About 157 films from 42 countries are being showcased at Kashish – South Asia’s biggest LGBTQIA+ film festival.
The 11th edition of the festival has gone virtual this year and Sridhar Rangayan, Festival Director, highlights the changes.
Tell us about Kashish.
When the Delhi high court read down Section 377, me and some of my close friends got together to start KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival in 2010 at a mainstream theatre – PVR cinema in Juhu, Mumbai.
At that point, organising a mainstream LGBTQ film festival, getting permission from the government and involving mainstream Indian filmmaking community, was unheard of.
From then on, KASHISH has become this huge celebration of the LGBTQ community through art and films, and allowed for a safe space where the mainstream audiences could intermingle with the LGBQ community.
The festival got voted as one of the top five coolest LGBTQ film festival in the world.
What has this year’s edition have to offer?
Our program consisted of around 160 films and was locked in February.
We were ready to go with it, but then the pandemic stopped us in our tracks.
Thankfully, almost 98 per cent of the filmmakers have stood with us, and have consented to their film being part of the virtual edition.
This shows the trust and faith the filmmakers have in KASHISH, and we are glad to be screening their film to the entire world.
The festival line-up includes 30 Indian LGBTQIA+ films in Hindi, Marathi, Malayalam, Bengali, etc.
We are having panel discussions on topics as diverse as the films we are screening.
Whether Indian Queer Content is sustainable to parental acceptance, homophobia in sports, to how film festivals are faring in the time of the pandemic.
We have amazing panelists, from Zoya Akhtar, Shonali Bose and Bani J to Menaka Guruswamy, to a Canadian Olympic athlete and two Indian transmen athletes.
Check out all the panel discussions at http://mumbaiqueerfest.com/allied-events/
What is the difference of working on the project this season compared to the ones prior to it?
While the physical event brings different communities together at the festival, a virtual event has a wider reach, beyond the confines of the city, across India and the world.
Most of the 157 films from 42 countries being shown at KASHISH 2020 Virtual, are viewable across the world, except for a few which are geo-blocked to play only in India, due to restrictions by the producers/distributors.
An online festival also enables us to involve a wider number of filmmakers with whom we can do virtual Q&As, and involve international panelists.
What is the theme this year?
‘Moving Forward, Together’. It encompasses the entire spectrum of LGBTQIA+ lives and the allies, making a call for everyone to come together with love and compassion to ensure a world that is equal and just.
The festival has ensured that all sexualities and genders are represented in the films we programme, and the panel discussions are an inclusive space too.
What are the expectations from the digital edition of Kashish?
The festival will run parallely on two platforms, like two theaters! The one where the films are playing is https://xerb.tv/channel/kashish2020/virtual-events and the second one is on our social media handles @kashishfilmfest where the panel discussions and filmmakers Q&As will be streamed every day.
The opening and closing ceremonies will also be livestreamed on our social media platforms.