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KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival – 147 films from across 45 countries!

KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival

written by Souranath Banerjee

Founded in 2010, and now voted as one of the Top 5 LGBT Film Festival in the world, KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival is South Asia’s biggest queer film festival and the only LGBT film festival in India to be held in a mainstream theater.

KASHISH MIQFF 2017 is held over 5 days at two venues, at Liberty Cinema and Alliance Francaise in South Mumbai. Held between May KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival24-May 28, 2017, it is the first Indian LGBT festival to be held with approval by the Information & Broadcasting Ministry, Government of India.

Delegate Registrations are open on Book My Show https://in.bookmyshow.com/festival/mumbai-international-queer-film-festival

THEME of KASHISH 2017 : ‘Diverse, One’ 

The theme of KASHISH 2017 explores the diversity of the LGBTQ communities. The diverse shades of the rainbow remind us that as people we are all different and we are all unique. In the fight for an equal society, basic human rights and against laws that criminalize and discriminate, it is our shared values that bring us together. We are strongest when we come together, when we embrace one another’s uniqueness and celebrate our differences. We are Diverse, We are One.

KASHISH 2017 will have South Asia’s largest prize money for LGBTQ films – 147 films from 45 countries competing for total cash award of Rs.2.20 lakhs.

KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film FestivalThe 8th edition of KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival this year will feature the largest prize money for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer films in South Asia. Around 43 of the 147 films that will be screened at the festival will compete in the eight competition categories for a total cash award of Rs 2.20 lakhs. The prize money will be sponsored by Anupam Kher’s Actor Prepares, Whistling Woods International, Shri K.F. Patil Charitable Trust, Wadia Movietone and Lotus Visual.

“It gives us immense pleasure to announce an increased bouquet of cash awards at KASHISH 2017,” said Sridhar Rangayan, Festival Director. “We have been really trying hard to up the value we bring to the independent filmmakers who put in so much of effort to make LGBTQ films across the world. We are truly delighted by the support we have received from individuals and organizations to nurture talent. KASHISH is happy to spread rainbow sunshine among the film making community,” said Rangayan.

The highest award at KASHISH, Best Narrative Feature (Rs. 30,000) as well as well as those for Best Indian Short Film (Rs 20,000) and KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film FestivalActor in a Leading Role (Rs 15,000) are sponsored by Anupam Kher’s Actor Prepares.

“I am heartened to see KASHISH growing year by year, providing a fantastic platform for independent queer cinema, bringing together films and offering a bridge to many cultures around the world. Actor Prepares is committed to nurturing talent and we are delighted to continue our support, for the fourth year, to three of the awards at the festival. I wish the festival even greater success,” said acclaimed actor Anupam Kher.

A newly introduced award this year is for the Best Student Short film with a cash award of Rs 15,000 sponsored by film school Whistling Woods International. LGBTQ short films made by students of film and media schools will compete for this award.

“Whistling Woods International is proud to continue its association with KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival, a wonderful initiative that encourages aspiring filmmakers to come forward and spread awareness about the LGBT community, sensitively and artistically. KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film FestivalLove is universal and it is fantastic to have a festival that celebrates love from the point of view of the individuals belonging to the LGBT community. We need more platforms like this, which not only promotes cinema but also unearths some truly unique talents every year. This year, we have taken our association further by sponsoring the Best Student Film Award. It adds another layer to our objective of partnering with KASHISH, which is to encourage young students to express themselves through the power of cinema. Like every year, we look forward to a positive response, and would like to convey our best wishes to the students,” said Meghna Ghai Puri, President, Whistling Woods International

Two competition categories this year will have cash awards – K.F.Patil Unity in Diversity Award for Best Documentary Feature (Rs.15,000) and K.F.Patil Unity in Diversity Award for Best Documentary Short – Rs.10,000. The cash awards are  sponsored by K.F.Patil Charitable Trust.

KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival“Discrimination is a human man-made phenomenon and it is against the very principle of nature which celebrates diversity. Unfortunately society does not and every voice that calls for freedom and inclusivity is important. KASHISH is one such voice standing for freedom and acceptance for a group of people all over the world who have been marginalised simply because of their sexual orientation. The K.F. Patil Charitable Trust which stands for Unity in Diversity is proud to associate with KASHISH which through the medium of a film festival informs, educates and shares with people the agonies and ecstasies of these people. The documentary awards instituted by the Trust are a token of our appreciation for Kashish and for the filmmakers to carry the message forward to thousands of people,” said National award winning filmmaker Arunaraje Patil, who is the Chairperson of Shri K.F. Patil Charitable Trust.

The Riyad Wadia Award for Best Emerging Indian Filmmaker was KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festivalinstituted in memory of Riyad Wadia, who made the country’s first gay film – BomGay. The cash award of Rs 15,000 is sponsored by Wadia Movietone.  “Encouraging new and young filmmakers was something my late brother Riyad Wadia always used to do, and this award in his name at the KASHISH  symbolizes some of the help and support he provided so many during his all too brief life.  Wadia Movietone remains proud to be associated with Kashish and we look forward to many years together,” said Roy Wadia, who heads Wadia Movietone.

The QDrishti Film Grant returns for the second year to KASHISH. It is an artistic grant to support and promote independent filmmakers based in India making LGBTQ themed films. Short Narrative or Documentary Films made by India-based filmmakers compete for this honour that gives Rs 1 lakh grant to the chosen film maker to make their next LGBTQ themed film. The chosen filmmaker will be mentored by noted filmmaker Aruna Raje and actor and theatre person Shernaz Patel.

“With the rise in global intolerance and violence against minorities, it is paramount for sexual minorities to have a safe space to voice their views. We are delighted to strengthen our partnership with KASHISH in KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festivalannouncing this year’s QDrishti grant with a joint vision of providing a safe platform for film makers who challenge us to celebrate our differences,” said Lotus Visual that has sponsored the grant. 

The competition categories and the films competing are as follows:

Narrative Features: 4 films: Apricot Groves, Glory and Grace, Play The Devil, AWOL

Documentary Features: 4 films: Storm-Drenched Minds, In Love As In Live, Transitioning : Transgender Children, No Dress Code Required.

Documentary Short: 6 films: Single Men, Naked Wheels, Still Burning, A Doll’s Eyes, Across Gender, Lands of Lost Content

International Narrative Short: 17 films: Dive, Java, Transmission, You Deserve Everything, No Way to Paradise, A Meal With Dad, Ladybug, Home, Ariel, The Devil is in the Details, Stay, In The Mirror, Scar Tissue, Lily, Rink, Princess, Superheroes

Indian Narrative Short: 7 films: Aarsa, Wajood, Shehenaiiya, Maacher Jhol, Chudala, Devi, Sisak

Riyad Wadia Award: 8 films: The 6th Element, Shehenaiiya, Wajood, Maacher Jhol, Chudala, Devi, Sisak, Tremors

QDrishti Film Grant: 8 films: The 6th Element, Shehenaiiya, Wajood, Maacher Jhol, Chudala, Devi, Sisak, Naked Wheels

Student Short: 12 films: Lethe, The Tiger’s Fight, Flora, Still Devout, Stumbling Out, Heart Station, Tremors, Beautiful Figure, Alfa, Dawn, The Dam, The Other Side

Crowdfunding for KASHISH 2017

For the fifth year in a row, KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival will be raising funds through crowdfunding. The global campaign to raise funds was launched on India’s leading crowdfunding portal –

Wishberry:https://www.wishberry.in/campaign/kashish-2017-diverse-one/

The target for this year is to raise Rs 3 lakhs, which will partly fund the festival expenses including theatre and equipment rentals. To KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festivalfurther deepen its engagement and provide a platform for Indian filmmakers who make films on LGBT themes, KASHISH 2017 crowdfunding campaign will also use part of the funds raised for a scholarship for selected filmmakers from outside Mumbai to come to the film festival and interact with the audience, film making fraternity and showcase their films.

