The Independent Film Festival of Chennai (IFFC) 2019, is all set to begin on February 8 this year. The film festival is an initiative by Tamil Studio, which has been active in promoting independent cinema in Tamil Nadu for the past ten years. The three-day festival is set to host filmmakers and film technicians from India and around the world.
This year IFFC has introduced a focused track for LGBTQ films in the festival. The track titled Queer Lens is curated by queer activist and founder of Queer Chennai Chronicles, Moulee.
“There is a gradual shift on how queer representation is done in the city,” says Moulee. “We are slowly moving away from non-representation, misrepresentation and tokenism. There is still a long way to go. Even the Hindu Lit for Life had panels on queer narratives without a single queer person from the city,” he added.
This year the Queer Lens track would screen four handpicked films – Tourmaline Gossett and Sasha Wortzel’s short film Happy Birthday, Marsha!, Faraz Arif Ansari’s short film Sisak, Anindya Shankar Das’s documentary Zara Nazar Utha Ke Dekho and Wanuri Kahiu’s feature film Rafiki which was banned in its home country Kenya.
Following the film screening, there is a panel on “Tamil cinema and Queer representation” with Silverscreen’s news editor Nadika N, and Writer Gireesh will discuss about the representation of queer individuals in Tamil cinema behind the screen and on screen.
While the city already hosts queer film festivals, this would be the first time a ‘mainstream’ film festival to host a focused track on queer films. During the three-day festival from 8th Feb to 10th Feb 2019, Queer Lens is scheduled on the 9th Feb from 9:30 am to 01:30 pm at Prasad 70 MM Theatre, Saligramam.
Moulee hopes that this would start a conversation that is meaningful and focused which would take IFFC to next level of inclusivity; and also hopes this would encourage more art and literature festival organizers in the state to engage with queer artists and be inclusive.