Thoughts Out Loud: My Q! Film Festival Experience

I’ve been wanting to share my experience of going to Q! Film Festival earlier this month, so why not make it the 5th and last post of The 5 Obstruction Blogathon? This month obstruction is actually not an obstruction as we are free to write about anything as long as it’s not a review, yay! :D
Q! Film Festival is celebrating their 12th year anniversary in 2013. Every year they brought a variety of films from various genre, both international and local production, mostly dealing with LGBT culture and sexuality as its main theme. With more than 80 films in their line up for 2013, the festival runs for about 2 weeks with several pre-festival screening (naughtily called foreplay). You probably knew how LGBT issue meant for me, when i wrote a little about it during LGBT blogathon last June. Well since this is my first time and i have no frame of reference, please forgive my wide-eyed newness to the festival (cue Madonna’s Like a Virgin here XD)

I was made aware by the festival resurrection this year when i was reading, which mention several movie line up for the film. From both the twitter and their website i realized they announce their screening in an almost impromptu fashion, 24hr before the schedule. But their selection was quite interesting. I can only watch on some days since i was still spending half my time in Bandung and half my time in Depok (which is close enough to Jakarta, but always have horrendous traffic jams 24/7). I went to the screenings alone half the time and accompanied by N the other time.

SCHEDULES. Unless you get your paws on the schedule they distribute at their venues, you’d be clueless about their time table. I fully understand that this is their way to avoid altercations with various hardliners who were against the Festival. Although, I think in some ways it backfired and became the reason behind the low number of attendees in each venue as well. I remember i attend one of the screening on a sunday (for crying out loud) and i was the only one there.

VENUES. This year they have several different venues for their screening functions, some are located in a strategic points, some are more ominous than others. Every day there are two to three films screened in multiple venues making it quite hard for me to decide which film to watch. Since the gap between shows was only about 20-30 minutes, traveling to other venues within those time-slot was not always a feasible option, considering Jakarta hellish traffic.

FILM SELECTION. IS. DIVINE! I am not exaggerating here. Although i sort of wished for 2013 Un Certain Regard winner at this year Cannes, La vie d’Adèle (Blue is The Warmest Color) as well as Travis Mathews’ and James Franco’s Interior. Leather Bar., a re-imagined film based on the lost, 40-minute long footage of 1980 Cruising. I can not be too disappointed. My personal highlight from the screening includes this year’s Cannes’ Queer Palm winner, Alan Guiraudie’s L’Inconnu Du Lac (Stranger by The Lake), Mathews’ latest piece from his documentary series, In Their Room London, Yen Tan’s Pit Stop, as well as Hors Les Murs, White Night, Ta Av Mig, and i’m sure there are several others that i missed due to scheduling conflicts. I regret i did not caught the local ones and some documentaries that are piqued my interest. I thank god i caught Yuke’s experimental Philomirrophobia that is probably harder to come by and won’t come to iTunes or released later as home media anyway.

A LITTLE AFTERTHOUGHT. Before every screening i remember there’s always a committee who reminds us of the rules, one of them were reminding each viewer that the nature of the film can be offensive and we are advised to leave the venue if we were discomforted by the content. At one of the screening a girl walked out of the theater, leaving in haste probably due to the graphic nature of the film, i overheard some of the other attendee whispers that seemed to condemned the girl, saying she should’ve know about it. In someway i applaud the girl for coming in, that alone showing her interest and support to the cause. I think the (presumably) gay men who were making the comments against her should be embarrassed for not recognizing this, instead judging her what she (a hijab-wearing muslim women) is and her walking out. I also wear hijab, and i might be reading to much into it, but some people i met show some reluctance when interacting with me.  I guess our ignorance and tolerance really should works both ways. I have to applaud the committee for being responsible with the age limit and rating of the film they screen though, i think it is important for viewers seeing the right movie according to their maturity level, something that local cinemas still have trouble controlling at the moment.

I realized that Indonesia is still light years away from becoming a safe and understanding place for diversity and tolerance, be it for LGBT or anything at all. I’m heartbroken by the level of ignorance and antipathy displayed not only by people in general, but even my peers who are calling themselves youth that promotes mutual understanding. But I hope that Q! Film Festival will continue its dedication to bring these important issues to light through their festival in the coming years, who know i’d be able to contribute more than just attending and sharing my thoughts on the films in the coming years! :D

I had a fabulous time! Thank you, Q!

PS: I have to mention a special thank you to Mr. S, who were there when i came for Philomirrophobia screening and still screened the film even though i was the only patron there. And thank you for returning my movie-watching notebook when i left it after that one screening!  :D I hope we can keep in touch and i’ll see you again really soon!


Go HERE to read KaramelKinema reviews on film featured at 2013 Q! Film Festival.


2 thoughts on “Thoughts Out Loud: My Q! Film Festival Experience

  1. Well, I actually followed the facebook account of the film festival and hoping to go, I admit one of my obstacle to watch it was because their way to telling the schedule per day, and I often have another schedule. I actually wear hijab too, and I just wanted to experience the festival. I know seeing films in it could be graphic (I saw Behind The Caledabra and a little uncomfortable with some of the scenes). I don’t know if I can watch it next year though because I’ve been advised not to go. But I still think that it’s another way of appreciating movies and admire their bravery to go on.

    • I know, the ‘impromptu’ schedules is a bit annoying ya.
      There are films which is more graphic than others, i’m more comfortable with sexual implicitness than violence, so i’m perfectly comfortable. But i get how it can be a source of discomfort for a lot of people too, i guess thats why i appreciate the committee for saying we could leave if we found the materials as disturbing.

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