Content and Photo courtesy: KASHISH MIQFF Team.

Best Lesbian Films ever made (10+1list)

Best Lesbian Films ever made

written by Souranath Banerjee

Best Lesbian Films ever made: In the year 2013 a brilliantly artistic film called Blue Is the Warmest Color won the Palme d’Or, the highest honor awarded at the Cannes Film Festival.

Lesbian-filmsDirected by Abdellatif Kechiche, it is (according to me) the most sexually graphic and emotionally potent cinema essentially based on a lesbian relationship.

Now, the word ‘lesbian’ refers to women who are romantically and/or sexually attracted to other women; a female homosexual.

And in spite of homosexuality being a taboo for years, excellent queer films have been made on lesbianism (even on gay or bisexual relationships) throughout the history of world cinema that respects and honestly portrays the love between two human beings regardless of their gender.

So, here are some of the Best Lesbian Films ever made that successfully represents lesbian relationships on celluloid.

10. Bound (1996) 

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7kA0K66yQxo

Lesbian-filmsBefore venturing into the world of The Matrix, Andy Wachowski and Lana Wachowski (as The Wachowski Brothers) debuted in filmmaking with this gritty lesbian sex crime drama!

A suitcase stashed with money ready to be stolen, a master plan that needs to be executed to perfection and two girls who seem to be madly in love – but can they trust each other till the end?

9. My Summer of Love (2004) 

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1L45nP7FOo

Lesbian-filmsFrom the Oscar Winning director Pawel Pawlikowski, this is the tale of two young women who over the summer season gives company to each other and soon starts a passionate lesbian love affair!

A delicately shot film that tip toes on the trust factor of the relationship, and explores so many facets of women. Though the ending is not exactly what you expect it to be!

8. Margarita, with a Straw (2014)  

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zy3F0WVDK0

Lesbian-filmsDirected by Shonali Bose and Nilesh Maniyar, a film that largely revolves around a lesbian relationship of a young girl with cerebral palsy.

(Click for review)

Finally, an Indian film that dares to explore the sexual urges of a disabled person and also makes us realize that their attractions and infatuations are in no ways different from any of us.

7. Heavenly Creatures (1994)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJ2yZjnPwQc

Lesbian-filmsOne of Peter Jackson‘s earlier films, this is a biographical account of two young girls, deeply attached to each other and living in their own fantasy world.

But things turn unfortunate as their parents sensing their friendship to be too intimate than desired, tried to separate them.

The debut film of Kate Winslet and Melanie Lynskey.

6. Show Me Love (1998)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PtpXpFylSn0

Lesbian-filmsTwo cute teenage girls in a small town and their love story – well the film is exactly that and fortunately much more.

Directed by Lukas Moodysson, this is a film that touches the depths of so many emotions and depicts love, friendship and teenage infatuations from a very simple yet realistic point of view.

A film that makes you laugh and cry at the same time.

5. Aimee & Jaguar (1999)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1DdmtmVvCBg

Lesbian-filmsDirected by Max Färberböck, the film is about the courageous lesbian relationship between a Jewish girl (disguised under a German name) and a German housewife during the time when Jews were being mercilessly hunted down from all around Europe.

Historically significant as well since it’s a biographical account and it’s captured on screen with such brilliance.

4. Carol (2015)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4z7Px68ywk

Lesbian-filmsA young girl attracted to a married older woman who openly seduces her, an impulsive spark of romance that makes their lives both volatile and euphoric.

(Click for review)

Directed by Todd Haynes, a perfect lesbian love affair beautifully put on screen, a liaison between two people most unexpected of falling in love!

3. The Killing of Sister George (1968)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Clqfsd7sYJU

Lesbian-filmsA superb black comedy and a somewhat unusual way of portraying a lesbian relationship.

Brilliantly directed by Robert Aldrich, this film is all about elderly Sister George and her young girlfriend and then the various twists and turns in their relationship.

Excellent characterizations and superlative performances that ensures the film’s brilliance.

