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INDIA - Jan 13, 2010

The rainbow flag has risen over India: pride parades in major metro areas, the historic Delhi High Court’s verdict on Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, the return of India’s landmark gay magazine Bombay Dost, the Indian Election Commission’s decision to recognize a transgender category. Mainstream Indian cinema, too, has recognized this social movement with queer characters in several recent films (although still mostly negative portrayals). But there are many undiscovered, unseen films with queer themes that have neither reached the movie theaters nor had a platform to reach wider audiences. These are the small budget, independent films, short films, documentaries and projects by media students.

Kashish - Mumbai Queer Film Festival, 2010 is an attempt by Solaris Pictures and Bombay Dost to unearth these films and showcase them, celebrating the creativity filmmakers and the increasing visibility of the queer community. The festival will offer cinema as a medium to understand what being queer in India means today and how it impacts both the queer community and the society at large.

“Our vision is to not only encourage original Indian queer cinema but also showcase it to queer and mainstream audiences both, in order to make them aware about Indian queer thought, desire and expression,” says Sridhar Rangayan, festival director. “We want to reach out to as many Indian filmmakers and audiences as we can.”

Kashish will be held between April 22 and April 25, 2010, and will held in two venues in Mumbai – one in the city and one in the suburbs. Features, short films, documentaries and experimental films will be screened, highlighting gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender characters and stories. The films will explore the diverse realities, complexities, joys and sorrows that make up the Indian queer experience as well as celebrate, reclaim, and explain LGBTQ identities while engaging and entertaining audiences.

Eminent personalities from films, art, fashion and media and queer activists will be part of Kashish selection committee and jury for its competitive sections, which will carry awards. The festival will push the envelope even further by including films made outside India but those which relate to the Indian experience – films from the Indian Diaspora. Several prominent desi filmmakers from the US and the UK will exhibit their films at Kashish. In addition, two internationally acclaimed curators will showcase recent cutting-edge queer films from North America and South-East Asia in a special package.

A series of discussions about on Indian queer culture and its portrayal on film, and a photo-exhibition will also be a part of Kashish.

For more details, please contact Sridhar Rangayan (Solaris Pictures), Festival Director.
Email: kashishmqff@gmail.com

Vivek Anand (Bombay Dost), Festival Director
Email: avivekr@gmail.com

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