Thursday, July 18, 2013

Chinese Moms Talk About Their Queer Offspring in New Documentary

To listen to the KUCI Subversity Online podcast of our interview, recorded earlier today, with director Fan Popo,  click on:

Queer activists the world over will find this new documentary about coming out refreshingly different.  Instead of the typical coming out story from a gay or lesbian teenager or adult, Fan Popo's latest film, "Mama Rainbow," focuses rather on mothers of gay males or lesbians - and how they have become advocates for their offspring.

A lesbian and a mother from "Mama Rainbow"
Fan, young (born in 1985) and creative, is a product of Beijing Film Academy.  Working with the local activist group PFLAG China and the Queer Comrades webcast collective, the director has crafted a gender-balanced (in terms of offspring) movie that traipses across urban China in the quest of outspoken moms who have become active in the queer community in support of their children.  One of the more touching scenes is when a mother reveals to her son that in fact, she had already figured it all out months before her son told her, but she dared not ask her son if he is gay. 

In our Subversity Online interview, Fan concedes that the film features rather well-off families and mothers rather than fathers - although he reveals that some fathers (willing to be interviewed) were located after the film project was finished.

Fan at Outfest.  Photo copyright Daniel C. Tsang 2013
Developed from a shorter version posted online on the Queer Comrades video site, Fan suggests in the interview that half a dozen is the appropriate number of mothers to include.  His film may make viewers rethink what "family" means in a fast-modernizing China as well as moderating one's conception of "Tiger Moms".  Funding came from the partner groups, including those partially supported by the Ford Foundation.  The 2012 film is now on the festival circuit against a backdrop of growing efforts to combat homophobia in China.
Fan (right) is an award-winning documentary filmmaker whose latest film has been shown in China and at film festivals in Bombay, San Francisco (Frameline) and now at Outfest in Los Angeles.  The documentary screens Saturday, 20 July, 2013, at 2 p.m. at the downtown venue, Redcat at Disney Concert Hall, 631 W. 2nd St., Los Angeles, 90012.  For the entire festival lineup, see the Outfest LA program guide. See also ticket information. - Daniel C. Tsang.

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