‘Jose’ is Best Narrative Feature Film at KAHISH MIQFF 2019, ‘The Booth’ is Best Indian Narrative Short Film

Guatemalan movie ‘Jose’ won top honours at the 10th KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival that concluded on June 16, 2019. The Best Indian Narrative Short Award was won by ‘The Booth’ directed by Rohin Raveendran Nair and produced by Vikramaditya Motwane. Awards were given in 10 categories at a ceremony on Sunday June 16th at Liberty Cinema, with India’s top fashion designer Wendell Rodricks as the chief guest. Cash prizes of around Rs 4 lakhs was given to the winners.

“With over 35 filmmakers with their cast & crew participating along with international distributors, it marked the beginning of KASHISH as not only a LGBTQ community event but a film hub where production, exhibition and distribution of LGBTQ films took centerstage. This includes the new agreement that KASHISH has forged with Vkaao, the theater-on-demand service, under which the award winning feature films and even short films will get a theatrical release through PVR Cinemas chain of multiplexes across India. We are very excited by this initiative to invigorate the LGBTQ cinema space,” said Sridhar Rangayan, festival director.

‘Jose’ directed by LI CHENG won the Best Narrative Feature award which carries a cash prize of Rs 30,000 sponsored by Anupam Kher’s Actor Prepares. “We made the film in Guatemala due to extreme homophobia, poverty, violence, a population that is young and comprises people of colour, and their struggle for love and dignity – but the reality is that the film could be made for the same reasons in many many other countries. My sincere thanks to the jury and the festival!” said Li Cheng, director of JOSE. The film also won the Best Screenplay award with a cash prize of Rs.20,000.

Nair said that the genesis of ‘The Booth’ was his reaction to Mumbai. “Living here from last three years, I find lack of space and privacy on a daily basis a struggle,” said Nair, who says his experience with the movie motivates him to spread the message of acceptance across India.” He also is a joint winner of the QDrishti Film Grant worth Rs.2 lacs sponsored by Lotus Visual. Other winner in this category is Sudipta Kundu, director of Ladli, which also won the Best Documentary Short Award.

A still from the movie The Booth

Chief guest Wendell Rodricks said that after the victory in getting rid of Section 377, it was time not just to celebrate but also move ahead. “It has been a long time we all have struggled and come far from where we have started. It’s time to stop getting traumatised with what people say. It’s time to celebrate and look forward to a new India,” said Rodricks, who also gave away the Rainbow Warrior award to author Hoshang Merchant and the Rainbow Champion Award to The Humsafar Trust.

50 Indian and International LGBTQ films competed for awards at the 10th edition of KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival held between June 12-16, 2019. The festival handed out cash prizes of Rs 3.95 lakhs in 10 film categories and for the best poster design. The awards were sponsored by Anupam Kher’s Actor Prepares, Lotus Visual, Whistling Woods International, GagaOOLala, K F Patil Charitable Trust, Wadia Movietone and India’s top fashion designer Wendell Rodricks.

There were three festival juries this year. The Narrative Film jury comprised actors Kitu Gidwani, Sheeba Chaddha and filmmaker Neeraj Ghaywan. Filmmakers Ranjan Das, Pankaj Rishi Kumar and Paromita Vohra were part of the Documentary Jury and Professor Ivan John, screenwriter Jyoti Kapoor and filmmaker Somnath Sen were part of the Student Jury. The additional jury member was Nargis Wadia of Wadia Movietone.