QFest 2012: The Houston GLBTQ International Film Festival
QFest marks its 16th anniversary with expanded programming that includes "Focus on Asia," a presentation at Asia Society Texas Center of two thought-provoking documentaries exploring gender and identity.
Wariazone, by Kiwa and Terje Toomitsu, raises questions about the politicization of morality and religion after Indonesia’s reform era. The film examines the world of the waria, a newly-coined word describing male-to-female transsexuals. Traditionally, variations in gender identity have been considered to be holy in many Indonesian cultures; however, today, waria have been relegated to an outlaw zone on the margins of society. Wariazone presents a range of voices, supporters and critics alike, as it posits the notion that gender expression is profoundly shaped by ideology. Contains subtitles.
Rites of Passage, by Jeff Roy, follows a year in the life of Maya Jafer, formerly Mohammed Jafer, from Chennai, India, as she undergoes sexual reassignment surgery. A devout Muslim, the film depicts Maya’s struggle to redefine her spiritual and cultural devotion in the face of persecution. Ultimately, the documentary is about modern rites of passage and the challenge—and promise—of starting life anew. Contains subtitles.
The afternoon ends with a conversation with Jeff Roy and Maya Jafer. Reception to follow.
NOTE: Both films contain mature content and may not be suitable for some viewers.