Filmmaker and activist Sridhar Rangayan’s pathbreaking film on Indian LGBT community has been awarded the Barbara Gittings International Human Rights Award at the recently concluded qFLIX Philadelphia film festival in USA.
“LGBT rights are human rights. The human rights award underlines this very basic truth, that somehow is not understood by our politicians, judges and the moral brigade,” said Rangayan, “Gay, lesbian and transgender persons too need their right to live freely as citizens of this country without being criminalized by a law like Sec 377. They have a right to love and live with dignity. The law of the land denies that.”
The film ‘Breaking Free’ chronicles the human rights violations faced by the Indian LGBT community due to the colonial law Sec 377 which has been often misused to blackmail, extort, rape and torture LGBT persons for decades. With real life testimonies of LGBT persons victimized, as well as voices of lawyers and activists who have challenged the law, the film also traces the community’s journey from invisibility to empowerment.
“It was a pleasure to feature your groundbreaking film as part of our program for qFLIX Philadelphia 2016. Congratulations to you and all who were involved in the making of “Breaking Free”! We at qFLIX Philadelphia couldn’t be more pleased and proud to bestow the honor to you and your important documentary! BRAVO!” said Thom Cardwell, producer of qFLIX Philadelphia.
“Making Breaking Free was challenging as it was totally self-funded indie project and we had to travel across the length and breadth of the country to get the testimonials. It is gratifying to see that our labour of love is being recognized,” said Saagar Gupta, producer of the film, which was shot over 7 years and edited from 400 hours of footage.
This is the second award for ‘Breaking Free’, after the National Award for Best Editing (non-fiction) that it won at the 63rd National Awards earlier this year. Since its premiere in May 2015 at KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival, the film has already screened at more than 30 film festivals and community screenings across the world.
This month, the film will be screening at the 21st International AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa on July 18th and then at Reel Desires Chennai International Queer Film Festival on July 29th.
“It is not just a film, it is a message we are sending out, that the Indian LGBT community won’t be silent and invisible anymore,” said Rangayan who will be one of the Grand Marshals this year at Montreal Pride, “We seek national and international support in our fight to end injustice against LGBT persons and restore basic human rights of the community.”