When Benson Wu first saw the gay Taiwanese film The Story of the Stone, he knew it was important.

As festival director of the inaugural Taiwan Film Festival (TWFF) in Sydney, he spent eight months choosing films for the program, and The Story of the Stone stood out.

“It’s an honest look at gay life in Taipei, and a way for people outside of the LGBTI community to understand that this is actually happening next door without them knowing it,” he told the Star Observer.

“The film explores two characters that both have AIDS and live the same nightclub-driven life, but who make totally different life choices.

“The film speaks for many gay communities in Taiwan who feel like outsiders looking in at the ‘gay lifestyle’.”

The TWFF will launch for the first time in Australia later this month, with screenings taking place in Event Cinemas George Street in Sydney.

From human drama and documentary through to horror, the festival’s handpicked program will offer nine feature films—including The Story of the Stone—and four short films.

Director of The Story of the Stone, Starr Wu, will appear for a special Q&A session after the film screening.

Benson Wu decided to start the TWFF after working with both Queer Screen and the Sydney Film Festival, and realising that there were plenty of great Taiwanese films that weren’t being played in Australia.

He said the new festival will help shine a light on diverse voices and stories, including those from the LGBTI community.

“LGBTI films in festivals are so important because they tell stories that never get to be told,” he said.

“And if we only focus on Australia’s LGBTI community, we get stuck in a bubble and don’t realise what’s happening outside the bubble.

“I want audiences to see one or more of the films and walk away with a new perspective on Taiwan and its diverse cultural background.”

The Taiwan Film Festival runs for three days from July 27 – 29, at Event Cinemas George Street in Sydney. For more information or to buy tickets visit: www.taiwanfilmfestival.org.au.

© Star Observer 2018 | For the latest in lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans* and intersex (LGBTI) news in Australia, be sure to visit starobserver.com.au daily. You can also read our latest magazines or Join us on our Facebook page and Twitter feed.