One Equal World

&Proud Festival to Expand

Posted on: March 23, 2016

&proud-film-festival

2016 is the second happening of a very special film festival, held in the grounds of the French Institute in Myanmar. In November 2014, the &Proud Festival became the very first LGBT film festival to ever happen in that country. Even though homosexual sex remains illegal under a law called Article 377, more than 2,000 people attended the films and communal festival.

This year, they want to expand, and to become more public. The festival wants to be more accessible to the nation’s queer community. They currently can’t move into public cinemas, because government censors control those, so they are still seeking venues. So long as they stay in international screens, and as long as the films are not translated into Burmese, the common language of the populace, they are allowed to be invisible.

Article 377 is being fought in the halls of Myanmar’s governments, but while those wheels grind slowly, the LGBT citizens of the country are slowly, for the first time, beginning to build communities amongst themselves. &Proud is proud to be part of this.

The festival also hosts the Rainbow Reels workshop, where young people can learn to create their own movies and tell their own stories. To many, this is the entire point of the film festival. There is a desperate need in Burmese media for these stories.

“There’s not even a neutral word for gay in Burmese, all terms used to describe us are just insults,” Ko Latt, a gay performer, explained.

In such an environment, pride must take extra effort. But it is so much more important.

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