Kashish Film Festival – A window to LGBTIQ lives!

Kashish 2014 - Dare to Dream!

Kashish 2014 – Dare to Dream!

The fifth edition of the KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival – South Asia’s and India’s biggest LGBT film festival – will take place between May 21 – May 25, 2014, at the iconic Liberty Cinema, India’s finest art deco theatre – with over 1,000 seating capacity at New Marine Lines and Alliance Française de Bombay (AFB) at Churchgate.This year, the festival’s theme is “Dare To Dream” recognizing the progressive movements for equality and dignity for gay, lesbian and transgender persons across the world, including India. KASHISH 2014 will highlight, reflect upon and celebrate the people, communities and movements that ‘Dare To Dream’ with a formidable list of 154 films from 31 countries. This includes 11 World, 17 International and 39 Asian premieres.

“KASHISH has not only become a space for celebration and community building for the LGBT community, but also a window to LGBT lives for a large mainstream audience,’’ said Sridhar Rangayan, festival director. “The idea was to mainstream queer visibility – removing myths and misconceptions about Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender lives by showing their real aspirations, struggles, feelings, and highlighting that LGBT people are human beings with the same need for love and acceptance as anyone else. KASHISH connects these dots through the medium of cinema,’’ he added.

Director of Programming, Saagar Gupta says, “The ‘Country Focus’ will be on Canada with more short and feature films includingWinter Kept Us Warm(1965). The`Filmmaker in Focus’ is Canadian actor Charlie David. As far as the subject is concerned, there will be a special focus on Transgender lives and there will also be films on HIV. The geographical range includes queer films fromTurkey, Srilanka, Uganda and Bangladesh among others. The opening filmOut In The Darkfrom Israel and Palestine and the closing Film isJohn Apple Jackfrom Canada. There will be a tribute to late filmmaker Rituparno Ghosh and screening of the movieMemories in March. The Indian Showcase has 28 films from India, some in regional languages including films in Marathi and Bengali. “

The competition section will showcase films which will be judged by an eminent jury panel. Acclaimed Bollywood actor Anupam Kher and his acting school Actor Prepares sponsors cash awards for two winning categories – Best Narrative Feature film wins a cash award of Rs 30,000 and Best Indian Short films wins a cash prize of Rs. 20,000. The Best Actor in a Lead Role award has also been instituted this year by them. Other awards are Best Documentary Feature, Best Documentary Shorts and Best International Narrative Shorts. The Best Indian queer short film at KASHISH gets to compete for the Iris Prize in UK which carries a cash prize of 25,000 pounds.

“KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival created history in April 2010 by holding the first ever queer film festival in India in a mainstream theatre and receive clearance from the Union Ministry of Information & Broadcasting. Since its debut in 2010, KASHISH today is one of the biggest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) film festivals in India and South Asia. It is a landmark event, not only in the LGBTQ movement, but also an important annual event in Mumbai’s cultural calendar”, says Director of Operations and Communications, Shibu Thomas. This is reflected in the festival’s following on Facebook and Twitter.

Kashish is the first film festival in India to raise part of the funds to put up the festival through crowd funding. Donations can be made here. The poster by Hyderabad-based graphic designer Punith Mahesh and selected by Wendell Rodricks depicts the butterflies represent the flight of human ideas, imagination and innovation, while the stars depict the infinite world out there for the ideas to soar, as described inthe festival blog.

Register online for Kashishhere. Offline (in-person) registrations at Liberty Cinema, New Marine Lines and The Humsafar Trust office in Vakola and Khar.

Sachin Jain