A story of lust, love and complicated families, Fragrance of the First Flower is screening at this year’s BFI Flare: London LGBTQIA+ Film Festival


DIVA: Describe your film in three words!
Youth. Attraction. Courage.

DIVA: Could you tell me a little about your background as a filmmaker? What inspired you to get into film?
I was intrigued by stories and drama at a young age. I started to write and kept writing. After I earned my master’s degree in psychology, my first feature screenplay was made into a film. It was a dream come true and a sign for me to pursue a creative career that I yearned for. I went to CalArts in LA to study film directing. I regard the media of film as a gentle tool to have authentic communication with the world.

DIVA: Could you tell me a little bit about your film?
‘Fragrance of the First Flower’ is a mini-series about the forgotten love between two women. To me, the attraction between women is like fragrance filling the air with no shape or color, hard to describe or identify, but can be felt.

DIVA: What LGBTQI themes does it tackle?
The story is set when Taiwan has illegalized same-sex marriage. In a romantic lens, ‘Fragrance’ explores the fluidity of feminine lust and the future of non-traditional families.

DIVA: What inspired you to make this film?
I have heard many real stories about what happened to the characters in ‘Fragrance of the First Flower,’ but those things remain untold. I think people who have similar experiences, including myself, may feel a sense of understanding to clear up the puzzle through the power of film.

DIVA: What does a screening at BFI Flare mean to you?
It means so much to be part of BFI Flare. It’s a huge honor. Personally, the first queer feature film that I wrote was shot in London. It’s the best place to celebrate queer cinema.

DIVA: Who is your favourite LGBTQI on-screen figure, be it a director, an actor or a character?
Céline Sciamma.

DIVA: What is the importance of LGBTQI representation on-screen? What do you think the industry could do to improve positive representation?
Having LGBTQI representation both on-screen and behind the scenes would advance the understanding of queer experience. I hope there will be more doors open to more diversity and inclusivity for marginalized voices. Diversity is positive and important in all respects.

DIVA: If you could have audiences take one message from your film, what would it be and why?
No matter when, be true to yourself. It means a lot to you and your beloved ones.

DIVA: Finally: what do you think the future of film looks like?
I don’t want to spoil the sequel. But the future of film would definitely be more uplifting, and everyone will find ways to be brave.

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