Good news for Pinoy film lovers in London! The fantastic Filipino comedy I Love You, Beksman will be the prestigious Opening Gala film at 2023 Queer Film Festival on 18 April 2023. The first Metro Manila Summer Film Festival grand winner About Us But Not About Us will also be featured in the main programme.
I Love You, Beksman (UK Premiere)
In this reverse coming–out story, glamorous make-up artist and fashion designer Dali is assumed by his friends, colleagues, and queer family to be gay. But when he falls for Angel, a beauty pageant queen, Dali comes out as straight. The problem is, nobody believes him – not even Angel. So the make-up artist resolves to prove his manhood, attempting to persuade Angel and her hyper-masculine brothers that he is the right man for her. With vibrantly coloured production design and a catchy soundtrack, this high-camp comedy from the Philippines challenges gender stereotypes, and calls into question our assumptions about what is gay or straight. Award-winning actor Christian Bables shines in the lead role, delicately capturing the vulnerability that underlies Dali’s frequently hilarious attempts to win his true love’s heart.
Venue: BFI Southbank
About Us But Not About Us (UK Premiere)
In this award-winning experimental mystery-drama from the Philippines, literature student Lance has dinner with his university professor Eric, who is gay and coming to terms with the recent death of his partner. Their trip to a restaurant in Manila begins innocuously enough, with the enthusiastic Lance gratefully acknowledging his mentor’s help and encouragement. But as disturbing revelations about the past begin to emerge, the encounter evolves into a venomous battle of wills. Romnick Sarmenta and Elijah Canlas are outstanding in this tense, claustrophobic work about false narratives, distorted memories, and the masks we wear in order to project an image to others. Shooting largely in one location, director Jun Robles Lana exploits Covid-19 restrictions to dramatic effect, with the film playing out in real time over a restaurant sitting of 90 minutes. The film bagged 10 awards from the recently concluded 1st Metro Manila Film Festival including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor for Romnick Sarmienta.
The Queer East Festival 2023 takes place 18 – 30 April across venues in London.
About Queer East
Queer East is a cross-disciplinary festival that showcases boundary-pushing LGBTQ+ cinema, live arts, and moving image work from East and Southeast Asia and its diaspora communities. The fourth edition runs from 18 to 30 April in venues across London, exploring notions of what it means to be queer and Asian today.
The festival was established in response to the systemic lack of Asian representation on the big screen, onstage, and behind the scenes. Global events over the past few years have again reminded us that fair and authentic racial and sexual representation is crucial for our society. The richness of Asian and queer heritage forms a vital part of this country’s identity. Through a diverse and forward-thinking programme, the festival aims to amplify the voices of Asian
communities and challenge the conventional norms, labels, and stereotypes associated with queer Asian portrayals.
Working collaboratively with allies across the film, arts, and cultural sectors, the festival hopes to join the forces bringing about change in screen culture and to enable an open space for everyone to explore the contemporary queer landscape across East and Southeast Asia.