2. Fire (1996)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SnshN0wqiCo

Lesbian-filmsDirected by Deepa Mehta, this is one powerful Indian film that tells the story of two wives from a middle class family who being frustrated by their loneliness and dissatisfied sex-life ignites a lesbian relationship among themselves.

Bold and thought provoking – though globally appreciated and well received but was predictably banned in India right after its release!

  1. Persona (1966) 

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=amxvetvKfho

Lesbian-filmsA nurse is assigned to take care of an actress who doesn’t want to speak anymore, and soon the two women find themselves curiously attached, and their personas seem to mysteriously coincide with each other.

Though any direct lesbian relationship is never implied in this Swedish classic, but then acclaimed director Ingmar Bergman masterfully plays with the complexity of the women’s psychology and their instincts. A treat to watch for Cinema lovers!

Even in the films like David Lynch‘s Mulholland Drive and Darren Aronofsky‘s Black Swan, the lesbian theme is only a layered part of the main plot.

and (The ‘+1′ film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most unique one. A must watch).

+1. Mädchen in Uniform (1931)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bnlAS-hMtic

Lesbian-filmsA classic lesbian drama (probably the first of its kind), and not surprisingly the film achieved a cult status.

Directed by Leontine Sagan and Carl Froelich, this is the story of a young girl falling in love with her (lady) teacher within the strict restrictions of a boarding school.

The German film though initially had great success was later banned and prints destroyed during the Hitler regime.

A few other Lesbian films which didn’t make the list are:

Club de femmes (1936), The Children’s Hour (1961), Fried Green Tomatoes (1991), Another Way (1982), The Kids Are All RightLesbian-films (2010), Saving Face (2004), I Can’t Think Straight (2008), Room in Rome (2010), High Art (1998), Desert Hearts (1985), The Fox (1967), The Secrets (2007), The Duke of Burgundy (2014), Monster (2003), Dyketactics (1974) (Short), The Runaways (2010), and The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (1972).

A few TV Movies that explore lesbian relationships:

If These Walls Could Talk 2 (2000), Serving in Silence: The Margarethe Cammermeyer Story (1995), The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister (2010), Daphne (2007), The Truth About Jane (2000) and Gia (1998).

A few TV Series that are essentially developed with lesbian themes:

FingersmithLesbian-films (2005), Tipping the Velvet (2002), Portrait of a Marriage (1990), Sugar Rush (2005), The L Word (2004), Anyone But Me (2008) and South of Nowhere (2005).   

And finally, a few documentaries that explore lesbianism:

Paris Was a Woman (1996), Edie & Thea: A Very Long Engagement (2009), Forbidden Love: The Unashamed Stories of Lesbian Lives (1992) and Word Is Out (1977).

Similar Interest: Best Transgender Movies ever made

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.comcinema.comwww.iwannawatch.to.

Pride (2014)

My Ratings: 4/5.

Pride is not only an unique story told but it’s also a true one.

Establishing a political background during the times of Margaret Thatcher the film Pride revolves around the British miners’ strike in 1984 and how a group of Lesbian and Gay activists wholeheartedly supported the families of the jobless miners. 

pride-poster2The miners and the LGBT activists, both were fighting for their voice, their respect and their identity.

And so they managed to join hands and stand side by side, help each other (both emotionally and financially as well).

Pride is about accepting ‘who you really are’ and also about recognizing and embracing your true friends ‘whoever they are’.

Bill Nighy and Imelda Staunton leads the way as Dominic WestJessica GunningPaddy ConsidineBen SchnetzerGeorge MacKay – basically everybody out there have given there best.

pride-poster4Superb casting, thanks to Fiona Weir.

Directed by Matthew Warchus Pride is a film of human connection and trust, it’s about self belief and respect as an individual as well as a community. 

Nominated and won in several award functions including Golden Globes and BAFTA, it’s also won the Queer Palm award at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival.

Overall Pride is a perfectly well-executed drama dipped in blissful British humour. Enjoy.