“But what harm is in diversity, when there is unity in desire?” With this question, the Indonesian president Sukarno opened the 1955 Asian-African Conference in Bandung. Whilst being known as one of the earliest global alliances of people of color in non-alignment politics, these political acteurs solely represented the interests of their own nation-states at the cost of oppressing marginal queer and indigenous groups. Thus we see an absence of these perspectives in the linear and heteronormative historical narrative of anti-colonial struggles. Imagining Queer Bandung aims to draw a bridge between this “unity in desire” and LGBTQ+ social activism, decolonial knowledge, and cinematic imagination. How can we imagine alternative approaches in which queer bodies – across Asian, African, and Caribbean contexts – participate in, produce and reclaim these larger discourses for themselves, their communities, and their liberation, as neither national nor sexual objects?
Funded by Fonds Soziokultur and The European Solidarity Corps in collaboration with bi’bak and ‘Queer’ Asia in Germany.
Date: 23rd June 2021 • Time: 21:30 • Venue: SiNEMA TRANSTOPIA (Open Air)
Taxi Stories (Dir. Doris Yeung) Hong Kong/China/Indonesia/Netherlands 2017, 101 min.
With an opening performance by Isu Mignon Mignonne & Mandhla. Followed by a talk with Popo Fan and Doris Yeung
Taxi Stories is a mosaic of stories from three different Asian cities in which the paths of the rich and poor cross in taxis. A closeted gay Beijing cab driver tries to seduce a rich passenger, a pregnant Hong Kong trophy wife starts to develop feelings for her new Indonesian maid, and a Jakartan slum orphan becomes infatuated with a Western female backpacker. All three characters desperately want to connect on a basic human level but ultimately find themselves a hindrance. In contemporary Asia, where social mobility is linked to increasing wealth, money divides and separates each of them making it harder to become who they really want to be.
Isu Mignon Mignonne (it/it/its) questions how itself* appears in the world, and twists it through various kinds of performance. It can be ritualistic, it can be multi-layered, it can be cathartic. It resurrects the invisible queer death through the green screen. It wears the female figure as an anaglyph 3D illusion. It reclaims the power of instrumentalizing one’s body and praises the sacred hole through the vibration of the snake.
Mandhla. is a trans-feminine gender non-comforming body born and raised in Zimbabwe, Africa. Currently residing between Berlin and Cologne, she brings a blend of experimental R&B and Soul music intertwined with visual projections and performative dancing. Her music speaks of the daily trials that Trans*, enby and femme* immigrant bodies experience daily with love, identity, sex, and acceptance.
Doris Yeung is an Asian American filmmaker from San Francisco. Her first feature film Motherland (2009) was named one of the ten best Asian American Films of 2009 by Asian Pacific Arts Magazine and the Hollywood Reporter called her a “filmmaker to watch”. Her second feature film Taxi Stories (2017) has been screened in over 30 festivals around the world. Since 2002, she has lived and worked in Amsterdam and is the founder of CinemAsia Film Festival, Netherlands.
Date: 24th June 2021 • Time: 21:30 • Venue: SiNEMA TRANSTOPIA (Open Air)
Archipelago (OV with English Subtitles)
Followed by a talk with Ragil Huda and Tamarra (Indonesian with live English subtitles, transl. Ardi Kuhn).
Tamarra (*Tasikmlaya, West Java, 1989) is a self-taught artist currently pursuing undergraduate studies at Universitas Sanata Dharma, Yogyakarta, majoring in history. Tamarra’s work deals with gender and sexuality, the history of non-binaries, religion, and humanity.
Conflicted by her family’s expectations and religious beliefs, in The Book of Jasmine, a Black Caribbean woman is torn between religion and her love for another woman. On the other side of the globe, Pilgrimage to the Bissu Community immerses us in the lives and stories of spiritual and gender diverse people with the aim of decolonizing rigid Western constructions of gender identity. Just across the Celebes Sea, Anito 1 documents the Ati-atihan festival, a ceremony that incorporates animism, folk Catholicism and ancestral beliefs of the Aeta people.
The Book of Jasmine (Dir. Melanie Grant) Barbados 2017, 14 mins
Pilgrimage to the Bissu Community (Dir. Tamarra) Indonesia 2020, 30 min
Anito 1 (Dir. Martha Atienza) Philippines 2015, 9 min.
Date: 25th June 2021 • Time: 21:30 • Venue: SiNEMA TRANSTOPIA (Open Air)
Followed by a talk with a representative from Quarteera and Assel Aushakimova (Russian with live English subtitles, transl. Alexandr Lange).
Using oral storytelling and animation, Adamantine centers around ideas of forgotten desire and a sense of belonging, both fulfilled by a magical turn of events and the passage of self-discovery. Welcome to the USA tells a similar story, but in the context of an already self-discovered lesbian who is suddenly able to migrate to start a new life and the challenges they face along the way. This is one of few feature Kazakh films with a protagonist from the LGBTQ community. Both ultimately expressing a form of wishful thinking and the kind of “magical” energy that lies behind all emancipatory projects, these two films shed light on the often forgotten narratives of queer persons in/from post-soviet central Asia
Adamantine (Dir. Art Arutyunyan) USA 2017, 9 min.
