15 Short Films you shouldn’t miss at the 4th Queer East Film Festival

These are fifteen short films you shouldn’t miss at the Queer East Film Festival which will take place from April 18 – 30, 2023 in venues across London, UK.

Adju by Elvis A-Liang Lu – Taiwan | 2021 – 25 minutes

Mo Fan and Chen Wei are ADJU, a word meaning sisters in the Paiwan language. The traditional mindset of the community, paired with their Catholic upbringing, have forced Mo Fan and Chen Wei to avoid confrontation; to keep silent and accept the hierarchy and the conventions of their society. (QEFF 2023)


Butch Up! by Lee Yu-jin – Korea | 2022 – 12 minutes

Mi-hae, the lead vocalist in a band, has just been dumped by her girlfriend and band. Miserable, she cannot get herself to sing her old band’s most popular hit, Oppa’s Girl, but then she meets Chaechae, a transgender TV celebrity. (QEFF 2023)


Cicada by Yoon Dae-woen – Korea | 2021 – 17 minutes

This horror short is about Chang-hyeon, a transgender sex worker, who meets a client with mystifying questions about her past. The uncomfortable conversation between her and this strange, yet familiar, intruder soon becomes violent.  (QEFF 2023)


Dikit by Gabriela Serrano – Philippines | 2021 – 16 minutes

Living in isolation and yearning for human connection, a woman afflicted with a dark curse develops an obsession with her new neighbors: a young couple hiding a secret of their own. As the days pass, she begins to witness happenings between them that ultimately force her to confront her monstrous nature, and perhaps even save a life in the process. Loosely based on a lost silent film by Jose Nepomuceno, Dikit reimagines classic Philippines folklore into a contemporary diptych of feminine bodies, rage, and freedom. Named one of CNN Philippines Life’s Best Filipino Films of 2021. (QEFF 2023)


Don’t Worry by Kim Tae-yong – Korea | 2022 – 19 minutes

Hanyeol, a openly gay man, has a secret crush on Suho, his soon-to-be-married best friend. Suho has secret affection for Hanyeol. A night, Suho decides to make a move that could change the pair’s relationship completely.   (QEFF 2023)

Fishbowl by Jacqueline Chan – US | 2021 – 15 minutes

Natalie drives back home with her childhood friend, Joanne, to celebrate Chinese New Year. But the supposedly festive and inviting family gathering is now tinged with animosity. Natalie finds herself juggling the growing affection between her and Joanne and the unnerving attention placed upon them by both their families. (QEFF 2023)


Garden Amidst the Flame by Natasha Tontey – Indonesia | 2022 – 28 minutes

Garden Amidst the Flame is a coming of age story where we are guided into the fantasy of a young Minahasan girls in non-linear time structure. The journey began from young protagonist Virsay filling up the night with shaving her eyebrows with her younger sister in an unemotional display of the hypermasculinity of Minahasan culture. Without knowing her younger sister is one of member of the child gang that practises ancient knowledges, she encounters a realm of nowhere with the sudden appearance of a living fossil, the Coelacanth monster, on her bed, a Rooster beast dancing in her room which is beheaded by a child gang, and other fantastical and absurd situations.(QEFF 2023)

Rising Sun by Cheng Ya-chih – Taiwan | 2018 – 15 minutes

After the tragic death of her son, a grieving mother discovers an exam paper with his portrait, which she believes is a message from beyond. She embarks on a quest to unravel the mystery and find closure, hoping to have a chance to get closer to her child for one last time.(QEFF 2023)


Swimming in the Dark by Chen Pin-Ru – Taiwan | 2022 – 27 minutes

Chen Pin-Ru was born in Taipei in 1993. The subjects of her films are mostly female and LGBTQA+ and she is interested in capturing flowing emotions and turning them into image aesthetics.(QEFF 2023)


Tank Fairy by Erich Rettstadt – Taiwan, US | 2022 – 10 minutes

The fierce Tank Fairy delivers her magical gas tanks with sass, stilettos and a healthy helping of glitter. When she meets 10-year-old Jojo, a lonely boy who dreams of being a drag queen, the fairy godmother unleashes Jojo’s queer power.(QEFF 2023)


The Choir of Our Kind by Xu Zai, Wang Sisi – China | 2022 – 38 minutes

The film follows the journey of a queer choir in Nanjing. From initial recruitment to their first performance, the story of New Jump offers a lens to observe how current social and cultural situations affect a small queer community. What should a queer choir in China look like?  (QEFF 2023)


The Voice by Maral Ayurzana – Mongolia | 2022 – 15 minutes

A teenager records his a personal diary on a voice recorder. One day, envisioning his future self listening to this diary, he decides to come out to himself. This leads to an intimate conversation about self-acceptance. (QEFF 2023)


Truthless by Zhao Badou – China | 2021 – 27 minutes

Stand-up comedian Lady Lin revisits her hometown after her mother’s death and confronts the lies her family spread about her passing, in order to conceal her trans identity. Unable to process her conflicting emotions, her only hope of reconciliation with her family is an onstage act. (QEFF 2023)

We Were Never Really Strangers by Patrick Pangan – Philippines | 2022 – 15 minutes

Gio and Miguel, two strangers, spark a strong connection in a random encounter outside a church. As their conversation deepens, they discover in each other an escape from their present selves and a source of inspiration for who they aspire to become, leading them towards a different fate. (QEFF 2023)


Will You Look At Me by Huang Shuli – China | 2022 – 20 minutes

As a young Chinese filmmaker returns to his hometown in search for himself, a long overdue conversation with his mother plunges the two of them into a quest for acceptance and love.  (QEFF 2023)


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