50 films to compete for top awards at KASHISH 2019, Cash prizes of Rs 3.95 lakhs to be given to winners

South Asia’s biggest LGBTQ film festival to screen 160 films from 43 countries; Top awards sponsored by Anupam Kher’s Actor Prepares, Lotus Visual, Whistling Woods International, GagaOOLala, K F Patil Charitable Trust, Wadia Movietone and India’s top fashion designer Wendell Rodricks.

50 Indian and International LGBTQ films will compete for awards at the 10th edition of KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival to be held between June 12-16, 2019. The festival will hand out cash prizes of Rs 3.95 lakhs in 10 film categories and for the best poster design. The awards are sponsored by Anupam Kher’s Actor Prepares, Lotus Visual, Whistling Woods International, GagaOOLala, K F Patil Charitable Trust, Wadia Movietone and India’s top fashion designer Wendell Rodricks. KASHISH 2019 – South Asia’s biggest LGBTQ film festival – will be held at two iconic theatres in Mumbai – Liberty Carnival Cinemas and Metro INOX and will screen 160 films from 43 countries, including 31 Indian LGBTQ films. The theme of the festival this year is “Over the Rainbow”.

Online registrations are open on BookMyShow : http://bit.ly/Kashish10

“KASHISH celebrates its 10th year with the highest cash bounty ever – Rs.3.95 lakhs in total in 10 categories! We are thankful to several companies, organizations and individuals who have come forward to sponsor the awards. It is a great encouragement to filmmakers who have made these films under challenging circumstances; sometimes in countries where being LGBTQ is still dangerous. What is more important is that apart from cash awards, the festival has also signed a deal for distribution of some of the award winning films. This is a great step forward for KASHISH in promoting and nurturing LGBTQ cinema”, said Sridhar Rangayan, festival director.

Noted actor Anupam Kher whose Actor Prepares studio is sponsoring 3 of the top awards, said, “Congratulations to KASHISH on its 10th anniversary. Actor Prepares continues its support to this initiative by sponsoring the top awards as we share a common vision of inclusion, diversity and providing a mainstream platform for independent filmmakers”. Anupam Kher’s Actor Prepares sponsors Best Narrative Feature, Best Indian Narrative Short and Best Performance in a Lead Role.


Raising the bar for the 10th year, Lotus Visual, sponsor of QDrishti Film Grant doubled it to 2 lakhs. “We at Lotus Visual, congratulate the KASHISH Festival on 10 years of their unwavering endeavour to provide encouragement and a platform for filmmakers, especially from South Asia, allowing them to fearlessly voice their opinions and activism, through their creations. While Indian mainstream cinema is now treading carefully in the Queer arena in a post Article 377 India, KASHISH has been blazing trails for years in championing acceptance, dignity and equality for the Queer community in the face of insurmountable odds. Here is to more exciting collaborations between both our organizations for decades to follow and the success of Queer cinema in forging alliances and building stronger ties between communities”, said Neeraj from Lotus Visual.


The Riyad Wadia Award for Best Emerging Indian Filmmaker, is instituted in memory of late filmmaker Riyad Wadia, who made India’s first gay film BOMgAY. Indian narrative and documentary short films that are the filmmaker’s first or second film completed after January 1, 2018 compete for this award that carries cash award of Rs.20,000 sponsored by Wadia Movietone


This year KASHISH starts a new collaboration which not only offers cash award to the Best International Short Film, but also offers it distribution on the unique Taiwanese LGBTQ OTT platform GagaOOLala. “It is an honor to support this award for the next three years. Short films are the perfect vehicle for young and experienced filmmakers to showcase their talent and find their voice. We want to help queer Indian directors find their audience, and with this partnership their films will be now on GagaOOLala, available to be streamed in more than 20 countries around Asia”, said Jay Lin, founder of GagaOOLala, sponsor of the Best International Narrative Short Award.


The Unity in Diversity Documentary Feature and Short Awards encourage bringing to screen real life stories, with awards sponsored by K.F. Patil Charitable Trust. “Discrimination is a human man-made phenomenon and it is against the very principle of nature which celebrates diversity. Unfortunately society does not and every voice that calls for freedom and inclusivity is important. KASHISH is one such voice standing for freedom and acceptance for a group of people all over the world who have been marginalised simply because of their sexual orientation. The K.F. Patil Charitable Trust which stands for Unity in Diversity is proud to associated with KASHISH which through the medium of a film festival informs, educates and shares with people the agonies and ecstasies of these people. The documentary awards instituted by the Trust are a token of our appreciation for KASHISH and for the filmmakers to carry the message forward to thousands of people”, said National award winning filmmaker Arunaraje Patil, who is the Chairperson of K.F. Patil Charitable Trust.


Meghna Ghai Puri, President, Whistling Woods International said, “As the KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival celebrates its 10th anniversary, we feel proud to continue our alliance with this one-of-a-kind initiative. This platform offers a wonderful opportunity to aspiring filmmakers to tell their stories, while also creating awareness and sharing the lives and perspective of the LGBTQ community in a sensitive yet artistic manner. KASHISH and platforms like these use cinema as a powerful tool to bring people together and we as an institute for film, communication and creative arts feel privileged to sponsor the Best Student Film Award, third time in a row.”

Another first this year is the award for Best Screenplay. “Awards are not just about prize money or trophy, it’s an appreciation and respect given to the qualitative hard work of a writer and creator. I wanted to institute an award for best writing in memory of my late father Dr. Arvind Waman Kulkarni, who was a well-known Poet and Writer in Marathi literature, and thought KASHISH is the best platform for this award, and its 10th anniversary the right time to announce this award. KASHISH has always believed in quality, and this best screenplay award is for quality. My best wishes to Team KASHISH”, said actor Abhay Kulkarni who has instituted this award.


Tejas Shah, Managing Director of Accord Equips, which sponsors free 2-day HD shooting kit to winners in some of the categories, said, “Accord Equips aims to create a genderless film society, full of equal opportunities. We are pleased to strengthen our association with KASHISH, who is at the forefront of achieving this dream. We are sure that in the times to come KASHISH will continue to achieve greater glory given the commitment of its organizers.”