Noted filmmaker Aruna Raje, Bollywood actor and model Simone Singh, theater director Quasar Thakore Padamsee, Manavendra Singh Gohil, Roy Wadia of Heroes Project and director of WadiaMovietone and filmmaker and festival director Sridhar Rangayan on Wednesday announced KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film festival 2013. The fourth edition of India’s and South Asia’s biggest queer film fest is scheduled to be held between May 22-26, 2013.
The festival will be held at a Cinemax Versova in Andheri West between May 22-26, 2013 and at Alliance Française de Bombay from May 23-25, 2013.
The festival will screen 132 films from 40 countries.
“For me it’s an opportunity to endorse, encourage not only good cinema but tolerance and acceptance of every kind of human being however human beings categorize themselves,” said filmmaker Aruna Raje, who will also be part of the international jury at KASHISH 2013. “The LGBT community for too long has been marginalised and suffered – Kashish is a vehicle and a right-now opportunity for their inclusion so they have the same freedom and rights everyone on this planet has,” Aruna Raje said, “It’s easy through cinema to open people’s minds and hearts. That’s where KASHISH comes in.”
Simone Singh, who is also part of the jury said, “It is a pleasure to be on the jury of KASHISH. This film festival is a vibrant platform for filmmakers the world over to showcase their work relating to the LGBT community. I look forward to cultural and cinematic diversity of the selected films.’’
Manavendra Singh Gohil, who was the Guest of Honour, emphasised the role played by the festival in giving visibility to the community. “KASHISH is the need of our times when a community gets represented through a performing art in its compendium of varied forms, which becomes an integral part of mainstream society and that is required as an important step away from marginalisation,’’ said Gohil, who is one of the few out royal family member in the world. “Gay rights cannot only be won in the courtroom but it has to win hearts and minds of the people. Cinema is a powerful medium to achieve that.”
Theater director Quasar Thakore Padamsee, another member of the KASHISH 2013 jury said, “KASHISH is a unique and important event in the city’s cultural landscape. It is an example of the diversity our city has to offer. The festival has grown by leaps and bounds each year and the films on offer are powerful and sensitive. I am looking forward to serving on the panel and seeing films that ordinarily I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to.’’
The members of the international jury panel for KASHISH 2013 comprise – filmmaker Aruna Raje, actor Simone Singh, theater director Quasar Thakore Padamsee, author and poet Jerry Pinto and Iris Prize festival director Berwyn Rowlands.
“The growth and spread of KASHISH has been phenomenal. We are in our fourth year and there are a lot more expectations. It will be a challenge to ensure that we balance awareness and entertainment to provide a diverse range of programs for our audiences. KASHISH is no more just a film festival, but an annual cultural experience, and we hope to live up to it,” said festival director Sridhar Rangayan. “The festival today also received the clearance from the Union Information and Broadcasting Ministry, like the last three years and we are grateful for their support,’’ added Rangayan.
Saagar Gupta, festival programmer says, “This year KASHISH is programming the biggest collection of films and from countries that are very diverse, including countries where making films on LGBT themes is challenging. Also keeping in tune with this year’s theme of ‘Towards Change’ there are several outstanding documentaries to watch out for including Vito, United in Anger, Call Me Kuchu, Hide & Seek, Invisible Men,Not A Man in Sight and from India …And The Unclaimed. These films showcase stories of struggle, trauma and happiness of LGBT persons across the world”.
“For the third year in a row, WadiaMovietone is thrilled to be associated with Kashish via the RiyadWadia Award,” said Roy Wadia, Director, WadiaMovietone and Special Jury member for Kashish. “The award honours the memory of my late brother, India’s first openly gay filmmaker who made India’s first gay-themed film, BOMgAY. Riyad heralded the change that is slowly but surely coming to our country in terms of LGBT rights, as well as the change that is all too slowly being seen in our collective film industry across our nation. Kashish is at the forefront of that change and is doing so much to change minds and hearts among the wider public, and to strengthen and nurture the LGBT community’s own perceptions of itself in terms of dignity and humanity.”
Rowlands, who will be visiting India to be a part of the KASHISH 2013 international jury had this message: “This will be my first trip to India, so I’m looking forward to everything. Meeting local filmmakers, tasting some authentic food and generally understanding more about being LGBT in India. I’ve always believed that we live in a global village where most experiences are shared – but I also like diversity, so I’m hoping to enjoy new experiences during my time at Kashish. I almost forgot, I’m also looking forward to watching lots of films,’’ said Rowlands.
The festival this year also comprises an Advisory Board, which includes Roy Wadia, Executive Director of Heroes Project, the HIV communications and advocacy NGO, Nandini Sardesai, Dolly Thakore, Meghna Ghai Puri, Shernaz Patel, Jenni Olson and David Gere.