The LGBTQ community has long being a subject of scorn and distasteful humor in the Indian film industry. Even the depiction of a homosexual relationship has created controversy in feature films. Therefore, an LGBT Film Festival that’s been approved by the Government of India is an incredible feat. This year, the Kashish Mumbai International Queer Film Festival will also feature short films in its awards category.
The Kashish Mumbai International Queer Film Festical will be held from May 24 to 28th. It routinely makes the list of the top LGBT Film Festivals in the world. This was the first LGBT festival to be held with the approval of the Information & Broadcasting Ministry, Government of India.
The Student Short Film Jury consists of Jeroo Mulla, Somnath Sen, Avijit Mukul Kishore and Debashree Mukheree.
Anupam Kher’s Actor Prepares is sponsoring a cash prize of Rs. 20,000 for the Best Indian Narrative Short Film. Whistling Woods International will sponsor a Rs. 15,000 award for the Best Student Short Award. The Best Queer Short Film at KASHISH competes for the Iris Prize in the UK.
The Festival will open with Shabana Azmi’s ‘Signature Move’ and end with the gay romance ‘LOEV’.
Here’s our pick of the Narrative short films that are up for screening:
Director Kawa Hatef’s ‘Aarsa’ brings the story of a dance studio caretaker, who falls in love with a beautiful dance instructor. The media industry has long been said to be the centrestage for homosexual relationships. A mature, well made film will definitely change the idea that all media homosexual relationships are something not to be abhored.
Transexuals are generally kept out of film scripts of various reasons. So, when a film is based on a transsexual – and on her requit for love, it definitely makes us stand up and take notice. ‘Wajood’, by director Vishal Shrivastava does just that.
One night stands and the risk of them are always told as stories with a heterosexual tone to them. But Debadrita Bose decides to weave a story between two men and a sudden one night interaction with her ‘Clarinets’.
There’s also a silent film, titled ‘Sisak’ by Director Faraz Arif Ansari, which speaks about a budding homosexual relationship in the travel-place.
The documentary film category is also choc-a-bloc with options. Director Alexia Wong brings to us ‘Single Men’, a film that tells the story of two single and middle-aged gay men.
Another film ‘Across Gender’, by director Anouk Houtman speaks about how gay men live in Indonesia.
Films are known to ignite sleeping passions in people. For example, many Americans would say that the slave Leia costume in Star Wars was the first sexual imagery that they saw in mainstream cinema.Taking cue for such aspects, Director Jonathan Wysocki tells the story of a film-maker who discovers why the film ‘Jaws’ affected him so deeply in ‘A Doll’s Eyes’.
Then there’s the regional film, ‘Naked Wheels’, which tells about a journey undertaken by men, women and transsexuals in South India in a truck.
‘Lands of Lost Content’ is a documentary in which a Christian student, Nik Jovic Sas meets a genocide surivor and ballet dancer.
There’s also a couple of international short films that made the grade for Kashish. There’s ‘Salta’, about a woman who reminisces about her past experiences. There’s alson ‘Java’, where an artist gets obsessed with a coffee addict. Two other films that make the grade are ‘Tranmission’ and ‘You Deserve Everything’.
The line-up for the Kashish Film festival does impress . At first glance, looks like the festival offers something to view to all film fans.