Kashish promotes Indian LGBT films on foreign shores

Mumbai, Oct 3 (IANS) The Kashish Mumbai International Queer Film Festival, whose fourth edition was held here in May, is facilitating screenings of Indian and South Asian LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) films around the world.

The films will be screened at the Seattle South Asian Film Festival (US), Nuremberg Human Rights Film Festival (Germany) and Iris Prize Festival (Britain) this month.

"We would like to reach out to viewers with these wonderful films beyond the five days of our festival. So we curate a package of films that can travel through the year to various venues," Sridhar Rangayan, festival director of Kashish, said in a statement.

Kashish recently facilitated a screening of such films in Hyderabad. It was organised by the youth group Queer Campus Hyderabad.

Saadat Munir and Saad Khan's "Hide & Seek" ("Chuppan Chupai") will be screened at Seattle South Asian Film Festival (SSAFF) Saturday, while on Sunday Lok Prakash's "Are We So Different?" ("Amra Ki Etoi Bhinno?"), "Urmi" by Jehangir Jani and Pradipta Ray's "The Night Is Young" ("Raat Baaki") will be screened.

At the Nuremberg Human Rights Film Festival, Rangayan will showcase a trailer of his forthcoming documentary "Breaking Free" Sunday. And come Oct 10, "Urmi" will be screened at the Iris Prize Festival.

"Can there be any news better than this," asked filmmaker Lok Prakash.

"It is a big thrust to South Asian queer films," he added.

Munir, who is behind "Chuppan Chupai", a film on Pakistan's transgender community, is greatly enthused about his film's screening.

"My film is touring at different LGBT film festivals around the world, but being selected at a festival that caters to a wider South Asian audience like SSAFF will make it much easier to reach out to the masses and convey the message of sexual minorities in Pakistan around the world," he said.

Rangayan is hopeful of more such events in the future, but said: "Right now it is the content that is driving inclusion of Indian queer films, made on shoestring budgets, at these festivals."

"But we do need a very quick support system in place to help filmmakers make qualitative films that can stand up to international standards."

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