Blog / Papa Rainbow – Screening Dates, Press Info & More

Papa Rainbow – Synopsis:

In China, most families have difficulties facing their lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender (LGBT) children. They have to contend with common social beliefs that homosexuality is shameful, abnormal, a perverted condition caused by deviant family relationships. Many parents see their kids as their property, and fathers often assert their authority to ensure that no harm comes to the family reputation.

The documentary “Papa Rainbow” features six Chinese fathers who talk openly and freely about their experiences with their LGBT children. Speaking out against discrimination and stigma, they redefine what it means to protect a household. They fully embrace their kids for who they are, and become pioneer activists fighting for an equal and diverse society.

Festival Selections:

Avant-Premiere: SOAS China Institute (London, UK), June 2016

Asia Premiere: IndigNation Queer Film Festival (Singapore), August 2016

North America Premiere: DC Chinese Film Festival (Washington, US), September 2016

China Mainland Premiere: Beijing Queer Film Festival (Beijing, China), November 2016

Chinese University of Hong Kong Documentary Film Festival (Hong Kong, China), October 2016

NYU Reel China (New York, USA), October 2016

Upcoming Festival Screenings:

Festivals interested in obtaining an online screener of the film, please contact us at

Director Bio

Popo Fan is a queer independent filmmaker and curator. Born in 1985, he graduated from the Beijing Film Academy. He published “Happy Together: Complete Record of a Hundred Queer Films” (Beifang Wenyi Press, 2007). He directs the China Queer Film Festival Tour, which has travelled over 20 major cities in China since 2008. He has been a committee member of the Beijing Queer Film Festival since 2009, and a board member of the Beijing LGBT Center since 2010.

His documentary works mostly focus on LGBT/Gender issues. His most important documentaries include: New Beijing, New Marriage (2009); Paper House (2009); Chinese Closet (2010); Be a Woman (2011); Mama Rainbow (2012); The VaChina Monologues (2013); Papa Rainbow (2016).

In 2011, he received the Prism Prize of the 22nd Hong Kong Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, and thus became the youngest winner of this prize so far. In 2014, he was named in the “40 Under 40” list of “The Advocate” magazine. He was member of the jury for the 29th Mix Copenhagen Festival.

Director Filmography (Selection)

2008 | Taipei, City of Rainbow | 10 min.

2009 | New Beijing, New Marriage | 18 min.

2009 | Paper House | 20 min.

2010 | Chinese Closet | 88 min.

2011 | Be a Woman | 84 min.

2012 | Mama Rainbow | 80 min.

2013 | The VaChina Monologues | 30 min.

2016 | Papa Rainbow | 80 min.

Director Statement

In 2012, I made the documentary “Mama Rainbow”. The film features six mothers from all over China who talk openly and freely about their experiences with their gay children. I wanted to include fathers in the documentary, but I didn’t find anyone willing to participate in the film. At the same time, I really enjoyed working together with women: I felt free and relaxed throughout the whole filming process.

“Mama Rainbow” touched the heart of many. The long version of the documentary played at numerous film festivals, and the short version was viewed hundreds of thousands of times online and also received a nomination for the Phoenix Documentary Film Awards.

In 2014, my producers asked me to make a documentary about fathers of LGBT children. I resisted at first. I didn’t want to repeat myself, making another documentary about parents, and I also had to overcome my own phobia for straight men. After many discussions, we came up with the idea to use drama workshops to challenge the LGBT ideas of the dads, and to brighten up the documentary. These drama workshops led to cathartic performances, and I discovered a whole new side to father figures in Chinese society.

Filming this documentary cured me of my fear of straight men. Moreover, “Papa Rainbow” unites the variety of new filmic and other perspectives that appeared to me throughout the filming process, and forms a new chapter in my filmmaker’s journey.

Film Info:

Original Title: 彩虹伴我行

English Title: Papa Rainbow

Running Time: 80 mins

Year: 2016

Type: Documentary

Director: Popo Fan

Producers:  Ah Qiang,  Xiaogang Wei, Stijn Deklerck, Rui Jin

Cinematography: Popo Fan, Laodong Zhang, Ge Li, Shuo Li, Matthew Baren, Daisy Yafei Zheng

Editing: Popo Fan, Dong Lu

Production Organizations: PFLAG ChinaQueer Comrades

Shooting Format: HDV

Screening Format: HDV

Dialog: Chinese (Mandarin)

Subtitles: Chinese, English

Contact Info:

For more info about the film, please contact us at and/or LIKE us on facebook:

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