2021 Festival

Media Release

Free and online July 30 – August 15 at HGCLF.org

Honolulu – May 16, 2021–

The Honolulu Rainbow Film Festival is going virtual again this year, hosting an online festival from July 30 to August 15, 2021 on the Honolulu Gay and Lesbian Cultural Foundation’s website. The free event will use films and an interactive talk-story event to highlight the challenges and opportunities faced by Hawaiʻi’s LGBTQ community during the coronavirus pandemic and recent anti-Asian sentiment.

New this year, HRFF becomes a hub of LGBTQ programming for the Asia Pacific region, as the host of the 2021 Asia Pacific Queer Film Festival Alliance (APQFFA) Short Film Festival. Viewers worldwide will be treated to a showcase of the best short films from the region.

“In a year of unprecedented discrimination and violence against Asians here in the United States and around the world, we take special pride in raising the visibility of our Asian and Pacific lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, māhū, and intersex community through the creative medium of film,” says board president and programming chair Dean Hamer.

The festival will award two prizes:

APQFFA GRAND PRIZE- $1000 (awarded by a jury of participating festival programmers)

AUDIENCE AWARD- $500 (highest view count)

“We are fortunate to be able to hold such events in Hawaiʻi without government interference or societal condemnation, but realize many of our fellow festivals and filmmakers are in a more precarious situation. We hope this event will provide an opportunity for creative, queer filmmakers from all locations to have their work widely seen and appreciated by the widest possible audience,” adds board member Brandin Shim.

HRFF32 community allies are Bank of Hawaii Foundation, Hula’s Bar & Lei Stand, Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority, Hawaiian Airlines, and Honolulu Magazine.

HRFF is one of the longest continually running LGBTQ film festivals in the world, and has long been noted as a bridge for queer cinema between Hawaiʻi, Asia and the Pacific, and the West. It is presented by the Honolulu Gay and Lesbian Cultural Foundation, founded in 1997 as a non- profit 501(c)3 organization whose mission is to educate and raise awareness of the community-at-large about gay and lesbian culture, arts, and lifestyle, in honor of Hawaiʻi LGBTQ pioneer Adam Baran. More at HGLCF.org.

Stream films for free at: www.hglcf.org #HRFF32 / Facebook: Honolulu Rainbow Film Festival / IG: @hrfilmfest / Twitter: @hrfilmfest

In 2021 HRFF hosted the 2021 Asia Pacific Queer Film Festival Alliance (APQFFA) Short Film Competition, featuring the best new LGBTQ work from the region.

The jury prize of $1000 and audience prize of $500 are supported by Qwaves, a Hawaiian multimedia engagement and empowerment collective.



Directed by Leela Varghese

Synopsis:  Lizzy has an obsession with a girl who sells novelty candles. Will she work up the courage to ask her out or will she just buy out the whole store?

Film Courtesy : Melbourne Queer Film Festival



Why Did She Have To Tell The World?

Directed by Abbie Pobjoy

Synopsis: Francesca Curtis and Phyllis Papps are many things. Researchers. Writers. Ultra-Feminists. Partners. They are also the first lesbian couple to come out on national television almost fifty years ago. Putting everything on the line, Phyllis and Francesca appeared on ABC TV This Day Tonight’s interview about lesbianism in October 1970.

Film Courtesy : Mardi Gras Film Festival



The Rogers

Directed by Hamer, Wilson

Synopsis: An intimate glimpse of the first visible group of transgender men in the Pacific Islands – the Rogers of Samoa. From the loneliness of family rejection and homelessness to the camaraderie of church, cooking, and dance, their stories reveal the challenges and possibilities of life in an island society rooted in culture and tradition.

Film Courtesy : Honolulu Rainbow Film Festival



Journey to the Shore

Directed by UHM Ha-neul

Synopsis: A gay couple, Minha and Sangbeom, goes on a journey to the shore. They hide a secret from each other.

