The Bangalore Queer Film Festival (BQFF) is a yearly tradition that has been celebrated for the past 10 years, representing the LGBTQ+ community through the medium of moving image. It showcases Queer and the concerns of the community through carefully curated films, art and photo exhibitions, performances, and panel discussions.
Bangalore has shown its support towards the people of LGBTQ+ through such initiatives since 2003. However, the Queer Film Festival has now taken a permanent spot in the city’s annual calendar. Featuring independent films among other works; the festival only selects ideas and themes that best represent the LGBTQ+ community however simple or wildly queer they may be.
In 2018, BQFF featured about 89 independent films from different parts of the world, with over 1300 participants. Yes, it was packed! Over the past nine years, BQFF has seen registered participation of 1000 to 1500, who not only join for free but also donate to ensure continuity of the festival. The widespread participation and constant support, speaks volumes in terms of the need for a community that represents LGBTQ+.
The festival, in essence, represents the city’s progressive and pro-pride attitude. The number of Indian-films that are featured every year keeps growing, owing to the constantly increasing exposure to the topic, and the expanding fraternity of filmmakers that come from the queer community.
“There is a spirit of trial and error, humour and bawdiness in these performances, making them some of the best attended events of the festival with loud and raucous audience participation.”
– Joshua Moyiwa, Goethe-Institut
The 10th year Anniversary of Bangalore Queer Film Festival:
This year marks the 10th anniversary of BQFF, and they intend to make it bigger, better and crazier with their features. The intention? to make it far superior to its previous versions. The curtain-raising event will be held on the 31st of July, 2019 at Bangalore international Centre from 6.30pm to 8.30pm. While the festival spans over 4 days from 1st of August 2019 to the 4th of August 2019 from 10 am to 9 pm. The venue for the first two days of the event is Alliance Francaise de Bangalore. For the last 2 days, BQFF has decided to host the festival at Goethe-Institut / Max-Mueller Bhavan
Image Courtesy – Twitter
Know more about the curtain-raisers:
For the 2019 edition of BQFF, Manjamma Jogathi and her troupe are going to perform for the curtain-raising event. Manjamma Jogathi, a transgender from the Kallukamba, Kurugodu taluk in Ballari district, is an exceptionally talented artist. She protects and promotes folk music and dance. She excels in theatre, Chaudaki songs, and Karakatta dance. Manjamma leads and trains an 11 member troupe called Sri Renuka Joguti Kala Tanda in Ballari. She trains her disciples in theatre as well. They perform female, male as well as gender-fluid roles. The troupe is one of the last Jogathi groups that follow the legend of Goddess Yellama. They are known as the devadasis of Karnataka.
Manjamma is the most famous jogathi of the Yellama cult. She has the distinction of performing in every district in Karnataka. She not only performs folk and mythological roles but also does productions that promote a cause or social message. The troupe is protecting Chowdki from disappearing. Chowdki is a percussion instrument that was once prevalent in districts such as South Maharastra, North Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh.
It is one of the oldest performances of North Karnataka, and is not a mainstream style of performance that people identify. “The importance of the performance is on who the performers are, and what they do, and less on the religious side of the act”, said Mr Nadika, who is a part of the BQFF team of organisers.
Previously the troupe has performed ‘Choudike Pada’ a form of sangeetham or folk singing. At the 2016 ‘International Trans Arts Festival’, the troupe featured a ritual dance known as ‘Jogathi Nritya’. This is also going to be the final act of the curtain-raiser. This performance was based on Goddess Yellammaa. Manjamma has received many honours including the Rajyotsava and the Janapada Academi awards. After knowing the uniqueness of Manjamma and her troupe, it brings curiosity to want to know what these artists have in store for us.
It is 10th year, and the festival is expecting approximately 10,000 people to join it this year and screen over 75 films! Any first-timer to the event can expect a huge group of people, who are usually film lovers, queer or non-queer, panels of discussion, and a community that is keen to experiment with queer films. A few new film-makers, short-film makers also tend to screen for the first time at BQFF, said Mr Nadika. The event is on 31st of July.
Also Read: 5 Queer Festivals Held Across India
Source Credits: Asian Film Festivals, Bangalore Mirror, Deccan Herald, Goethe-Institut, LBB, New Indian Express, The News Minute, Times of India