Coming hot on the heels of Singapore’s landmark decision to overrule Section 377A of the penal code, which outlaws sex between men, Golden Village’s annual Love & Pride film festival returns once more to celebrate Freedom and Acceptance. Now in its 13th year, the festival is the longest-running film festival in Singapore dedicated to the LGBTQ+ community. Over the years, it has grown in stature and prominence and has become one of the signature events for both GV and the LGBTQ+ community.
This year’s event, which runs from 7th to 16th October, is all about acknowledging the strides various societies in the world have made towards understanding and accepting those in the LGBTQ+ community into mainstream society. Two internationally-acclaimed films – one chronicling the journey of a man who transitioned to identify as a woman and the other, of a gay teacher fighting for the freedom to love – are among the stellar lineup of films set to feature in this year’s festival.
“As Singapore’s biggest multiplex operator, we recognise the important role we play in making sure that our cinemas are inclusive and offer something for every aspect of society,” said GV CEO Clara Cheo.
To celebrate the 13th edition of the Love & Pride Film Festival, Golden Village will be hosting an opening night with the premiere priority screening of BROS on 4th October 2022. Attendees can also look forward to a Martell cocktail and drag act by local drag queen Vanda Miss Joaquim.
Written by Billy Eichner, BROS follows Bobby Lieber (Eichner), an “out and proud but also scared and self-doubting” New York museum curator, who is hired to write a romantic comedy about a gay couple. Along the way, he meets—and eventually falls in love with—Aaron, a “macho” lawyer (LukeMacFarlane). The film also stars LGBTQ+ icons such as Ts Madison, Benito Skinner, Bowen Yang, Harvey Fierstein and Rupaul’s Drag Race Season 13 winner Symone.
“It’s really apt that BROS, an unabashed celebration of LGBTQ+, is this year’s Opening Film at the 13th Love & Pride Film Festival, right after its well-received Premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. This romantic comedy will be warming the cockles of everyone’s hearts.” Said Ms Flora Goh, Managing Director of United International Pictures.
Other films in the lineup include the award-winning The Teacher, which picked up a Golden Horse Award for Best Supporting Actress (Winnie Chang Shih-Ying), and tells the story of a school teacher who openly voices his stance on marriage equality and is subsequently put under the spotlight because of his views. The film is set against the backdrop of the fight for marriage equality in Taiwan. Taiwan became the first Asian country to permit same-sex marriage on 24 May 2019.
In Miss Andy, Miss Evon, a.k.a. Andy, has paid a steep price to don a dress and finally be herself, at age 55. Having lost her job and family, and been faced with daily indignities, it’s a crushing blow when she learns her best friend has died. But then she meets illegal immigrant Sophie and her son, and her generous acts of humanity help restore hopes for a brighter future, albeit briefly. The film was awarded as the winner of the MM2 Creative Award at the 9th Golden Horse Project Promotion.
Set in the early ’90s, You Can Live Forever follows gay teen Jaime, who is sent to live with her devout Jehovah’s Witness relatives after the death of her father. Jaime makes an unexpected connection with Marike, the daughter of a prominent Witness Elder. The two are instantly drawn to each other, and begin a secret, unspoken romance. But when their attraction becomes too obvious to hide, the community moves to separate the two, forcing them each to make a terrible choice between faith and love.
Based on a true story, Firebird is a touching love story set in the Soviet Air Force during the Cold War. Sergey, a troubled young private, is counting the days till his military service ends. His life is turned upside down when a daring fighter pilot, Roman, arrives at the base. Driven by curiosity, Sergey and Roman navigate the precarious line between love and friendship as a dangerous love triangle forms between them and Luisa, the secretary to the base Commander.
Firebird was awarded the Audience Award for Feature Film at the Austin Gay & Lesbian International Film Festival. Tom Prior took home the Best Actor In A Feature Film award at the FilmOut San Diego’s 21st LGBTQ Film Festival.
With echoes of My So-Called Life and Juno—Sweetheart is a quirky, nostalgic coming-of-age tale for a new generation, and won the Audience Award at the Glasgow Film Festival and Best First Feature at The Inside Out 2SLGBTQ+ Film Festival. In the film, socially awkward and environmentally conscious teen ‘AJ’ has a few things on her mind. Mostly how the methane from all the cows is destroying the planet, and how she would rather be anywhere in the world than on holiday with her painfully uninspiring family.
Following AJ’s suspension from school, mum Tina has dragged AJ out of her bedroom and driven four hours to the family’s favourite coastal holiday park in Dorset. Joining them is AJ’s neurotic and heavily pregnant older sister Lucy, their curious younger sister Dayna and Lucy’s foot-rubbing, attentive boyfriend Steve. For AJ, the only thing worse than spending an entire week with her uniquely ‘un-woke’ family is being in a holiday cabin with no Wi-Fi. She’s determined to have the worst week of her life, but her plan comes unstuck when she meets carefree lifeguard Isla who sees through AJ’s uniquely adopted persona.
Finally, the festival also presents homegrown documentary Some Women, about transwoman Quen Wong, as she turns the camera on herself. At 46 years of age and on the cusp of marriage, Quen comes out of ‘stealth’ to begin a retrospective examination of her journey as a trans woman in conservative Singapore. Connecting with two other generations of trans women, she uncovers the buried queer history of Singapore’s Bugis street during its heyday and the political consciousness of a frustrated Gen Z. Meanwhile, a case of discrimination would lead to three peaceful protestors being arrested outside the Ministry of Education.
“We started the Love & Pride Film Festival 13 years ago when sentiments around accepting those from the LGBTQ+ community into mainstream society wasn’t as prevalent as it is today. Since then, public sentiment has shifted to become more accepting of those of an alternative lifestyle and our theme this year highlights that shift,” says GV CEO Clara Cheo.
“The films we brought in this year were specially curated for the excellence in filmmaking and storytelling but also to fit with our theme of Celebrating Freedom and Acceptance. We hope that through the films in this festival, we will help those in the LGBTQ+ community better tell their stories to the wider public.”
Golden Village’s 13th Love & Pride Film Festival runs from 7th to 16th October 2022. Opening night will be held on 4th October 2022 at GV Vivocity, featuring drag artist Vanda Miss Joaquim, and includes a glass of Martell Cocktail, a $5 dining credit voucher and goodie bag (worth $30) from BIODERMA and Scent Concepts. Tickets and full lineup available here