May 23, 2012: Yesteryear’s Bollywood actress Moushumi Chatterjee and noted filmmaker Sai Paranjpye threw open the 3rd Kashish Mumbai International Queer Film Festival in a star studded read carpet event at Cinemax Versova on Wednesday.
“I wish Kashish all the success,’’ said Moushumi Chatterjee, who also inaugurated an art exhibition “Celebrating the lost art of Bollywood billboards with a queer twist’’.
Sai Parannjpye said that it was the second consecutive year that she was part of the festival – in 2011 she headed the jury – and was impressed with the strides that the festival had taken in the last three years.
The gala star-studded red carpet opening saw people from the film, theatre and modelling world, including actors Suchitra Pillai, Liliput, Dolly Thakore, Mahabanoo Mod-Kotwal, Mona Ambegoankar, Parvin Dabas, filmmaker Anant Mahadevan, Parvati Balgopalan and television actor Russshad Rana.
The opening ceremony was followed by the screening and Indian Premier of Oscar winning film Beginners starring Ewan McGregor and Christopher Plummer.
Sarita Joshi, the beloved Baa from the popular television serial Baa, Bahu aur Baby and a well-known stage, television and film actress was the Guest of Honour “As an artist, I am here to extend my encouragement and love. At first people were scared even to address members of the LGBT community but now at least they have a name, `Gay’. There is immense lack of awareness and misconceptions in our society about LGBT persons and Kashish is a great medium to address those,’’ said Sarita Joshi, who stars in Bollywood Beats, which will be screened at the festival.
The jury for the festival comprises actors/ directors Renuka Sahane and Parvin Dabas, theatre actor Mahabanoo Mody-Kotwal, television actress Mona Ambegaonkar, and film critic/ author Mayank Shekhar.
Festival director Sridhar Rangayan said that in its third year Kashish had grown bigger much beyond expectations. “Kashish is an attempt at bringing queer cinema from around the world to Indian audiences, showcasing a genre of movies which generally is inaccessible to the mainstream audience. It also is a platform for Indian filmmakers who make films on queer themes to reach out to a larger audience,’’ said Rangayan. This year the festival received 300 entries from around the world out of which 120 films from 30 countries have been short-listed. Around 25 % of the films that will be screened are from India, including four regional feature films.
Pallav Patankar, the co-festival director said that Kashish which had its theme of `For Everyone’ this year will screen films not only meant for the LGBT community, but also for their families and friends. He added that over the last three years, KASHISH had also started attracting corporate support. “In our first year over 90 per cent of the funding was from UN agencies. This year 90 per cent of the funds have come from corporate sponsors, and 10 per cent from UN agencies,’’ said Patankar.
Over the period of next four days, Kashish will showcase films on issues and rights related to the LGBT community and their families. Apart from film screenings, the festival will also feature panel discussions with filmmakers, interaction with celebrities and much more.
KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival is the first and only gay & lesbian film festival in India to be held in a mainstream theatre and the only queer festival to receive clearance from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. The festival is organized by Solaris Pictures and Bombay Dost in association with The Humsafar Trust.
Key Highlights for this year will be:
* 120 films from 30 countries
* India Focus – Regional Films: Four queer feature films from India in four regional languages – Marathi, Punjabi, Tamil/Kannada and Hindi.
* Country Focus – France: A special package of two feature length and six short films showcasing the best of contemporary French queer cinema.
* Filmmaker in Focus – Rob Williams: US filmmaker Rob Williams, who has made popular gay romantic comedies and dramas is traveling to India to present his films at KASHISH.
* Special package of sensitive, dramatic and touching features and shorts on HIV/AIDS is introduced under ‘Red Ribbon Films’ package.
* Short film packages like Rainbow Warriors (about queer people who have made a difference), Indian Masala Mix (exciting shorts by young Indian filmmakers) and UnFair Games about homophobia in sports.
* Q-Toons – A special package of gay animation films.
* Panel discussions, book readings, interactions with filmmakers and even an Art Corner.
* The “competition section’’ will showcase films which will be judged by an eminent panel of Jury members.
* 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.
* ‘Riyad Wadia award for Indian emerging filmmaker’ with a cash award of Rs.10,000.
* Best Feature Film will win a cash award of Rs 15,000 sponsored by Time Out.