BFI Flare: London LGBTQ+ Film Festival, formerly known as the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival (LLGFF), is the largest LGBTQ film festival in Europe and is held every spring in London. The event began in London in 1986, as a seasons of gay and lesbian films at the National Film Theatre for two years, under the title “Gay’s Own Pictures”, curated by Peter Packer of the Tyneside Cinema. It was renamed the “London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival” in 1988. Having been a two-week festival for many years, the festival was shortened to a week in 2011, and then increased to 10 days in 2012. 2018 is the 32th anniversary of the London LGBTQ+ Film Festival, and the number of the audience watching this 10-day film festival reached 25623, which fully reflects its influence. Now, LGBTQ themed movies are no longer niche, and many film industry authorities have begun to pay attention to this type of movie and appear in this film festival.
Different from other film festivals, FLARE has the harmonious and integrated atmosphere of creators, media, staff and audience. The main creative personnel present in all scale of events. The host left more time for the audience to interact with film maker and related staffs after the short questions. Although the main Q&A part is over, the main creators were willing to stay for further communication. With the FLARE Film Festival developed from the original two letters LG to the current LGBTQ+, the focus of the film festival become more and more special and sometimes even too much on the marginal groups. For instance, some films about refugee lesbians, clergy bisexual or transgender topic. Meanwhile, it is not easy to find some familiar elements and resonance from the movie. In contrast, the most familiar Chinese and Korean elements are only the Welsh played Tai Chi and the Dutch ate kimchi in the film that the symbols still remain in western perspective and character as well as language are even more missing. It is inevitable to consider how many audiences are not LGBTQ, and how their movie experience is. These films how to enter the theater to let more people to contact and understand instead of only in the special platform of the gay festival and celebrate within the community of relatives and friends still the essential issue so far.
However, this phenomenon is not unique to FLARE that it is also amplified to the entire film industry. Even on the contemporary world, everyone is constantly labeling to distinguish and emphasize diversity, which leads to the subdivision of LGBTQ etc. in a small minority group and celebrating in their respective spaces. The more ideal environment is that you don’t need to distinguish between these labels. After all, love is human right. A successful movie not only make a commercial success but also can generate resonate among people of different genders, sexual orientations and ages.
Looking back into the Australian environment, since the same-sex marriage is performed and recognized by the law in Australia last year, holding some film festivals about the LGBTQ topic maybe can help the public to know and understand more about these groups of people. The function of the film festival not only offering an entertainment way to individuals but also providing an effective platform for the public to know about the people and story.
A few days ago, I went to the Korean Film Festival in Australia (KOFFIA) which is a fantastic platform for individuals to know Korean culture through films. The 9th Korean Film Festival in Australia only selected 16 films to release during 6-13 September in Melbourne. However, these 16 films are in a wide range of themes that enable people to understand Korean culture in different angles. In recent years, there are quite few great Korean movies produced by hot Korean filmmakers in film market and change individuals’ mind that the Korean style is not only the romantic love stories.
This time, I chose the movie A Taxi Driver which is a South Korean historical action drama film directed by Jang Hoon, with Song Kang-ho starring in the title role, alongside Thomas Kretschmann. The film mainly talks about a taxi driver from Seoul, who unintentionally becomes involved in the events of the Gwangju Democratization Movement in 1980. This film is not a new film in 2018 and it first released on August 2, 2017 in South Korea. This film represented South Korea entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 90th Oscar Academy Awards, but it was not nominated. It is no doubt that A Taxi Driver won a great commercial success which is the second top grossing film in 2017. At the same time, it triggers the public to think about how to face the history no matter the history is pride or disgrace.
The film tells the story of the 1980 South Korean Chun Doo-hwan government suppressing the Gwangju democracy movement. Since Chung Doo-hwan won the power after the assassination of Park Chung-hee in 1979, and announced the national martial law the following year, closed the university and the parliament, and arrested opposition leaders and demonstrators. On May 18, 1980, protesters took to the streets in Gwangju City and were shot and suppressed by Korean soldiers. At that time, the Korean media was strictly controlled by the government, and many foreign journalists were unable to report because the Korean army pulled the cordon near Gwangju. A Korean taxi driver became the unsung hero in the incident. He drove the German journalist Jurgen Hinzpeter twice through the military cordon, allowing Hintzpit to take the crackdown and play it to the world. Hintzpit later recalled that the soldiers at the military checkpoints asked them to turn around but the driver drove the car to a nearby village and inquired about the other roads into Gwangju. The driver named Kim Sa-bok, and Hintzpitt search for him many times before his death in 2016, but he could not find him.
After the film was released, a man named Kim Sueng-pil stated that his father was the prototype of a movie character and provided a photo of his father and Hintzpitt as proof. Kim Sueng-pil said that his father died of illness after 4 years in Gwangju.
