KASHISH is organized by Solaris Pictures. Co-organizer is The Humsafar Trust.
Solaris Pictures is an Indian media house that believes in ‘Advotainment’ – advocacy with entertainment. As a film production company it has consistently been making films on issues such as LGBT rights; films that engage the audience and initiate dialogues on issues dealing with health and sexuality, human rights, and the LGBT community. Previous productions include: The Pink Mirror, which has won two Best Film awards, and has screened at over 72 festivals; 68 Pages which has won multiple awards and has had 120 screenings across the world; and Project Bolo, the iconic Indian LGBT Oral History Project.
Solaris Pictures believes in pushing the envelope – both as producer and as distributor, and in partnering with grassroots NGOs and CBOs in India, and international collaborators from around the world. Solaris Pictures is not only producing films, but also distributing short films and documentaries of other queer filmmakers in order to encourage such endeavors that address underserved issues.
To strengthen and share this engagement with society, Solaris Pictures organizes two pathbreaking film festivals – FLASHPOINT Human Rights Film Festival and KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival, that have become important events on Mumbai’s cultural calendar over the past 4 years.
The Humsafar Trust (HST), started in 1994, is a community based organisation of self-identified Gay men, Transgender, Hijras and LBT persons. The organization works on issues of sexuality, gender, health and human rights through four thematic ideas: health, advocacy, research and capacity building of sexual minority groups.
HST actively promotes for LGBT rights. Its Street and Internet outreach and Condom distribution programmes encourage safer sex practices. Bombay Dost, which is India’s first registered LGBT magazine, continues to reach out to the queer community on a global scale. Yaariyan, a youth initiative to nurture young queer talent provides direction to HST future activities. Umang, a support group for Lesbian, Bisexual women and Female to male Transgender individuals makes efforts to reach out and give a voice to the LBT community in Mumbai
HST services include Community Workshops every Friday and Sunday High events to connect with the community. It has a library of Queer book and film resources. HST offers free and confidential face-to-face counselling services with qualified psychiatrists/psychologists on issues of sexuality and gender/coming out/marriage pressure/relationship/family counselling/ spouse disclosure and health (STIS and HIV). Counselling services can also be accessed via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
HST clinics offer free and confidential health advice from qualified doctors for STI and HIV at its six STI Clinics and one Integrated Counselling and Testing Centre. Continuum of care, support and treatment services for HIV positive MSM and transgender individuals is provided through Sanjeevani, a support group of people living with HIV along with Nutrition Counselling on healthy food habits
HST Crisis management cell offers legal assistance and support to address violence, harassment and discrimination of the LGBT communities.
It's been a great experience attending KASHISH Mumbai Queer Film Festival. It's such an exciting festival with dedicated audience. The volunteers are full of energy, motivated, working hard and always there to help with a sincere smile. The festival is also a reliable platform for Indian queer films and has a big potential to be on of the important film festivals in Asia.
It was a great time meeting local filmmakers, tasting some authentic food and generally understanding more about being LGBT in India. I've always believed that we live in a global village where most experiences are shared - but I also like diversity, that’s what I enjoyed during my time at KASHISH.
Film Festivals such as KASHISH must be protected and nurtured. Because it is a niche within the niche of film festivals. I am happy to be part of the jury of a festival of cinema that celebrates diversity and makes spaces for difference.
It is lovely to be here. I wish KASHISH goes from strength to strength and scale to scale.
KASHISH provides an insight into the lives of a marginalised community and offers a platform to bring them into the mainstream. KASHISH is an annual cultural event in Mumbai.
I was stuck by the sheer enthusiasm, commitment and dedication of Kashish team and I hope the festival grows and goes from strength to strength. Kashish is a wonderful platform to celebrate diversity and also to educate people about the issues faced by the LGBT community.
I am very happy to be associated with Kashish for the second year as its ambassador. Kashish is a great platform to uphold human rights and dignity for all, which is what i strongly believe in too. Kashish is a celebration of the equality of all human emotions irrespective of sex, creed, race and culture.
Cinema has no boundaries, cinema is meant to break barriers and KASHISH is a wonderful attempt to provide a mainstream platform for the LGBT community which is relegated to the margins. If films can be made on zero budget, like I have seen in KASHISH, then I would not be surprised if some more money could produce a blockbuster.