SPOTLIGHT ON: Queer East Film Festival

Brian Butler March 30, 2023

Hot on the heels of this year’s highly successful BFI Flare Film Festival, comes another season of queer cinema. Now in in its fourth year, the Queer East Film Festival will be screened at cinemas across London from April 18-30, and then will tour to 10 as yet undisclosed cities between September and November.

Looking at its programme, it promises an eclectic mix of contemporary features and documentaries, retrospective screenings, short films, artists’ moving works, a VR cinematic experience and dance productions that explore a diverse range of topical LGBTQ+ issues.

Some 15 titles will comprise Focus Korea, running from the 1960s to now as part of a wider programme of films from East and South East Asia. As well as films,  this year’s festival’s partners The Place will bring us international dance productions – Robin Nimanong’s Cyborg DNA and Choy Ka Fai’sYishun Is Burning.

The festival opens with the high camp comedy I Love You Beksman from the Philippines. It follows a glamorous make-up artist Dali, who is assumed by everyone to be gay. But when he falls for beauty pageant Queen Angel, he’s forced to finally come out as… Straight. No-one believes him, not even Angel.

The festival closes with the UK premiere of Home Ground from South Korea – a poignant documentary about Korea’s first lesbian bar Lesbos. It charts the bar’s history from 1996 through times of struggle and hope. Other highlights include:

The 1969 film A Man and a Gisaeng, where a man dresses as a female courtesan.

Sa Bangji (1988) – a stunning 4k restoration of a film following the tragic, violent and sexual life of a hermaphrodite raised in a monastery, and their journey into the world.

The ’90s horror movie Memento Mori, where a sudden death leads to terror in a school.

Peafowl (2022) – the story of a transgender dancer forced to return to her rural hometown after the death of her father.

Lotus Sports Club (Cambodia/Netherlands) – a coming-of-age documentary about the relationship between a young Transgender footballer and his coach.

The full programme is at