Be a Woman premieres in Amsterdam this week

A documentary about drag queens in southwest China has its European premiere this week in Amsterdam

Be a Woman premieres in Amsterdam this week
03 April 2012

CinemAsia Film Festival in Amsterdam starts tomorrow with a Queer & Asian section screening seven films from Indonesia, China, Singapore, The Philippines and Japan.

Gay Star News talk to Chinese director Fan Popo who is presenting the European premiere of his film, Be a Woman, about drag queens in Nanning in southwest China.

What was the most challenging aspect about making Be a Woman?

The biggest challenge was the funding issue. As queer films are banned in China, I can't get income from film screenings in China. Finally I did the filming with my own money and got grant from an USA foundation to do the editing.

The second challenge was to get my interviewees to trust me. I went to Nanning tree times in 2008, 2009 and 2010. Now they are all very good friends of mine. We are like a family. I'm going there again at the end of April.

What's life like for drag queens in China?

There are different styles in different cities. In the city of Nanning, where my documentary was filmed, they learnt a lot from Thailand (since it's only a one hour flight from Bangkok). You feel the Southeast Asia influence in their performance. The performers do enjoy their work and life, though they don't have very high income.

What other queer Asian films at the festival are you looking forward to seeing?

I really look forward to see Speechless by Simon Chung, a Hong Kong gay director's newest work. It was story of great suspense. And actually I helped with the translation of the script, but I still haven't seen it yet.

You recently spoke at a conference about Queer China in Manchester, UK, do you think there are misconceptions in the west about gay life in China?

For the scholars and activist in the conference, most of them already did a lot of research about this topic, so basically it's not a challenge. But for the audience in the public events, you have to explain a lot to them. Even for some Chinese students who study abroad. But it was very meaningful to make idea exchange.

What was your most interesting experience at the conference?

We had a film screening in the Chinese Art Center of Manchester. They asked a lot of difficult questions, which made me think a lot about myself and the movement.

What film are you working on next?

My next documentary in production was about mothers who support their gay and lesbian children, it was in cooperation with PFLAG China, and Queer Comrades webcast, it will release in June.

Watch the trailer to Be a Woman here: 

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available

Stephen Fry tweets support for Catholic priest's 'gay panic' petition

More than 12,000 people sign Australian priest's petition to abolish 'gay panic' loophole.
No thumbnail available

Sydney's first transgender film festival starts on Monday

Eleven short films and three features will be shown next week, creating a 'screen hub for transgender communities' 
No thumbnail available

Colin Farrell beat up bullies who attacked his gay brother

'He acted the part of the big brother. I hate fighting. But he would do that for me'
No thumbnail available

Find love, choose your number one song, raise cash to fight HIV

Two fundraisers coming up in London will give clubbers the chance to raise money for Elton John AIDS Foundation and support a unique London Marathon run
No thumbnail available

Gay man whose genes helped with knowledge of AIDS dies

In 1996, The Independent wrote an article about Stephen Crohn called The Man Who Can't Catch AIDS
No thumbnail available

150,000 march in Buenos Aires Gay Pride Parade

It is estimated that nearly 150,000 turned out for Saturday’s annual Buenos Aires Gay Pride Parade, the third since Argentina legalized same-sex marriage
No thumbnail available

Gay marriage has strengthened Canadian society, Anglican Rev tells New Zealand

Gay Anglican reverend tells St Paul's Cathedral in Dunedin that gay marriage has increased respect and tolerance in Canada
Why a healthy mind equals a healthy body

Why a healthy mind equals a healthy body

Matthew Jenkin puts his mind at rest to get his body in gear during his Olympic body challenge
No thumbnail available

Thousands protest for gay marriage in Taiwan

Legislator says a public hearing on gay marriage will be held later this month
No thumbnail available

David Cameron writes letter of thanks to ‘oldest gay in the village’

George Montague, in his 90s, was famously spotted driving his mobility scooter at 2009’s Brighton Pride