The 2019 Outfest Los Angeles LGBTQ Film Festival Announces Panel in Taiwan
The 2019 Outfest Los Angeles LGBTQ Film Festival in partnership with the Taiwan Academy in Los Angeles and the Taiwan Ministry of Culture will host a panel discussion to celebrate Taiwan's legalization of same-sex marriage and to highlight Taiwan's emerging status as a HUB for film and TV production.The free panel, titled "Filmmaking Opportunities in LGBTQ-friendly Taiwan," will be moderated by Taiwanese-American filmmaker Barney Cheng and will feature Taiwanese filmmakers Jay Lin and Pingwen Wang, American producer Aaron Shershow, American filmmaker Andrew Heitzman, who directed his last film Bai Bai in Taiwan, and Taiwanese film consultant Rancy Wang as speakers. The panel will take place at the TCL Chinese 6 theater on Saturday, July 20 at 11:15am, with a reception to follow. This is the second year of partnership between Taiwan Academy in Los Angeles and the Los Angeles-based festival. "Outfest is honored to be able to continue our relationship with the Taiwan Academy and the Taiwan Ministry of Culture," said Christopher Racster, Executive Director of Outfest. "We are proud to be able to showcase the incredible LGBTQ films and filmmakers coming out of Taiwan. It is an auspicious moment. During the festival, we have the opportunity recognize the tremendous support that the Taiwan Academy and the Ministry of Culture have given to Outfest, and we can celebrate the incredible milestone of the legalization of same-sex marriage in Taiwan." The landmark law, which passed in May, makes the self-ruled island the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage. Taiwan has become an emerging destination for film and TV production, especially of LGBTQ-themed stories. Indie hits such as Netflix's Dear Ex, Baby Steps, and The Wedding Banquet, have all been filmed in Taiwan, as well as mega hits like Ang Lee's Academy Award-winning Life of Pi, Martin Scorsese's Silence, and Luc Besson's Lucy starring Scarlett Johansson. "As filmmakers, we are always looking for ways to elevate story conflicts and explore universal themes," said Cheng, director of Baby Steps. "My gay-themed story explored the mother-son conflict, and the universal conflict could have taken place anywhere. Setting it in Los Angeles and Taiwan made the story even more compelling." This year, Outfest will also showcase two bold Taiwanese short films, Military Dog, from director Pingwen Wang, about a young officer who gets pleasure from being his master's loyal dog, and Gentleman Spa, directed by Jhi-han Yu, about a lonely, romantic gay spa janitor who unexpectedly bonds with his massage client. "The two films challenge, inspire and touch audiences," said Emmy Yang, Director of Taiwan Academy in Los Angeles. "Taiwan is committed to LGBTQ rights. Freedom of artistic expression in Taiwan reflects that commitment." For more information and for a complete listing of films in 2019 Outfest Los Angeles LGBTQ Film Festival, log on to outfest.org or call 213-480-7065, between 11:00am-7:00pm PST.