The woman behind the Beijing Queer Film Festival right from its inception in 2001 is 29-year-old Beijinger Yang Yang (pictured above). After several years in Belgium, working for the Belgian Film Archive and studying for a master’s degree, she’s back in Beijing to organise the festival’s fifth incarnation. Homogenius finds out how a nice straight girl like her got mixed up in a LGBT film event.
Not being gay, how did you get involved in the Queer Film Festival?
I’m not gay, but sometimes I consider my gender identity to be queer. Watching queer films and talking with queer filmmakers is a good way for me to discover and rediscover myself. I like freedom. It’s important to recognise that the diversity of life is fantastic. Sometimes, we think in stereotypes, we judge and we are not aware of that. The festival is a way to open your mind and inspire you to think differently.
Can you tell us how an event like this gets put together?
For the past few years, I’ve been in charge of the international selection; [director] Cui Zi’en and Popo Fan [ex-LGBT Center chief and budding director himself] have looked after the Chinese programme. For the international part, when selecting films, we try to choose them around a specific theme, such as a focus on a filmmaker or a country.
Why wasn’t there a Beijing Queer Film Festival last year?
Well, there aren’t enough Chinese LGBT films made in one year; the sector is still young. So we had to wait another year until we had enough good Mainland films to show.
What role does a festival like this serve for China’s LGBT community?
The festival is first of all a cultural event, and also a social event. It’s for the LGBT community and society as a whole. It plays a role of providing an equal platform for each minority to present and express their point of view and position in the form of visual art and popular culture.
Beijing Queer Film Festival takes place from Wed 15 to Sun 19. Admission is free (with a suggested 10RMB donation). Venues and schedule will be posted on www.bjqff.com