He Xiaopei 21 November 2021
On 5 November 2021, a rainy and snowy night, the 20th Beijing Queer Film Festival kicked off at the French Institute. Affected by the global epidemic and local weather, the organisers could not confirm whether the festival would actually take place until the last minute. As the audience arrived in masks, braved the rain and snow, and took their seats, the cinema lights came on and the two young festival directors on duty, Jenny Man Wu and Yang Yang declared the 20th Beijing Queer Film Festival officially open. Looking back at the history of the Beijing Queer Film Festival, where the opening ceremony was called off and was held on a train, the opening of this festival went sort of unprecedentedly well.
The festival ran for 10 days from the opening on November 5 to the closing on November 14. Over 80 films were screened by directors from Mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, overseas Chinese, Germany, France, Iran, Malaysia, Spain, Brazil, Ukraine, Poland, Romania, USA, Philippines, Israel, Serbia, Italy, Ireland, Colombia, India and other countries. The categories of this year include: New Queer Voices, Tribute to the Pioneer Queers, Classics, Love in Pandemic, Beauty in Trans, Family Forward, Queer in the Diaspora, Growing Pains, Will Love, From Community, A Little Abstract, Partner Festival, and two forums: limited aesthetics – queer short filmmaking current and the future of queer filmmaking and Creativity in the Diaspora and diaspora in Creation. The opening film of the festival was Taiwanese director Tsai Ming-liang’s Days (2020), which won the Golden Bear and Teddy Bear awards at the Berlinale. The film has not yet been released in Taiwan, but director Tsai Ming-liang has both offered the film to the 20th edition of the Beijing Queer Film Festival and also communicated with the audience online.
During the ten days of the festival, many directors and crew members were present or had online meetings with the audience to answer questions and share their production experiences and lessons learned.
The closing film of the festival is Bad Women of China (2021), a documentary by mainland Chinese director He Xiaopei. The film chronicles the journey of three generations of the director’s own family of women across centuries and continents. The director herself and her daughter took part in a Q&A session.
After 10 days of the screenings of more than 80 films, the 20th Beijing Queer Film Festival has been successfully closed. The two festival directors expressed their heartfelt thanks to the many volunteers, directors and sponsors. There is no telling what kind of virus will affect next year’s festival and whether it will still be able to take place, which many audiences are eagerly awaiting.