Welcome to the USA (Dir. Assel Aushakimova) Kazakhstan 2019, 94 min.
Assel Aushakimova is a Kazakhstani director, screenwriter, and producer. Her first feature film Welcome to the USA had its world premiere at AFI Fest 2019 and was awarded the Grand Jury Prize as Best International Narrative Feature of NewFest New York’s LGBTQ Film Festival 2020. She is currently working on her second feature film that has been selected for the first workshop of the Biennale College Cinema 2020-2021 of Venice IFF.
Quarteera has been connecting Russian-speaking LGBTQI* (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans* and intersexual) people in Germany since 2012. The organization counteracts the multiple disadvantages Russian-speaking LGBTIQ* people face as non-Germans and as LGBTQI*. Fields of work include political education, counseling services for LGBTQI* people and its parents, and international cooperation projects with LGBTQI* organizations especially in the countries of the former USSR.
Date: 26th June 2021 • Time: 21:30 • Venue: SiNEMA TRANSTOPIA (Open Air)
Followed by a talk with Popo Fan and Mark Lutta
No Romo is a short film about questioning the ways in which we perform romantic love in society and the many shapes that love can take. Baby Girl tells the story of Jessica, a first-year university student who suffers an emotional breakdown following the discovery that she was born intersex. Yet when Jessica meets the free-spirited Sally, she realizes that she can be herself and still find true acceptance. Polyamorous Family documents a poly family containing black, white, Chinese, and Indian members, exploring relationships, globalization, and sexuality. In Plain Sight documents how an LGBTQ+ community functions in Uganda, as the filmmaker shares an insight into the dynamics of life in a country where being gay is considered unlawful and immoral.
No Romo (Dir. Elliot Blue) Germany 2021, 15 min.
Baby Girl (Dir. Selasie Djameh) Ghana 2019, 24 min.
Polyamorous Family (Dir. He Xiaopei) China 2010, 26 min.
In Plain Sight (Dir. Achiro P. Olwoch) Uganda 2019, 17 min.
Mark Lutta is from Jinja, Eastern Uganda. He recently graduated with a BA at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. He worked with Achiro Media House (AMH) and Lillian Kelle Productions, an organization focused on content that brings awareness to Child Sexual Abuse. He was an assistant coordinator at the Kampala International Theatre Festival. Mark currently lives in Cologne.
Date: 30th June 2021 • Time: 21:30 • Venue: SiNEMA TRANSTOPIA (Open Air)
Followed by a talk with Sarnt Utamachote and Zara Zandieh
The Sea Runs Thru My Veins assembles polyvocal post-migrant whispers from different geopolitical spheres, while At Home But Not at Home evokes postcolonial memories through the use of intermedial footage. Together with cartographic appropriation and re-mapping in Sewing Borders and aesthetics of opacity, rumours and secrets in Endnote, each of these short films reflect queer, if not asexual, counter-narrative aesthetics and decolonial knowledge. Here we can explore the (un)seen subjects and how they cross and even spill-over beyond the spaces their bodies usually occupy.
Endnote (Dir. Ashish Avikunthak) India 2005, 18 min.
The Sea Runs Thru My Veins (Dir. Zara Zandieh) Germany 2019, 20 min.
Sewing Borders (Dir. Mohamad Hafeda) Lebanon 2018, 25 min.
At Home But Not at Home (Dir. Suneil Sanzgiri) USA 2019,11 min.
Zara Zandieh (they/she) is a filmmaker born and based in Berlin. Zara’s works have been nominated for awards at various film festivals including the BFI FLARE Film Festival, Queer Lisboa, and Dok Leipzig. Zara’s most current project, Octavia’s Visions premiered at Oberhausen Film Festival 2021. Zara was selected for the 2021 edition of Berlinale Talents.
Popo Fan, born 1985, is a Berlin-based Chinese diaspora filmmaker, curator and writer. His films include queer activism documentaries and scripted, sex-positive shorts. For more than a decade, he has organized the Beijing Queer Film Festival and founded the Queer University Video Training Camp in China. In 2019 he curated film series “More Than A Midnight Rainbow” about Chinese-made and Chinese-speaking queer films at bi’bak.
Date: 1st July 2021 • Time: 21:30 • Venue: SiNEMA TRANSTOPIA (Open Air)
Followed by a talk with Elliot Blue and Zoya
The comedy-drama Wa, Nan shows a beauty pageant, My Name is Untac takes a look at African-Cambodian identity, Emak Menolak puts a supportive mother at the center, Void tackles the queer politics of IDs, and ONTEM unfolds a contemplative picture about the losses and pain some have to undergo in order to be truly themselves. Each of these short films showcases grass-root productions centering trans* voices and experiences as well as ongoing campaigns for sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.
*In this context, trans* is an inclusive “decolonial” umbrella term referring to all gender diverse people who depart from normative Western ideas of gender. Trans* = a non-cis-gender person.
