The LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people) community will be the central focus of an art festival taking place from December 14-29 in Hanoi, according to Viet Nam News.

Co-organised by Nha San Collective, Goethe-Institut, and Manzi Art Space, the Queer Forever festival will focus on the images of gay and transgender people through films, open discussions and art works.

To that end, organisers expect the art festival will create dialogues and enhance abilities to argue on social and cultural aspects of the art, as well as sexual diversity through art forms and exchanges among researchers, social activists and artists.

On the opening day, renowned film director Phan Dang Di will present a talk entitled "Images of gay and transgender people in Vietnamese contemporary cinema: Rebellion within frames," at Goethe Institut Hanoi. The presentation is followed by a discussion moderated by Marcus Manh Cuong Vu, director of Yxine Film Fest.

Vu will show a series of four short documentaries competing for the Yxine Film Fest's Heart of Rainbow awards the following day at Nha San Collective.

The first day will also host the screening of Nguyen Trinh Thi's documentary "Love Man Love Woman" (2007). In this documentary, the filmmaker follows Master Luu Ngoc Duc, one of the most prominent spiritual mediums in Hanoi, and his vibrant community through their rituals and everyday lives. The film explores how effeminate and gay men in Vietnam have traditionally found community and expression in the country's popular "Dao Mau" (Mother Goddess) worshipping ritual.

Following the film, a panel discussion on topics of gay and transgender people in Dao Mau ritual will be held with participants including the film's director, guest speaker Pham Quynh Phuong from Research Institute of Society, Economics and Environment, and Vu Duc Viet, Researcher and medium of "Dao Mau".

The two-week event will also feature talks by a number of speakers. Tran Ngoc Hieu of Hanoi National University of Education will share his study on gay people in Vietnam's literature on December 27, while art researcher Do Tuong Linh will present Same sex desires in contemporary Vietnamese paintings on December 29.

Also, art exchanges will include a discussion with photographer Maika Elan on the role of photography in building images of LGBT people on December 29.

From December 20-29, a range of art works by Gabby Quynh Anh Miller, Nguyen Tan Hoang, Viet Le, Nguyen Quoc Thanh and Lu Yang will be presented at the Nha San Collective.

Of note, Vietnamese filmmakers have been paying more attention to the topic of gay and transgender in recent years.

Feature films Choi Voi (Adrift, 2009) by director Bui Thac Chuyen, and "Bi, dung so!" (Bi, don't be afraid, 2010) by director Phan Dang Di brought home awards from renowned international film festivals. Director Vu Ngoc Dang's "Hot boy noi loan" (Lost in Paradise, 2011) brought the film to both international and domestic audiences.

Most recently, gay people, as portrayed by both foreign and Vietnamese characters, are featured in director Ham Tran's "Am muu giay got nhon" (How to fight on a six-inch heel, 2013). The movie has gained success as one of the latest productions in Vietnam.

Accordingly, events will be held at Nha San Collective, 3rd floor, House A, 9 Tran Thanh Tong, Goethe-Institut, 56-58, Nguyen Thai Hoc, and Manzi Art Space, 14 Phan Huy Ich.-VNA