This is a successful and impressive film without magnificent scene and special effects but touch the audience in details. A great movie should not be berry and it has the mission to show the world its inside meaning. Maybe this is the meaning and function of film festival, discovering some excellent film for the public that enable the audience to know more about the history and culture of a nation through the film. At the same time, it is no doubt that the film festival also a springboard for the film directors to connect with the global market.
Taipei Film Festival is an annual multi-cultural event containing film festival and other film cultural-related activities held by the Taipei City Government and mapped out by the Department of Cultural Affairs. The Taiwan Film Culture Association mainly lead the Taipei Film Festival that directed by Hou Hsiao-Hsien director and the film festival has become one of the most important and high profile international cultural events in Taiwan. Since its inception in 1998, the Taipei Film Festival has been held every year except for the suspension in 2001 and it has become a significant cultural event for Taiwanese fil and Taiwanese filmmakers.
In recent years, the Taipei Film Festival focusing on the city theme that organizing a series of exhibitions and activities more than on the film screens to lead the Taiwanese audience to understand different cultural backgrounds through the films. The film festival is screening nearly 160 movies from over 40 different countries that attracting approximately 100,000 mostly young attendants each year. Meanwhile, the film festival also set up Taipei Film Award as well as the Taipei Theme Award to encourage the creation of Taiwanese local films and appeal to not only the young moviegoers but also the film professionals. The Taipei Film Festival make a contribution to boost Taiwan’s film market.
For many years, participating in the Taipei Film Festival has been more than just watching movies, but witnessing Taipei’s contemporary culture. The film festival reflects the times in a special Taipei way and it also symbolize the Taiwanese begins to know how to choose the movie that they want not only the Hollywood commercial movies. The movie which carry on memory and emotion is usually easier to touch the audience rather than the movie only for business purposes.
It is no doubt that the metro cinema and some other open air cinema during the film festival makes the film closer to individuals’ lives. A memory can make a movie better and more sensational. More importantly, a film festival enable watching movie become a lovely thing in this city.
In 2018, the Taipei Film Festival has entered its 20th anniversary. This year, with the theme of “breaking the framework”, the film festival leads the audience to re-imagine the appearance of a city film exhibition and challenge the existing limitations in the progress of watching movies as the film festival always encourage creative and vigorous film content and style. At this level, the film festival is not only a good way for people know different culture through the film but also an efficient platform for Taiwan to introduce itself to the world. What is more, attracting more local film artists to build up their self-identities and further contribute to Taiwan’s film market is an essential mission of Taipei Film Festival. Therefore, how to attract more potential filmmakers and maintain the creativity of film festival is an on doing progress for Taipei Film Festival.
The Festival de Cannes known in English as the Cannes International Film Festival which founded in 1946, is one of the three major film festivals in Europe as well as in the world, along with the Venice International Film Festival and Berlin International Film Festival. The Cannes International Film Festival is an annual event which usually held in mid-May each year for the period of 12 days. As one of the most publicized and influential event in the world, Festival de Cannes draw attention to and raise the profile of films, with the aim of contributing towards the development of cinema, boosting the film industry worldwide and celebrating cinema at an international level.
When mentioned of the film festival, maybe we often associate it with the red carpet, famous superstars and directors, paparazzi and hundreds of camera flashes. It is no doubt that the ‘Red Carpet Steps’ are the popular part of the festival that attract the most media attention. For the sponsor, the ‘Red Carpet Step’ represent their equally respect and welcome to both worldwide excellent film artists and emerging talents. At the same time, they also take this opportunity to send their honors to the creativity of the film artists.
On the other hand, the Festival de Cannes not only the event for the experienced famous film makers but also for those emerging talents. The ‘talent scouts’ team plays an essential part in the Cannes International Film Festival who travel around the world to participate in different kinds of film festivals to explore the most promising new directors. As the development of festival in these years, a series of initiatives launched to support the new directors, for example, the camera d’Or is awarded to the best film presented either in the Official Selection or the Semaine de la Critique, while the la Cinefondation not only receive the short film from film university but also organize the Residence and the Workshop. For many of new film artists, the film festival is a springboard in their film career enable more people to know them. The Festival de Cannes is a great platform for various types of film makers to present themselves as well as exchange their ideas.
The Festival de Cannes build a strong connection with its past and never forget to seek and blend into some new and original concepts. It provides an opening arena for emerging film makers and artists, meanwhile attracting a large number of film fans to know more stories behind the films and further benefit to Cannes’s tourism. During every new edition, new projects generated, valuable experience shared and diverse cultures comprehended: it is this dynamism that makes the Festival de Cannes a great reflection of its times.