By Ibarra C. Mateo
TRUE to its advocacy of pushing for gender empowerment and gender equality, the Quezon City local government is a major pillar of the Quezon City International Pink Film Festival 2018 as the fest returns this November after three years of absence.
Quezon City 1st District Councilor Mayen Juico said that senior officials of the Quezon City government are “strong advocates and supporters” of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, queer (LGBTQ+) community.
Juico is the author of the landmark Quezon City ordinance which prohibits discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community, passed by the Quezon City Council on Sept. 30, 2014.
In a press conference, Prof. Nick Deocampo, QCIPFF founding director and festival director, said the festival, which will be held from Nov. 14 to 25, coincides with the 79th founding anniversary of Quezon City and the centennial of Philippine cinema.
“The QCIPFF is a space to narrate the truthful LGBTQ+ community situation. The color pink is politicized here. Pink is not only about coquetry and flirtation in the QCIPFF,” Deocampo said during the press conference.
Gilb Baldoza, deputy festival director for programming, said the 2018 edition showcases a total of 64 international and local features and short films, with filmmakers and actors from the US, Brazil, Indonesia, Tonga, Spain, Taiwan, Japan, Thailand, Syria, Turkey, and the United Kingdom participating.
Kristine Camille Sulit, deputy festival director for administration, said they are “in the process of tapping local celebrities” to endorse the QCIPFF.
The QCIPFF is considered as the Philippines’ oldest film festival for the LGBTQ+ community.
This year, the festival showcases films on health and sexuality and human rights.
Jethro Patalinghug’s “50 Years of Fabulous,” a documentary on the world’s oldest surviving LGBTQ+ charity organization, the San Francisco’s
Imperial Council, opens the festival on Nov. 14.
In the international film roster are films celebrating gay pride and sexuality such as Brazil’s “Liquid Truth,” Japan’s “Boys for Sale,” Turkey’s “Mr. Gay Syria,” Tonga’s “Leitis in Waiting,” and Thailand’s “The Driver.”
The Philippine lineup marks the life and contributions of Film Director Soxie Topacio, former Quezon City Pride Council president. Topacio’s comedy film “Ded na si Lolo” tops the Philippine films to be screened.
The highlight of the local film program is PJ Raval’s documentary on the tragic life of transgender Jennifer Laude “Call Her ‘Ganda.”
There 42 short films from various parts of the world and the Philippines to be screened.
Organizers said there will be seminars led by LGBTQ+ rights advocates on the sidelines of the festival.
This year’s festival promotes health and human rights concerns through film screenings and advocacy work, organizers said. Discussions and film screenings on issues such as HIV/AIDS, mental health, and human rights also take the center stage during the festival.
Moreover, the festival teams up with Amnesty International Philippines to talk about the current health and human rights situation concerning the LGBTQ+ community.
Project Red Ribbon Care Foundation will conduct HIV awareness program and testing.
The Philippine National AIDS Council has reported that this year, at least 32 Filipinos were being diagnosed with HIV-AIDS daily.
A total of 164 cases of hate crimes against the LGBTQ+ community were recorded during the period 1996-2012.
A 2017 report by the Human Rights Watch showed that “19 cities and six provinces have enforced pro-LGBTQ+ ordinances — with a meager 15 percent of the whole Philippine population protected.”
The bill on anti-discrimination is pending at the Philippine Congress, with no clear pathway for its passage.
Screening schedules are as follows: Nov. 14-17 at the Gateway Cinema Complex in Cubao, Nov. 19-21 at UP Cine Adarna in Diliman, and Nov. 22-25 at Cinema Centenario in Maginhawa Street.
The QCIPFF 2018 is a non-competitive celebration of local and international LGBTQ+ full-length and short films. It is a member of Asia-Pacific Queer Film Festival Alliance (APQFFA), a group of regional festivals with a shared love of queer cinema founded in 2015.