Hong Kong Express: Following on the footsteps of films like Hong Kong's first openly out gay director Stanley Kwan's HOLD YOU TIGHT and Wong Kar-Wai's HAPPY TOGETHER, the Hong Kong film industry continues to see an explosion of gay, lesbian and transgendered characters, themes and directors. This year's festival is pleased to present not one but two major new Hong Kong features. BISHONEN premiered internationally to great acclaim at the Berlin Film Festival earlier this year. PORTLAND STREET BLUES, a spin-off from the wildly successful YOUNG AND DANGEROUS series, garnered Sandra Ng and Shu Qi the Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress awards respectively at this year's Hong Kong Academy Awards.

Spanish Retro: With the end of the authoritarian Franco regime in the mid-1970s, Spanish filmmakers were free to address themes that had been suppressed for years. This quartet of ground-breaking films, three never before released in Japan, were among the first to bring gay, lesbian and transgender issues to the screen. From Victoria Abril's early steps towards a SEX CHANGE and Manuel Banderas in a musical love triangle in THNGS CALLED LOVE to politics mixing with sex in THE DEPUTY and scandalously surreal goings-on in a convent in the early Almodovar DARK HABITS, these films provide a rare glimpse into Spain's own "cultural revolution." In a rare treat for Tokyo audiences,the festival is currently negotiating to show a selection of rarely-seen early 8mm shorts by Pedro Almodovar, awarded Best Director at this year's Cannes Film Festival for his newest film ALL ABOUT MY MOTHER.

Filmmaker Focus: New works by three of the most innovative, prominent and audacious lesbian and gay filmmakers working today. American video artist Sadie Benning (ME AND RUBYFRUIT, THIS PLACE CALLED LOVELY) takes new steps into fiction and animation with American coming-of-age tale FLAT IS BEAUTIFUL.
Japan's own Oki Hiroyuki, internationally acclaimed for the aural and visual poetics of previous works like HEAVEN-6-BOX, ponders love, life and filmmaking with a special festival cut of new film INSIDE HEART. Finally, the in imitable Bruce La Bruce (HUSTLER WHITE, SUPER 8 1/2) is back with a special late night screening of his new work, SKIN FLICK.

Asian Explosion: Who says all lesbian and gay films come from Europe and North America? This year, along with our Hong Kong Express premiere double-bill, the film festival is proud to present eight new films and videos from Hong Kong, India, Japan and Korea. Selections include the lush but controversial visual feast of FIRE, bold new Korean work from the Seoul Queer Film Festival, and strong contributions from the next wave of Japanese and Hong Kong gay filmmakers.

Summer Boys and Summer Girls: With our new dates in July, this year's festival hums with the heat of summer, from sunshine and tanlines to lazy, free-spirited afternoons. In keeping with the season, we've put together two shorts programmes, SUMMER BOYS and SUMMER GIRLS, that radiate the sexiness, romance and adventure that can only mean summertime.

Festival Gala Party "Le Grand Bal"
Saturday, July 17, 8pm - 12am, Spiral Cafe (1F)
Entrance 2000 yen
Sponsored by United Arrows

Dust off your glamour and pull out your style, Le Grand Bal is back!
Whether lesbian, gay, bi, trans, hetero or none of the above, the festival gala offers something for everyone. A few steps beyond the average event, Le Grand Bal presents performances, DJs, and the chance to mingle with stars, visiting directors, festival guests and Tokyo's hottest drag queens in the lounge-style setting of Spiral Cafe.

Festival Bar
Runs for the duration of the festival, 3F Spiral Hall lobby
Sponsored by Absolute Vodka and Kirin Seagram

Once again, the festival free bar will be open in the 3F lobby of Spiral Hall for the duration of the festival. Absolut cocktails and soft drinks are on us (needless to say we do accept tips), so come enjoy a drink before or after a film. The festival kiosk will also be open, with books, goods and videos for your perusal and purchase.


(C) Tokyo International L&G Film&Video Festival