Joe Lam: photographer, director HK Gay & Lesbian Filmfestival and founder Dim Sum magazine


Joe Lam 1Interview by Cathy Ng, photos by Xueyao Yin

As a photographer

1. How would you describe queer life in Hong Kong?

It’s quite diverse now. Actually, we don’t use “queer” this word in Hong Kong – we use LGTBQ community. And there are so many things happened in the last few years – we have gay pride, film festival. We also have more transgender exposure. I think we are quite far behind when comparing with Europe and the US in the aspect of queer culture. And we are trying to catch up.

2. What aspects of queer life do you most try to express through your photography?

I think it’s more like be yourself and dare to admit who you are. It’s a photography exhibition, as well as about story-telling. It’s about telling people your stories, happiness, sadness and who you are – all about expressing yourself.

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As Director of Hong Kong Gay and Lesbian Film Festival

3. Which films will be showing at Hong Kong Gay and Lesbian Film Festival this year? How do you make the selection?

We are not sure yet. The festival will be held in September. We usually start looking for films in June after Frameline Film Festival, the largest LGBTQ film exhibition event in the world. We check their film list and take some reference. (Selection criteria) It will be a LGTBQ-related film, and a decent film. Since different culture issues will be involved, the suitable film also needs to be relevant to the audience, so they feel related to the film and enjoy it.

4. Do you think film festivals such as Hong Kong Gay and Lesbian Film Festival are driving a change in attitudes towards LGTBQ acceptance in Hong Kong?

Yes. Everyone can buy a ticket to watch a film at Hong Kong Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. Now people want to know more and have a bigger acceptance for the LGTBQ community. The way we do it (let people know more about LGTBQ culture) is subtle, but we are happy to educate people, as long as you are willing to buy a ticket to the Festival.

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Dim Sum magazine

5. You’re the founder of Dim Sum magazine, which is recognized as the first gay magazine in Hong Kong. Can you tell us more about that?

I just started the magazine thirteen years ago for fun. Lately I have decided to take a step – we gave up the print version and have revamped the website. There is a larger readership online and we can spread more news through the Internet.

6. What would you say are the ‘hot topics’ for a magazine like Dim Sum?

LGTBQ-related issues, like gay marriage and men lifestyle, such as restaurants, movie reviews – we like to go with the flow.

7. What future do you see for Dim Sum magazine?

Since we have been revamping website and it’s a bilingual one, we hope to have more readers and grow Dim Sum magazine to make it a platform for everyone.

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