Diverse Portraits of the LGBTQ Experience in QCinema’s RainbowQC Shorts

LGBTQ short films from previous festival editions portray varying diversity and representation in this year’s special QCinema compilation that deserves a second look. 

From its premiere last year with QCinema, How to Die Young in Manila by Petersen Vargas is about a surreal meet-up amidst a violent setting. 

The film, which has been exhibited in Busan, LA Outfest & Singapore, stars Elijah Canlas where he portrays a teenage boy following a group of young hustlers, thinking one of them may be the anonymous hook-up he has arranged to meet for the night. As he anxiously finds a way to get closer, each of the other boys inexplicably turn up as dead bodies strewn in pavements, until only one of them is left. 

The third short film by Cinemalaya Best Director awardee Gabriel Serrano is loosely based on a lost silent film by Jose Nepomuceno that reimagines classic Philippine folklore into a contemporary diptych of feminine bodies, rage, and freedom. Dikit portrays a young woman with a monstrous secret and she desperately longs for a different body. When a new couple moves in next door, she sees her chance to finally get one. 

Another silent short similarly explores queer horror elements. Alingasngas ng Mga Kuliglig by Vahn Pascual, which is a product of the Mit Out Sound Lab last year, shows a young man who is coerced by his father to become the next folk healer of their town. Things do not go as planned when he falls in love with a tikbalang. 

Young filmmaking duo, Kaj Palanca & Celeste Joven, won the 2016 QCinema Audience Award for their debut short, Contestant No. 4. A young boy, who frequently visits an old man who lives alone, chances upon the latter watching a dated clip of himself as a cross-dressing boy. As the movie progresses, the two main characters gain a richer understanding of how the weight of life and identity should be carried. 

Two other QCinema shorts complete the program that offers contrasting glimpses of queer experience. Isang Daa’t Isang Mariposa, by Norvin de los Santos, was nominated as Urian Best Short Film in 2019. A religious 100-year-old trans woman visits her ex-lover’s son to bail him out of jail. She uses her P100,000 government award for centenaries for one last chance at love. 

Focusing on a gay teenager who develops an anonymous sexual affair with a mature man online, i get so sad sometimes by Trishtan Perez won the Best Short Film at QCinema last year. When the stranger finally promises that he’ll reveal his face the day after, the former couldn’t contain his excitement but must only keep it to himself. 

Catch these remarkable collection of shorts on QCinema’s theatrical venues as well as via Vivamax VOD streaming platform.

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