In the Philippines, ‘bakla’ is a term that stands for both an ‘effeminate gay man’ and also a transwoman, with its dualities having origins before Spanish colonisation in the babaylan.

As short films are under far fewer restrictions and censorship, the filmmakers behind the programme interrogate with boundless rigour and personal sensitivity the bakla’s bodies, friends, age, spaces, and environments. The programme also depicts how digital techniques democratised filmmaking for the local queer community, turning cinema into a medium through which one can explore and confront not only one’s surroundings but also the self.

Curated by Jason Tan Liwag.

Dir. Raul Sarmiento | Philippines | 1981 | 5″
A man wakes up to find that his lover is no longer in bed with him. Chaos ensues shortly after.

Dir. Paolo Villaluna | Philippines | 2001 | 17″
A gay man searches for space in the corners of society.

Geography Lessons
Dir. Petersen Vargas | Philippines | 2013 | 29″
Tib Apostol, guided by a map made for him by his best friend in high school, retraces the memories of their friendship before he leaves their hometown for good.

When I Wallowed In A Bowl of Sunshine
Dir. Kukay Zinampan | Philippines | 2021 | 24″
Two trans-folx friends, together with their dog and plants, grieve for and with each other during a 14-day quarantine period.

Taking My Time to Dance
Dir. Celeste Lapida | Philippines | 2024 | 23″
Rana gets in drag for the first time and is ready for a clubbing night.


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