Austin Asian American Film Festival: Prismatic Taiwan, A Series Celebrating Queer Taiwanese Cinema Ep 91

24 August 2020

A note from Talking Taiwan host Felicia Lin:


Prismatic Taiwan, is a virtual, six-film series celebrating the past and present of queer Taiwanese cinema, co-presented by the Austin Asian American Film Festival (AAAFF). I recently spoke with Hanna Huang, the Executive Director of the Austin Asian American Film Festival and Josh Martin of the special programs team about the lineup of films that span 1970-2016. As you’ll hear in the interview, a lot of research and thought went into the film selections. The films offer a different perspective on Taiwan’s history and insight into Taiwan’s LGBTQ history. You can watch all six films for under $15 and Talking Taiwan listeners can also get an additional $2 off when they use the code: TALKING.


Next week’s episode will feature my interview with one of the film directors, Huang Hui-chen about her film, Small Talk, a deeply personal documentary that was 20 years in the making.



Here’s a little preview of what we talked about in this podcast episode:


  • How the Austin Asian American Film Festival has screened many Taiwanese films throughout the years
  • The retrospective of six Hou Hsiao-hsien films at the Austin Asian American Film Festival in September 2018
  • How a Taiwan Queer Film Retrospective has actually been in the works since 2018
  • The Austin Asian American film festival started in 2004, but was known as the Austin Asian film festival until 2007 when an Asian American organizer, Masashi Niwano stepped in
  • The mission of the Austin Asian American Film Festival, which is to bring to light Asian and Asian American stories through cinema
  • Their programming is year round
  • The main film festival is usually held in June, but this year they had a short film online festival featuring 36 short films
  • Prismatic Taiwan, a six film retrospective of queer films spanning 1970-2016
  • A retrospective of Asian American films is being planned for the late fall (November)
  • The meaning behind the name Prismatic Taiwan
  • How they translated the word prismatic with the Chinese word for kaleidoscope, therefore Prismatic Taiwan A Queer Film Series has been translated into Chinese as: 萬花同志電
  • How the first film of Prismatic Taiwan, The End of the Track from 1970 was thought lost but has been recovered and is being reintroduced to audiences
  • How they narrowed down the film selection from over 20 films to 6
  • The one film that they couldn’t include in Prismatic Taiwan when the Austin Asian American Film Festival went online, Ang Lee’s The Wedding Banquet
  • The second film in the series, Outcasts (aka The Outsiders) as made in 1986 right before martial law in Taiwan was lifted
  • How they selected films that were not that easy to find
  • The River, was set in 1997 around the emergence of the gay club scene in Taipei
  • Not Simply a Wedding Banquet, set in 1997 is a documentary
  • Spider Lilies (2007) and Small Talk (2016) feature female gay characters whereas The River and Not Simply a Wedding Banquet feature male gay characters
  • September 5th live event, a Transnational Queer Activism Panel featuring Film Director Zero Chou in collaboration with Asian Cinevision along with others from the U.K. and Taiwan
  • Small Talk (2016) is a documentary film that was 20 years in the making and was executive produced by Hou Hsiao-hsien and Taiwan’s submission to the Academy Awards
  • These films tell the story of Taiwan’s history and queer history
  • How Director Tsai Ming-Liang, made the film I Don’t Want To Sleep Alone in Malaysia but it was banned there
  • Previously Tsai Ming-Liang had said that he wasn’t comfortable having his films in a queer film festival but that has changed since the legalization of gay marriage in Taiwan
  • How there were film distributors or filmmakers who didn’t want their film to be a part of the queer series
  • The background of Mou Tun-Fei the director of The End of The Track
  • How the design of the poster for Prismatic Taiwan was inspired by Kaohsiung’s Love River
  • Prismatic Taiwan is offering a SPECIAL DISCOUNT to listeners of Talking Taiwan, just use the code: TALKING to get $2 off when you purchase your tickets from August 38-September 13



Related Links:


Prismatic Taiwan Press Release  (CLICK TO OPEN)


Austin Asian American Film Festival:



Purchase tickets to Prismatic Taiwan and for more info on the September 5th live event, virtual roundtable discussion event with Asian Cinevision and director

Zero Chou, entitled “Creating Transnational Queer Asian Spaces”:



Austin Asian American Film Festival Facebook page:


Austin Asian American Film Festival on Instagram:


Austin Asian American Film Festival on Twitter:


Small Talk at LGBTQ Film Festival: An Interview with Director Huang Hui-chen Ep 92

What Led to Taiwan’s Same Sex Marriage? Ep 83

Taiwan Pride Parade of the World: Speaking with Organizer Darien Chen Ep 82

Grace Lee: Documentary Filmmaker on A-Doc Ep 76

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