The Hong Kong Lesbian & Gay Film Festival has undergonea raft of changes for its upcoming edition (Nov 25 ˆ Dec 5) including newdirectors, increased sponsorship and an expanded line-up of gay andlesbian-themed films.

Launched in 1989, the annual event is the biggest andlongest-running gay and lesbian film festival in Asia but has typicallystruggled for funding, relying on sponsorship and private donation rather thangovernment funds. However this year, the festival has secured a grant from theHong Kong Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) for the first time and increasedthe number of sponsors to 13.

It also has new management with the appointment of KarlUhrich, formerly with Pacific Cinematheque in Vancouver, and Denise Tang, fromSan Francisco's lesbian and gay film festival Frameline, as co-directors.

The festival will also feature a greater number ofscreenings - 59 in total - than before. The opening film is Hong Kong directorYan Yan Mak's Butterfly, whichscreened in Critics' Week at this year's Venice, while QuentinLee's Ethan Mao will closethe event.

According to Uhrich the festival is striving to become moreinternational: 'We aim to raise awareness about gay life in othercountries in addition to what's happening in Hong Kong.' Sectionsinclude an International Panorama, a tribute to Thai director ApichatpongWeerasethakul, Postcards Canada, documentary section Fuse 04 and a selection ofgay-themed films from Hong Kong, My City In Pink.

Titles in the Panorama include Jay Cox's Latter Days, Wild Side from French director Sebastien Lifshitz and Gregg Araki's MysteriousSkin.