‘Under-heard’ voices emerge at Vancouver Queer Film Festival
Amber Dawn can’t say enough about the documentary I Am.
“I Am is the epitome of the dissolve between the camera and the interview subjects,” said Dawn, director of programming for the 23rd annual Vancouver Queer Film Festival, Aug. 11 to 21.
She said director Sonali Gulati clearly gained the trust of her queer South Asian subjects and their families because the resulting interviews are so intimate. Gulati started making the film when being homosexual was a criminal offence in India and finished it when related laws had been struck down. Subsequently, I Am, screening with Gulati in attendance Aug. 13, captures the sense of celebration and the attitudinal shifts about being gay that occurred in Indian families and communities.
This marks the second year the queer film festival includes a broad focus on Asian voices. “Representing under-heard voices is very important at the festival,” said Dawn, who noted Vancouver’s queer community is just as diverse as the greater community and includes many newcomers.
Tickets to the hard-hitting documentary The Dancing Boys of Afghanistan, also part of Asian Voices, are moving swiftly, Dawn said. The film infiltrates a circle of warlords, former military commanders and wealthy businessmen who recruit street orphans and poor boys for entertainment and sexual gratification. Brought to the attention of the United Nations, The Dancing Boys (Aug. 16) etches the distinction between homosexual sex and exploitation.