KASHISH – Towards Change

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 India’s biggest queer film festival is presenting its 4th edition through KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival 2013 to be held from 22nd to 26th May, 2013. During a short coffee conversation at Alliance Française de Bombay, Afmagazine interviewed the festival director Sridhar Rangayan. Interview.

Sridhar Rangayan

Would you tell us the reason behind choosing an oriental country like China for the ‘Country Focus’?
Few years back, I had been to Beijing Queer Film Festival and unfortunately that festival had to face troubles with sudden police interference, obligation to change the venue etc. But despite the limitations on freedom of expression and modes of communication, people there had a lot of energy to carry out the festival secretly. For the first time in China, the mothers of the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transexual)  children happen to speak out. All these series of events led me and festival programmer Sagar Gupta to put the country focus on China with the anticipation to reform the bridges.

How do you intend to interpret the festival theme, “Towards Change”?
This year, we are mainly focusing on the countries which are not really followed on the LBGT issues. Countries like Serbia, Iran, Slovakia, China, Pakistan etc. are very challenging to make a queer film in. It was difficult for us even to reach some of these countries. Being an international queer film festival, we want to bridge the LGBT movement in western countries with these challenging countries. Let this festival lead the people towards the change in the perspective of LGBT community.

 What do you think about films as a medium of expression? What impact do you think a queer film creates?
According to me, cinema is a window to culture. Besides, it is a great way to connect with masses. Queer films facilitate the normalization of LGBT people. In addition to advocacy, films also provide the entertainment factor. It is a pleasure to see a lot of non-LGBT crowd, mostly youngsters, turning out as our main audience. I guess, cinema is the best medium to highlight mainstream queer visibility.

So what is new about this 4th edition of KASHISH?
This year we have covered more and more challenging countries with much more feature films and more cash awards. The number of panel discussions and film makers’ interfaces has been increased. For example, we have panel discussions like “We are family” or “Trans: reel to real”. We also have events like “From idea to screen” where five professional film makers will be guiding the young aspirants on how to effectively produce a film. This year, we have grown even bigger with 132 films from 40 countries to be screened in Alliance Française de Bombay and Cinemax Versova.

Chitrangada: The Crowning Wish

To conclude, would you tell us about any new achievements or special mentions?
This year, we have international juries including author and poet Jerry Pinto and Iris Prize festival director Berwyn Rowlands. Consequently, the best short film at KASHISH will get to compete for the Iris Prize in UK. Following the theme, The festival will project “The Parade” from Serbia as an opening film and closing film shall be Rituparno Ghosh’s “Chitrangada: The Crowning Wish”. In fact, many film makers from UK, USA and China are flying down only to witness KASHISH at their own cost. I hope we will continue to grow bigger with every passing year!

More info : http://mumbaiqueerfest.com

Interview by Sanyogita Zadkar, Alliance Française de Bombay

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