Film Courtesy : Seoul International PRIDE Film Festival



Love in the Tinder Age

Directed by Jung In-kyuk

Synopsis: Yeon-joo despises herself. She can’t help picking a fight. She pushes people away even when she doesn’t want to. Also, being a lesbian doesn’t help the fact that she hates herself either. After a little talk with Mom gone terribly wrong, Yeon-joo attempts to kill herself. Unfortunately, sudden appearance of teacher and Ji-oh (who seem to be in a suspicious relationship), and interruption of Illuminati kid’s mysterious rituals, Yeon-joo’s suicide attempt doesn’t go as planned.

Film Courtesy : Seoul International PRIDE Film Festival



The Fish with One Sleeve

Directed by Tsuyoshi Shoji

Synopsis:  Hikari Shintani (Yu Ishizuka), a trans woman, works at an ornamental fish company and lives alone in Tokyo. While occasionally feeling an indescribable distance between herself and others, she enjoys the company of her trans women friends and workmates. One day, Hikari returns to her hometown for a business trip. To reveal her true self as a woman, she gathers her courage and texts her old classmate Takashi, a long-unrequited love from high school.

Film Courtesy : Rainbow Reel Tokyo



U Loves You 看不見攻擊的程式

Directed by Chen Hung-i

Synopsis: U, a deliverbot, always feels herself a defective robot. So she goes often to the Chiropractor for spinal manipulation treatment, wanting to be perfect as others. However, she changes her mind when she met the weird but unique video editor, Lin Min.


Swingin’: 輕鬆搖擺

Directed by Guo Shang-Sing

Synopsis:  When sixth-grader boy Qiu is bullied in school for having gay dads, he takes action to prove to the world that, unlike his parents, he is straight and manly. It’s no joke!  Meanwhile, his stepfather Jia-How, a flamboyant Jazz trumpet player, must confront his own nightmares of childhood bullying before he can provide his son a feeling of security.Swingin’ is the first dramedy/music film of its kind since Taiwan became the first (and only as of today) country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage in 2019.

Film Courtesy : Taiwan Queer Film Festival



Memoirs of Queer Space in China (1969-2019)

Directed by Qiming Ding

Synopsis:  ‘Queer Space’ in China is an embodied representation of queer comrades’ visibility in response to the identity and politics of queer comrades. This short film surveys the journey of Chinese queerness over the past fifty years by articulating the relationships between queer comrades’ identity, queer spaces, and ‘inner’ and ‘outer’ pressures.

Film Courtesy : CINEMQ / Beijing Queer Film Festival



Yellow Peril: Queer Destiny

Directed by David Wayne Ng, Jen Sungshine, Kendell Yan

Synopsis:  A short documentary following the story of Vancouver drag artist “Maiden China” in her explorations of queer Chinese culture.

Film Courtesy : Shanghai Pride Film Festival




Directed by Ribhu Ghosh

Synopsis: 16 year old boy, Ronnie lives in a hamlet in rural Haryana, struggling to find his sexual identity within an extremely rigid, patriarchal society; finds solace in the arms of his childhood friend only to see it get snatched away.

Film Courtesy : KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival



The Song We Sang

Directed by Aarti Neharsh

Synopsis: Krishna, an economist questioning certain choices she’s made in her life, meets Alia, a friend’s cousin from Delhi. A plate of sweet golgappas and a Hindi film’s song leads to more. The two strangers decide to ditch the loud Navratri event and walk the city of Ahmedabad, carrying conversations about love, home, religion, fears and falling for each other as the night grows.

Film Courtesy : KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival




Directed by Fatima Sattar

Synopsis:  In between the mandalas and paisleys on the lines and pores of the bride-to-be’s palms, a Mehndi applicator finds a space for herself. Belonging to a culture where there is no room to even think about one’s identity, let alone question it, Kiran faces a wave of emotions. She knows nothing can be changed drastically in her life and small unnoticeable footprints are all that she leaves.

Film Courtesy : AKS International Minorities Festival



No Beloved

Directed by Salman Alam Khan

Synopsis:  An intense moment triggers 50-year-old Ehsaan to encounter an identity he had given up to fit into society.

Film Courtesy : AKS International Minorities Festival

A Good Mother

Directed by LEE Yu-jin


Like Fireworks

Directed by Zhang Tingwei


Fall in Love

Directed by Hong Su-min