Western-Centrism and the Global Queer Film Festival Circuit

Hong Kong Lesbian and Gay Film Festival as a Case


  • Heshen Xie University of Nottingham




Queer film festivals, Film festival circuit, Western-centrism, Programming


Since they emerged in the late 1970s, queer film festivals have turned into a global cultural activity. A complex worldwide network of queer film festivals has also formed. This article establishes the framework of the global queer film festival circuit to examine the hegemonic relationships it produces. The global queer film festival circuit comprises top-tier film festivals and second-tier queer film festivals. As the first queer-themed film festival in Asia, the Hong Kong Lesbian and Gay Film Festival (HKLGFF) is situated in a subordinate and passive position. Aiming to emphasize the unbalanced relationship among queer film festivals on a global scale, this article argues that due to commercial considerations and the lack of festival resources, the HKLGFF’s programming is dominated by the choices of top-tier film festivals and thus reproduces Western-centrism. Through the analysis of the HKLGFF’s programming process and criteria, it also demonstrates how top-tier film festivals influence the programming of second-tier queer film festivals by dominating the global market of queer films. Overall, this article expands the concept of the queer film festival circuit, addressing the significance of small-scale queer film festivals in the global South to worldwide queer culture as well as the global circulation of queer films.

Author Biography

Heshen Xie, University of Nottingham

Dr. Heshen Xie is a research fellow at the Yorkshire Film and Television School Innovation Lab at the University of Huddersfield, UK. He holds a PhD in film and television studies from the University of Nottingham, UK. His work has appeared in Frames Cinema Journal.




How to Cite

Xie, Heshen. 2023. “Western-Centrism and the Global Queer Film Festival Circuit: Hong Kong Lesbian and Gay Film Festival As a Case”. Journal of Festive Studies 4 (1):83-100. https://doi.org/10.33823/jfs.2022.4.1.105.