By GayAsiaNews.com

unnamedTaiwan: Taiwan is getting ready to host its first International Queer Film Festival which organizers say is an endeavor to showcase LGBT themes to the Taiwanese people as well as highlight awareness about issues the community faces.

“We hope that the Queer Festival will not only play an anchor role in showing to the Taiwanese people the diversity of the LGBT community but, at the same time, the similarity to everyone else in this country,” says Festival Director Jay Lin.

Victor Stevenson, the English PR for the first Taiwan International Queer Film Festival, told GayAsiaNews.com by email that this was the reason why “we have done all we can to have all of our movies with English and Chinese subtitles so that expats and Taiwanese alike can enjoy the films.”

The festival, details of which are available on the website http://www.tiqff.com, is scheduled to be held in Taipei Sept 26-30 and in Kaohsiung Oct 3-7.

As part of the event, organizers have organized a weekend-long workshop with guest such Kim Jho Gwang-soo, the openly gay film director in Korea, Nansun Shi, one of the most prolific producers of LGBT content and Stephen Israel.

The festival will also feature Peter Staley, a HIV/AIDS-LGBT rights activist and the main subject of the documentary How to Survive a Plague as one of its guests who after the film will participate in a Q&A session with several organizations working in HIV education and prevention.

The festival also aims to “becoming a platform for Taiwan made queer content” by creating the 1st Taiwan Queer Awards, said Stevenson. It has received about 100 submissions out of which a selected five will be shown to the public. The winner will be announced in Kaohsiung.

“We’re already started seeing our goal being fulfilled, when the second biggest LGBT festival in Europe, The Torino Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, emailed us asking for the contact information of some of our Taiwan Queer Shorts,” said Stevenson.

The first Taiwan International Queer Film Festival is being organized jointly by Taiwan International Media and Education Association and Portico Media.

Organizers have scheduled 60 films from 30 countries and will open with the German film I Feel Like Disco and will close with Anita’s Last Cha-Cha from the Philippines.

The festival hopes to attract the mainstream audience by selecting films dealing with children, parents, family and aging. It will also have a Transgender Shorts and HIV Shorts category to raise awareness on these issues.

Taiwan has one of the most equality minded societies with regards to the gay community in the Asia-Pacific region.

However, there remains stiff opposition to marriage equality laws and marriage between same-sex couples not legally recognized despite at least 1.2 million of the 23.4 million people in Taiwan identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

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