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First streaming service for Asian LGBTQ films arrives in UK

Love Asian cinema? We've got good news for ya.

By Will Stroude

As the success of Parasite at the Oscars and the box office earlier this year proved, there’s plenty of appetite for mmaking Asian film more widely available in Europe and the US – so the global launch of Asia’s first LGBTQ streaming service, GagaOOLala, couldn’t have come at a better time.

The video-on-demand service, which first launched in Taiwan in 2016 and yes, is named after lyrics from Lady Gaga’s ‘Bad Romance’, boasts an impressive catlogue of LGBTQ film, shorts, TV and originals from Japan, South Korea, Thailand and Taiwan.

The platform – which officially launches golobally this Friday (15 May) also hosts plenty of series from the ‘Yaoi’ or ‘Boys’ Love’ genre – animated Japanes fiction that features homoerotic relationships between male characters.

GagaOOLala also produces and streams original series such as Handsome Stewardess, the first Singaporean series to star a lesbian couple, and Taiwanese feature film The Teacher, which was nominated for several Golden Horse Awards (the Taiwanese version of the Oscars).

The company behind GagaOOLala, Portico Media, also co-founded the Taiwan International Queer Film Festival, once the biggest queer film festival in Asia, but decided they wanted to bring queer Asian cinema to a wider audience.

“There was a lack of LGBTQ+ content available all year round in Taiwan and the rest of Asia. A physical film festival happening during a few days was not the solution, we needed something 24/7″, said Jay Lin, Portico’s CEO.

“The situation in many Asian countries is still dire, in some of them homosexuality is still considered a crime.

“We needed to provide easier access to LGBTQ+ stories to let them know they are not alone.”

A monthly subscription to GagaOOLala will set you back just $6.99 (£5.68), similar to other streaming services such as Netflix, and the platform also currently offers a free section of more than 30 films to help ease the monotony of lockdown.