2024 Line-Up For Queer East Festival Announced

Founded in response to the systemic lack of East and Southeast Asian representation on stage, screen and behind the scenes, Queer East Festival was formed in 2020 and has made its mark in London and across the UK with its bold programmes of LGBTQ+ cinema and visual arts, growing in popularity andsize year-on-year, and celebrating its fifth anniversary this year.

For 2024, Queer East Festival launches its fifth year milestone with a remarkable line up of film screenings, arts and performance events across London from 17 to 28 April 2024 and then across the UK later in the year. The programme includes contemporary feature films, documentaries and shorts as well as special anniversary and retrospective screenings that showcase a wide range of LGBTQ+ stories from East Asia, Southeast Asia and their diaspora communities.

Queer East Festival’s ground-breaking film programme challenges conventions and stereotypes giving audiences an opportunity to explore the contemporary queer landscape across East and Southeast Asia. Amplifying the voices of Asian communities are the UK Premieres of features, documentaries and shorts exploring young queer love, gender nonconformity and asexual identity, as well as thought-provoking classics with the 20th Anniversary screening of Chinese-American romantic comedy Saving Face and 50th Anniversary screening of the once-considered-lost Japanese title Bye Bye Love. Furthermore, the festival’s ‘Expanded’ programme will host a series of unique screening events allowing you to take a dip at a sauna, take a guided walk around a museum garden, or get tied up at an immersive bondage endurance test and more.

Queer East Festival’s boundary-pushing programming is not confined to the film screen, with a dance performance, poetry workshop, and an inaugural Queer East arts exhibition – shedding:::selves – rounding off a truly exciting line-up of experiences.

Embarking on this fifth anniversary edition, Queer East Festival reaffirms a commitment to diversifying the cultural landscape in the UK, and to serving as a platform that nurtures dialogue on the multifaceted understandings of what it means to be Asian and queer today.

Queer East 2024 begins on 17 April at Barbican Centre with an Opening Gala UK Premiere screening of the exhilarating coming-of-age story A Song Sung Blue (China, 2023). Nominated for the Queer Palm and Golden Camera at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival, A Song Sung Blue follows lonely, 15-year-old Xian as she experiences a summer she will never forget. When her mother moves away for work, Xian moves in with her free spirited photographer father and a restless summer ensues when she becomes infatuated with his assistant’s daughter, the extroverted Mingmei. A Song Sung Blue is the feature debut from acclaimed short film director Geng Zihan (A Ray of Sunshine, 2019; Green Screen, 2021), and features vivid cinematography, exceptional performances from Kay Huang and Jing Liang, and  is a testament to the innocence and impulses of youth, which signals the arrival of a powerful new voice in queer cinema.

This year’s Closing Gala, taking place at BFI Southbank on 28 April, celebrates the 50th anniversary of Isao Fujisawa’s Bye Bye Love (Japan, 1974). Until the discovery of a film negative in a warehouse in 2018, Bye Bye Love was long considered lost, but this new print gives audiences a rare chance to revisit this radical work of 1970s Japanese cinema, which recalls the 1969 queer classic Funeral Parade of Roses. Following two young people, Utamaro and Giko, on a doomed summer road trip through Japan, this poetic, surreal work reflects on the dissipating promise of 1960s counterculture and free love, transcending gender, sexuality and the body. With a blend of stylistic influences from the French New Wave and American New Cinema along with a rethinking of Japanese artistic traditions, conventional understandings are challenged through a queer lens, adding to the political charge of this rediscovered classic.

Click Here for the full Programme of Feature Films, Shorts and Special Events