From prejudice to acceptance: KASHISH 2015 Centerpiece Films
Four films on diverse themes like prejudice, human rights violations and acceptance take centerstage as Centerpiece Films at the 6th KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival. These films, among the 180 films from 44 countries to be screened at South Asia’s biggest and India’s only mainstream LGBTQ film fest, address issues which are both political and personal. The festival will be held between May 27-31, 2015, at three venues in South Mumbai – the city’s iconic art deco Liberty Cinema, Alliance Francaise de Bombay at New Marine Lines and Max Mueller Bhavan at Kala Ghoda.
Festival Director Sridhar Rangayan says, “The reason these four films are being highlighted as Centerpiece Films is because they resonate with this year’s theme ‘Reaching Out, Touching Hearts’. The films are about acceptance of diversity – whether it is about ethnicity, age, gender, sex and sexual orientation – by society, families, friends and most importantly the ones we love.”
While the documentary film Alex & Ali is a real life love story about two men – an American and an Iranian – separated for three decades and then reuniting, the other documentary centerpiece No Easy Walk To Freedom traces the human rights violations due to Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code.
Malachi Leopold, director of Alex & Ali says, “While the story of Alex & Ali is devastating, it represents the realities faced by most LGBT individuals around the world – individuals who are depending on our courage to shine a spotlight on injustice, and to continue the fight for equality. As Gandhi stated, first they ignore you, then they mock you, then they fight you, then you win. I believe that in this civil rights struggle, true love wins.”
Canadian filmmaker Nancy Nicol who shot extensively in India for No Easy walk To Freedom says, “For me personally, making the film has been a profound journey and a wonderful opportunity to document this important movement for human rights and social justice. The film resonates with audiences internationally, particularly in the Caribbean and in Africa where it has been shown, and where similar legal restrictions exist and the lessons of the Indian movement are most relevant and important”, and adds, “I am very excited to present No Easy Walk To Freedom at KASHISH, for its first public screening in India.”
The two narrative centerpiece films Boy Meets Girl (USA) and Qissa (India) have their own takes on gender conformity. While the American film is a funny romantic comedy that highlights society’s prejudices, the Indian film is a dark family drama that exposes our families’ obsession about having a male child.
Eric Schaffer, director of Boy Meets Girl says “I’m passionate about breaking the mold of sexual and emotional convention in the pursuit of creating more unity in our increasingly fractured world.”
Anup Singh, director of Qissa in a special message sent to the festival says, “I am delighted that Qissa will be screened as part of the KASHISH 2015 as in many ways the film mirrors the festival’s vision. As the film’s title suggests, Qissa is about stories. Each one of us, I believe, is a multiplicity of stories. But, often we allow our prejudices and bigotry to trap us into championing one story against another, believing that only ours is the true tale. Qissa attempts to show that this only leads to bitterness, violence and a loss that could empty us of all our humanity. The film, then, like the KASHISH Film Festival, seeks to open every tale to another one, encouraging multiple points of view instead of entrapping us in just one way of looking at the world.”
CENTERPIECE NARRATIVE FEATURE
Qissa: The Tale of a Lonely Ghost
Dir. Anup Singh /109’/ 2013 / India, Germany, France, The Netherlands
Set in 1947, Qissa explores a range of themes — patriarchal mindset in rural India, female foeticide, society’s infatuation with gender, dysfunctional familial bonds, identity, the consequences of Partition, even the afterlife.
(Fri, May 29, 8.30 PM, Liberty Cinema)
Boy Meets Girl
Dir. Eric Schaeffer / 94’ / 2014 / USA
A funny, tender, romantic comedy that explores what it means to be a man or woman in love, and how important it is to live a courageous life not letting fear stand in the way of going after your dreams.
(Sun, May 31, 2.30 PM, Liberty Cinema)
CENTERPIECE DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Alex & Ali
Dir. Malachi Leopold / 88 min / 2014 / USA, Turkey
Two lovers, an American and an Iranian, meet after 35 years of separation. Set against Istanbul’s beauty and collision of East-meets-West, the camera follows their love story as their best-laid plans are turned upside down, revealing emotionally painful twists and turns that transform both of their lives forever.
(Thu, May 28, 4.15 PM, Liberty Cinema)
No Easy Walk To Freedom
Dir. Nancy Nicol / 92 min / 2014 / Canada, India
Filmed in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Lucknow and rural India, and told through the voices of lawyers, activists and community leaders, No Easy Walk to Freedom exposes human rights violations perpetrated under the law and documents the growth of queer organizing in India in the context of this historic battle to overturn a colonial-era law.
(Sat, May 30, 4.15 PM, Liberty Cinema)