Film about life of gay coal miner in rural China released

Comrade Yue, about the filmmaker's life as a gay coal miner in rural Shanxi province in China, premieres in Beijing next week

Film about life of gay coal miner in rural China released
14 June 2013

A documentary about the life of a gay coal miner in rural Shanxi province in China will premiere next week in Beijing.

Comrade Yue is ‘an intimate and artistic portrait’ of debut filmmaker Yue Jianbo, who attended a queer film training workshop in March 2012. His idea was one of two chosen to be made into a full-length documentary.

Initially Yue did not plan to be the subject of the movie, but he couldn’t persuade other gay coal miners he knew to appear on camera. 

‘There are a lot of gay coal miners around,’ said the filmmaker in an interview with Time Out Shanghai. ‘We should not discriminate against them just because that they are considered lowly.’

The documentary explores how Yue’s hobbies, marathon running and playing rock music, gradually led to him to discover his sexuality. He divorced his wife of six years and came out to her and his family.

‘I would like to show the people who watch my film that being happy has nothing to do with your occupation and sexual orientation,’ said Yue to Time Out Shanghai. ‘Being a gay coal miner can be a very happy life, regardless of the stigma attached.’

The trailer for Comrade Yue is on the Queer Comrades website and the film with be premiered at a screening Beijing on 22 June.

The other film chosen to be made at last year’s queer film training was about trans men. Brothers by Yao Yao was premiered last month at the launch of a campaign to increase trans visibility in China.

Veteran Chinese LGBT filmmaker Fan Popo, who supervised both films, said he is very proud of Yue and Yao Yao.

‘Both of the topics are invisible in China,’ he said. ‘It’s very important for us to see them. They are not easy to do, but Yao Yao and Yue Jianbo are just the right people to make it happen.’

Fan is currently raising money so that he can present his latest film, Rainbow Mama, at film festivals in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

At Queer Comrades film training workshop this year organizers chose two more documentaries to be made.

‘One is about transgender sex workers in Dongbei [northeast China], one is about the "travel queeries" of a lesbian filmmaker – traveling through China, she meets up with local LGBT people, and films a documentary about her encounters,’ said Queer Comrade’s Stijn Deklerck. 

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available

Obama says repeal of Don't Ask, Don't tell has strengthened US security

Makes statement on one-year anniversary of end of anti-gay policy
No thumbnail available

Karen and Jack together again as Megan Mullally re-teams with Sean Hayes

Emmy winner will play the sister of former Will & Grace co-star on episode of Sean Saves the World
No thumbnail available

Judge in Rutgers webcam case thinks 30 days in jail is harsh enough for Dharun Ravi

'I can’t find it in me to remand him to state prison that houses people convicted of offenses such as murder, armed robbery and rape'
No thumbnail available

Gay Muslim risks death filming pilgrimage to Mecca for new documentary

'I was there making this pilgrimage for the thousands of gay Muslims who were too scared to go to Saudi Arabia'
No thumbnail available

Meghan McCain not impressed with Obama's endorsement of gay marriage

John McCain's daughter says president should be touting federal legislation
No thumbnail available

Lesbian teacher fired by Catholic high school in Ohio and more than 4,000 sign petition in protest

Carla Hale's firing came after the name of her female partner appeared in her mother's obituary
No thumbnail available

South Africa gets first gender equal, gay friendly ‘open mosque’

A so-called ‘open mosque’ where male and female Muslims will worship together and where LGBTI people will be welcome will open its doors on Friday in the South African city of Cape Town
No thumbnail available

Good Morning America's gay weather anchor is leaving ABC after 25 years

Sam Champion accepts 'amazing opportunity' with the Weather Channel
No thumbnail available

Luke Macfarlane excited about his role as gay military man on NBC's The Night Shift

The out actor enjoys working with 'very handsome' straight co-star Brendan Fehr who plays his semi-closeted boyfriend
No thumbnail available

Adrenaline, yoga and beauty in Key West

We explore some highlights of the Florida Keys for LGBT holiday makers