Tay-jou / Taiwan / 2007 /51min / Japan Premier
Jonathan/ Adi Helman / Israel / 2006 / 15min / Japan Premier
Moken, right? / Mr.Taryart Datsathean & Mr.Phisan Sangjan / Thailand / 2006 / 40min / Japan Premier
“The Secret in the Satchel”, made by university professor Lin, focuses on the sex, family problems and violence of students’ lives, discovered through jottings and messages on their homework papers. —— 4 year old Jonathan wants to dress up as a mermaid princess for a festival, but… Delicate camera work expertly captures the feelings of the young boy in “Jonathan”. —— The Moken people live in the islands of the Andaman sea in Thailand and spend most of their life at sea. Gay traveler Vor visits the islands and gets to know the men of the Moken, whose way of life is fast disappearing, in the unique docu-drama “Moken, right?”.

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CG & Animation Program

CROC / Saravuth Intaraprom /Thailand / 2008 / 16min / Japan Premier
Boyfriend / Saravuth Intaraprom / Thailand / 2007 / 60min / Japan Premier
In a unique film from Thailand, a young boy, Pao, encounters a very strange creature. Meanwhile, people in the town are being mysteriously killed and eaten. What is behind these horrific attacks? Could there be a connection? This CG spectacular, “CROC”, comes fresh from winning the jury prize at the 2008 Bangkok International Film Festival. —— In “Boyfriend”, delinquent student Toey has recently transferred from his school in Chiang Mai to one in Bangkok. After challenging the toughest boy in the school, Ake, with a knife, Toey gets more than he bargained for when Eku begins to take an interest in him and won’t leave him alone! This animated short, which took the director half a year to make, was originally supposed to be a feature length drama until the producers took exception to the gay content.

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Experimental Program

3:77 / Loo Zihan / Singapore / 2007 / 4min / Japan Premier
Middle-earth / Thunska Pansittivorakul / Thailand / 2007 / 8min / Japan Premier
I'm Starving / Yau Ching / USA / 1999 / 12min / Japan Premier
Rock Garden: A Love Story / GLORIA KIM / Canada / 2007 / 10min / Japan Premier
Exodus / Sherman Ong / Indonesia,Singapore / 2003 / 30min

Get high on life with these fantastic experimental shorts! The musical film “3:77” addresses the problems of discrimination under Singapore’s anti-homosexuality law of the same name. —— “Middle-earth” by one of Thailand’s most celebrated creative minds, Thunska Pansittivorakul, is a poetic exploration of the male body. —— From Hong Kong, “I’m Starving” is an undiscovered short movie by Yau Ching. —— Acclaimed by Atom Egoyan (“Sweet Hereafter”), the beautiful “Rock Garden” is an uplifting tale of love and loneliness. —— First shown in Japan at the Mori Art Museum as a part of the “IN-BETWEEN: Asian Video Art Weekend”, “Exodus” depicts the hidden desires of an impoverished Chinese shampoo girl and a Javanese dancer employed at the emperor’s palace.
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AQFF was born in 2007. It was launched with the aim of introducing selected queer films from Asia, especially independent films, and through that process, learning more about Japan and the world.  The power of independent films lies in the lack of constraints on their content, allowing for freer expression. From queer film to Asian queer film to independent Asian queer film, step by step our destination became clearer… and led us to the close and familiar environment of Asia, where we found many works by film makers we deeply identified with. Compared with works from Europe and America, chances to make and screen Asian queer films are strikingly limited. As a result, bringing these works to the attention of the public can be difficult. In terms of independent and commercial films, technical issues might seem to suffer by comparison, but there really is little difference when watching. Queer cultures throughout the world currently have a strong “western” image, but in Asia, compared to the west, there still exists harsh repression. We present these independent Asian queer films with the hope that they will provoke a reconsideration of the image of sexual minorities in Japanese society, and in other Asian countries. We believe that the works are of great significance and for that reason have chosen to feature them in a film festival devoted to queer Asian films. In fact, AQFF is the only film festival focusing on these films so it is important event, too. One of the roles of AQFF is to provide a venue to introduce audiences to these crucial cultural productions. Another role is to uncover new talent. That is, we are not just interested in showing films concerned with sexual minorities but also want to give you cinematic works that are brilliant as “films”. That is, the films shown at AQFF were selected for their power to stir the hearts of viewers, jolt the soul, and open up a new door. We wanted you to see films full of such feeling that, at the same time, are an encounter with some very talented directors. Those of us who assume the role of showcasing Asian Queer films know that bringing them to the public isn’t easy, but for the sake of talented queer writers in Asia, we approach the task with energy. AQFF treasures the directors who have produced these films.  Each little work found at the end of the selection process now takes wing into the world and people’s hearts as a unique film experience. We believe that, finally, it will be film experiences like these that break down the barriers between us.

(iri & Nagi, AQFF Representatives)

About AQFF

The biennial Asian Queer Film Festival began in Japan in 2007 and is devoted exclusively to screening queer films from Asia. The films for AQFF are selected with an eye to supporting Asian indies writers so independently produced films are prominent in the AQFF lineup. What makes AQFF even more exciting is that most of the films are being shown in Japan for the first time. Sexual minorities in Asia have been harshly repressed, so there are not many opportunities to see and know more about them, yet they certainly exist, and in a variety of different ways, are starting to raise their voices to be heard. For all of us who identify with and as Asian sexual minorities, this is one of the few chances in Japan to see films that explore our sexuality. Through this exhibition of visual culture, we can deepen our understanding of sexual minorities in Asia today.

The 2nd Asian Queer Film Festival will be held on

September 19-23, 2009 in Harajuku, Tokyo.







KINEATTIC: A gallery specializing in independent films and videos

In this era of independent movie production and increasing use of digital video cameras,

ATTIC encourages new artists to freely experiment with innovative works by providing a cozy, artsy space to show them in.

AQFF-Online Catalog