September 16, 2020
KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival is an annual LGBTQ+ event. The film festival screens gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer films from India and around the world. It became one of the top 5 LGBT film festivals through voting.
KASHISH attracts close to 8500 people every year over its 5-day festival. It is the first Indian LGBTQ+ festival to be held with approval by the Government of India.
KASHISH believes that films and art are a powerful medium to bring about social change. The festival uses the reach and spread that KASHISH has to rally public opinion towards equality and dignity for the LGBTQ+ community. KASHISH uses local, national and international platforms to sensitize the public about LGBTQ+ issues.
They held their 2019 edition from 12th June to 19th June, the theme this year was ‘Over The Rainbow’, which commemorates the decriminalization of Section 377.
Not only that, but it also defines the challenges in store for the LGBTQ community’s journey towards a better future. The festival aims to showcase the shared struggles and victories and offers a window to existing and future possibilities
Below are the best film from this years event. They are according to Sridhar Rangayan, Festival Director. She has chosen from the 700+ submissions this year. So sit back and get ready for some amazing films:
The film is 80 minutes long and sent in from the Netherlands by Ellen Smit. It was the Opening Film on Wednesday, June 12th. The story follows Joris, a young Dutch man who is still trying to come to terms with his father’s death. His mother seems to be of no help. Yad is a young Syrian refugee guy who settles in the Netherlands and works for Joris’ grandmother Ans. Although the two are very different, they seem to share a bond through music and sports. Soon their feelings for each other grow and they feel more than “Just Friends”. Their mothers intercept and threaten young men.
Until Porn Do Us Part:
This film is 90 minutes long and sent in from Portugal by Jorge Pelicano The story follows Eulália, a conservative 65-year-old Portuguese mother, who soon find out that her son Sydney, who now lives in Berlin, is famous worldwide as a performer in hardcore gay sex films, using the name Fostter Riviera. The movie shows the journey of Eulália’s life as she tries to move beyond her initial shock and horror to a place of understanding, using tools of modern cyberculture – Google and Facebook – to better understand Sydney’s life choices.
This film is 83 minutes long and sent in from Kenya by Wanuri Kahiu. The story follows Kena, a young Kenyan girl who helps her father run a small convenience store in Nairobi as rallies in a local election. Kena starts flirting with Ziki, a neighbourhood girl with colourful hair. She also happens to be the daughter of Peter Okemi, John’s political rival. Kena and Ziki have a number of romantic dates and quickly become very close. However, there are tensions about displaying their affection in public because homosexuality is illegal in Kenya.
This film is 113 minutes long and sent in from India by Kaushik Ganguly. The story follows Porimal, a transwoman who runs away from her home and joins a ghetto of eunuchs with a new name, Puti. She sings at traffic signals to earn money. That is where she falls in love with Madhu, a delivery boy in a Chines restaurant who performs the flute in Kirtans. They dream of raising money for sex reassignment surgery. But the transphobic society doesn’t support their dreams. Puti is taken under arrest and commits suicide by hanging herself with her towel inside the lockup at a police station.
This film is 73 minutes long and sent in from India by Swarnavel Eswaran. In a small village ravaged by a tsunami, Singaram works as a fisherman to care for his orphaned niece and nephew. Despite her uncle’s tireless bids to find a groom for her, Anandhi rejects all efforts to get her married off, instead of focusing on her work as a schoolteacher. When a new photography instructor named Kavita arrives at the school, Anandhi finds an instant connection with her. As their friendship begins to blossom into something more, Anandhi must face her feelings and the consequences they will bring in this conservative society.
Call Her Ganda:
This film is 87 minutes long and sent in from the Philippines/ USA by P.J. Raval. The story follows Jennifer Laude, a Filipina trans woman, who is brutally murdered by a U.S. Marine. Three women intimately invest themselves in the case -an activist attorney, a transgender journalist and Jennifer’s mother Julita “Nanay” Laude. Together they galvanize a political uprising, pursuing justice and taking on hardened histories of US imperialism.
This film is 91 minutes long and sent in from Canada by Lenin M. Sivam. The story follows a beautiful twenty-year-old dancer, Roobha. A transgender woman in Canada who falls in love with a much older charismatic family man, Anthony. She gives him a sense of escape and solace from his mundane life and troubles. A rapturous romance ensues. However, trouble starts when their families discover their relationship.
This film is 99 minutes long and sent in from France by Camille Vidal-Naquet. The story follows 22-year-old sex worker, Leo who doesn’t care about money or moving up in the world. He also doesn’t resent his clients the way his fellow sex workers do. Rather, he seems to lack the ability to separate emotions from sex and needs just as much from his clients that his clients need from him. When Leo offers to spend the night in bed with a sad widower, his customer is surprised. “Won’t you get bored?” the old man asks.
“No,” Leo replies, “because that’s what I want, too.” He just wants to be free. And he wants to be loved. And he wants to be free to be loved.
This film is 115 minutes long and sent in from Australia/ USA by Joel Edgerton. It was the Pre-Closing Film on Sunday, June 16thThe story follows Jared, an only child. His father a lay preacher with a car dealership adores him. But he is concealing his sexual identity from them. It emerges in the aftermath of an ugly, violent experience away at college. So Jared gets sent to conversion therapy. His fellow trainees include the agonised Jon and the coolly cynical Gary.
Njan Marykutty (I’m Marykutty):
This film 126 minutes long and sent in from India by Ranjith Sankar. The story follows Mathukutty, who is transgender and wants to undergo surgery to align her gender to her body. Born a male, she becomes Marykutty and her problems start when she comes back to her native place.
Though her family disowns Marykutty, it is the parish priest, who gives her all the confidence. She is determined to become a sub Inspector and joins a coaching institute to prepare for the exam. In between, she earns the considerable appreciation in that area, as a Radio Jockey in the FM channel run by the church. The movie narrates the hard work and hardships faced by Marykutty to achieve her dream and to set a respectable identity in society.