The only 6 films to catch when IndigNation’s queer film festival returns this August

August can be a confusing time for the LGBTQI community in Singapore—does one celebrate the nation’s glorious independence, or revile the age-old codes leftover from a hazy period of imperial colonization during Singapore’s annual pride season? Barely a month after the 10th anniversary of Pink Dot, Singapore’s LGBT festival IndigNation returns for its 14th edition, opening with a full week of LGBTQI films that will hopefully continue to propel the conversation in the right direction. Here’s what’s happening.

Weekends (Aug 1, 8pm)

What is it about gay men and choirs? Opening the festival, Weekends is the humorous but heartbreaking true documentary of the oldest gay men’s chorus in South Korea, G-voice, formed in 2003 to tell stories about sexual minorities through music. The film tenderly navigates the members’ journey to planning their first big concert, battling discrimination and a deeply homophobic nation along the way.

It’s Easier to Raise Cattle & Gender Troubles: The Butches (Aug 2, 8pm)

This double bill marries a short film and a documentary through the unifying theme of navigating gender expectations. The first, which screened in competition at the 2017 Singapore International Film Festival, is Malaysian director Amanda Nell Eu’s take on blossoming femininity, and sees a heavyset village girl befriending a mysterious beauty with a dark, violent secret.

Gender Troubles: The Butches, then, takes the frustrating idea of gender conformity and digs right into it, through an open exploration of an othered few within an already discriminated community. Written and directed by Lisa Plourde, the 54-minute documentary is a proudly self-proclaimed film by butches, for butches.

Asian Short Films (Aug 3, 8pm)

For socio-political art in small doses, there’s this selection of five queer short films from Southeast and South Asia. Of the five, Cocoon from China follows a 12-year-old’s world as it’s thrown upside down, when she sees her mother with another woman; Any Other Day from India is the concise look at a single day’s tumultuous events in a country also dealing with Section 377 (hooray, post-colonial camaraderie); and A Simple Love Story from Myanmar is anything but—in its telling of a love story between a trans man and trans woman. More information on the films here.

Malila: The Farewell Flower (Aug 4, 3pm)

Rising Thai director Anucha Boonyawatana’s sophomore feature film is a poetic visual essay on a tragic gay romance between former lovers Shane and Pich. The story centers on the making of a traditional Thai ceremonial ornament; with this the tranquility of nature sets a serene backdrop for the two to reflect on their past as they struggle to move forward, both with their own demons to face.

Si Chedeng At Si Apple (Aug 4, 8pm)

“Is there an age limit for coming out?” A single astute question sets the tone for this absurdist Filipino comedy, which pairs 60-year-old best friends Chedeng and Apple as hilarious anti-heroes running away from the law and familial expectations—Chedeng in search of her first love, a woman; and Apple in search of salvation after an unfortunate accident involving her husband’s head.

Those Long-Haired Nights (Aug 5, 3pm)

Finally, closing the 14th Queer Film Festival is an unflinching portrait of prostitution in the red light district of Manila, complicated further by the lead narratives from transgender women Tuesday, Amanda and Barbie. Director Gerardo Calagui helps these women navigate the violent and exploitative world of sex work with surprising warmth and authenticity.

IndigNation Queer Film Festival happens Aug 1-5 at The Projector. Tickets available here