Wa, Nan (Dir. Marie Bernadette/Tayag Eliza Santos/Danette Orlido) Philippines 2018, 20 min.
My Name is Untac (Dir. Vana Hem) Cambodia 2012, 13 min.
Emak Menolak (Dir. Anggun Pradesha) Indonesia 2020, 9 min.
Void (Dir. Asya Leman) Turkey 2017, 13 min.
ONTEM (Before Today) (Dir. Thiago Kistenmacker, Sanni Est) Brazil 2017, 13 min.
Elliot Blue is a filmmaker and light designer. Their short films Black is Me (2017), Home? (2018), and No Romo (2021) have been shown at film festivals around the world. Since 2016, Elliot also gives film workshops to enable empowerment and self-determination.
Zoya is a translator, curator, and educator based in Berlin. They are an organizer and programmer of TransFormations – Trans* Film Festival Berlin, a biennial grassroots, community-focused festival organized by an exclusively Black and PoC trans*, two-spirit, gender-non-conforming team.
Date: 2nd July 2021 • Time: 21:30 • Venue: SiNEMA TRANSTOPIA (Open Air)
Followed by a talk with Popo Fan and Christa Joo Hyun D’Angelo
Pink Pill is a hard-hitting examination of gender/sexuality-based bullying and its emotional consequences. Goodbye Mr. B Hello Ms. B is an autobiographical documentary about director Beatrice Wong’s experiences as a transgender woman. Period@Period expresses the experience of having a period, one which might not only be assigned to female cis-gender people but to anyone. What I Would’ve Told My Daughter if I knew what to Say Back Then features over 13 years of home video footage concluding with an unraveling of the filmmaker’s identity. Protest and Desire is a video artwork that challenges popular discourse around sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV by focusing on how women of color deal with intimacy, sex, and age within the landscape of white Europe.
Pink Pill (Dir. Xie Xiaoshan) China 2017, 30 min.
Goodbye Mr. B Hello Ms. B (Dir. Beatrix Wong) Hong Kong 2017, 15 min.
Period@Period (Dir. Hnin Ei Hlaing) Myanmar 2018, 8 min.
What I Would’ve Told My Daughter if I knew what to Say Back Then (Dir. Cha Roque) Philippines 2017, 13 min.
Protest and Desire (Dir. Christa Joo Hyun D’Angelo) Germany 2019, 55 min.
Christa Joo Hyun D’Angelo studied under TJ Demos at The Maryland Institute College of Art and later The Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow Poland. D’Angelo’s work confronts fear and vulnerability through video, neon, installation, and sculpture. Her works have been exhibited at The Screen City Biennial, Halle 14, Hua International, VOLTANY, Taiwan Digital Arts Center, Galeria Studio Warsaw, and The Goethe Institute.
Date: 3rd July 2021 • Time: 21:30 • Venue: SiNEMA TRANSTOPIA (Open Air)
Blood and Bounds
Followed by a talk with Sarnt Utamachote, Fan Popo, Ragil Huda, and Ahmed Awadalla and a closing party.
Non, je ne regrette rien (No Regret) (Dir. Marlon T. Riggs) USA 1992, 38 min.
Sea in the Blood (Dir. Richard Fung) Canada 2000, 26 min.
Slow-motion shots revealing parts of bodies and fragmented films ask the audience to re-construct these slices as fully embodied human beings. Taking a US-American Black-queer perspective in Non, je ne regrette rien (No Regret) and a Canadian-Caribbean Asian-queer viewpoint in Sea in the Blood, both films interweave centuries-old intersubjective sociality, bodily memories, and poetics of kinship – which have been inspiring the queer BIPOC social movements since decades.
Popo Fan, born 1985, is a Berlin-based Chinese diaspora filmmaker, curator and writer. His films include queer activism documentaries and scripted, sex-positive shorts. For more than a decade, he has organized the Beijing Queer Film Festival and founded the Queer University Video Training Camp in China. In 2019 he curated film series More Than A Midnight Rainbow about Chinese-made and Chinese-speaking queer films at bi’bak.
Ragil Huda is a graduate student at the Asien-Afrika Institut, Universität Hamburg. He co-founded QTIBIPoC Hamburg (Queer, Trans*, Intersex, Black, Indigenous, and Persons of Color) and is part of an international network called ‘Queer’ Asia in Berlin collective. His community engagement specifically centers on queerness, intersectionality, community building, anti-racism, and the social-political realities of marginalized people through various methodologies and creative activism.
Sarnt Utamachote is a filmmaker, photographer and curator. He is a co-founder of un.thai.tled, a collective of Thai-diasporic creatives in Germany, through which he curated un.thai.tled Film Festival Berlin as well as Beyond the kitchen: Stories of Thai Park, for example. His video installation I Am Not Your Mother (2020) was officially exhibited at the International Film Festival Rotterdam, and his short film Soy Sauce (2020) was premiered at OutFest Fusion Queer Film Festival Los Angeles.