Dutch coming of age film Boys (Jongens) directed by Mischa Kamp won the Best Narrative Feature Film award, while Trans* actor Kristina Hernandez won the award for the Best Performance in a Lead Role for the film Stealth at the 6th edition of KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival – South Asia’s biggest and India’s only mainstream LGBT film festival. The winners were announced at a glittering award ceremony at Mumbai’s iconic art deco theatre Liberty Cinema on Sunday, May 31, 2015 evening.
The Best Film wins a cash award of Rs 30,000 and the Best Actor wins a cash prize of Rs 20,000 – both sponsored by Anupam Kher’s Actor Prepares.
The Best Indian Short Narrative Film award was shared by two films – the Marathi film Sundar directed by Rohan Kanawade and the Tamil film A Full Stop That Searches For Its End directed by Vivek Vishwanathan. The award carried a cash prize of Rs 20,000 sponsored by Anupam Kher’s Actor Prepares and a two day shooting kit from Accord Equips.
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The Riyad Wadia Award for Best Emerging Filmmaker went to Vaibhav Hatkar for his Marathi short film Ek Maaya Ashi Hi (A Love Such As This). The cash award of Rs 15,000 was sponsored by Wadia Movietone.
The Best Documentary award went to Do I Sound Gay? from the US directed by David Thorpe. The winner receives a cash prize of Rs 20,000 sponsored by Pond5.
The other awards went to Irish film Novena directed by Anna Rodgers (Best Documentary Short Film award that carries prize of stock footage worth $350 sponsored by Pond 5) and 09:55 – 11:05 Ingrid Ekman Bergsgatan 4b (Best International Narrative Short) from Sweden directed by Cristine Berglund and Sophie Vukovic.
Fashion designer and BJP leader Shaina NC was the chief guest of the festival and she also gave away the KASHISH Rainbow Warrior 2015 Award posthumously to lesbian rights activist late Betu Singh. The award was received by Betu Singh’s partner and co-worker Maya Shanker.
“The leadership of this country needs to come to events like these to realize what being progressive and being inclusive really mean. To the Kashish family, I would like to say that the road ahead will not be easy. You will meet resistance. But on my part I will assure you that I will stand for you, I will stand with you whether we may succeed or not. More than proving a point, it is about expressing to society that genuine unity starts when we accept each other with all our differences,’’ said Shaina NC.
Noted actor Dalip Tahil was the guest of honour and he gave away the Best Narrative Feature Film award. “I am a bit overwhelmed to be here. I must say that being here has been very meaningful and a fantastic experience. The atmosphere is wonderful and I am really honoured and grateful to be here,’’ said Dalip Tahil.
Festival director Sridhar Rangayan said, “Kashish has become not just a film festival but a major force to propel LGBT visibility in the mainstream across several platforms. It has become the biggest pride event in India, but most importantly a safe space for LGBT community and mainstream society to mingle with no tags. Kashish reached greater heights this year with more films, more interactive discussions, more attendance and more glamorous performances than previous years. Kashish is here to stay.”
An eminent jury from the film industry and the media judged the seven competition categories – filmmakers Anubhav Sinha and Chitra Palekar, National Award winning filmmaker Aamir Bashir, columnist Malavika Sangghvi and actor Meghna Malik. Roy Wadia of Wadia Movietone was the additional jury member for the Riyad Wadia award.
“I grew up in Benaras, in the 70s, where the image and the perception of the gay man was really different back then. These films have given me a universal perspective now and I am happy I got to watch so many of them,’’ said Anubhav Sinha.
“Thank you Kashish for widening my horizons. Being here has opened my eyes, I feel like I understand the heartaches and joys of this community a little better thanks to the films. Now I am not just another guy who has a gay friend or a silent ally,’’ said Aamir Bashir.
Actor Meghna Malik agreed with the sentiment of her other jury members. “It felt just like being with family. What we saw were the stories of people from different social set-ups. It made me feel the pain and the strength, the courage and the fear of the community. Being here was a real eye-opener for me,’’ said Meghna Mailk.
Chitra Palekar who is also an out and proud mother of a lesbian daughter said that she had been a regular at KASHISH since its inception and this year she enjoyed her experience as a jury member. “Watching, dissecting and arguing about the films with the rest of the jury added to my enjoyment,’’ said Chitra Palekar.
Malavika Sangghvi had a message for the LGBT community. “After having the privilege of being a part of Kashish first hand, let me just say that the time for consolidation has come. The time has come to unite for causes different from one’s own. The need of the hour is to go mainstream with the spirit of Kashish where the talent, skills, dependability, resourcefulness of this community are brought to the fore,’’ said Malavika Sangghvi.
180 films from 44 countries were screened over five days between May 27-31, 2015 at three venues in South Mumbai – the iconic art deco Liberty Cinema, Alliance Francaise de Bombay and max Mueller Bhavan.
“The festival is not just a point of pride for the local LGBTQ community but has become an important cultural event in the calendar of Mumbai city. The large number of people who came to attend the festival only proves that many are keen to watch films related to LGBTQ themes,’’ said Festival Director Sridhar Rangayan.
The 6th edition of KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival was held from May 27th to 31st 2015 at Liberty Cinema, May 28th to 30th 2015 at Alliance Française de Bombay and May 29th to 30th 2015 at Max Mueller Bhavan. The theme for this year’s festival was `Reaching Out, Touching Hearts’.
KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival
Voted as one of the Top 5 LGBT Film Festival in the World, KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival is South Asia’s biggest queer film festival and the only LGBT film festival in India to be held in a mainstream theater.
Founded in 2010, it is the first Indian LGBT festival to be held with approval by the Information & Broadcasting Ministry, Government of India. KASHISH is organized by Solaris Pictures. Co-organizer is The Humsafar Trust.