KASHISH Forward – India’s first travelling campus queer film festival – is a series of one-day festival that would travel to campuses across India, aiming to reach out and create awareness about issues of the LGBT community.

The objective is to create an atmosphere of acceptance for queer students who would be grappling with issues of coming out in sometimes hostile environments and a society that is still to accept LGBT persons and a law (section 377) that is still to be overturned by the highest courts in India. The selected films will deal with discrimination, stereotyping of LGBT persons, homophobia, bullying, coming out, growing up, acceptance by family and offer a look into the lives of LGBT persons and stories from around the world.

The festival will also reach out to straight allies, faculty members so that a discussion around LGBT issues can be kick-started to create queer friendly campus that is sensitive to the issues of gender and gender identities.

The festival proposes to travel not just to the campuses in major metros like Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Kolkata and Chennai, but also smaller tier 2 cities, including Pune, Ahmedabad, Lucknow and Hyderabad.

KASHISH Forward screening at IIT-Bombay, 2014

KASHISH Forward travelling campus queer film festival proposes to organize a series of screenings of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) themed films at colleges for students and teachers. As a first phase of activities, we propose 12 screenings in a year.

Apart from screening of films, the students will have an opportunity to engage in informal / formal discussion with filmmakers and activists so that LGBT issues could be talked in a simple and honest way. This is essential to dispel myths and misconceptions as well as create awareness among students and faculty members.

This initiative also enables an environment of equality and dignity for (out or closeted) LGBT students in those colleges or universities by making their friends, peers and advisors more aware of LGBT lives in India and around the world.

KASHISH Forward travelling campus queer film festival will primarily focus on Students – graduate and post-graduate students of business schools, premiere technology institutes, film institutes, humanities & social sciences institutes, law colleges and arts, science and commerce universities.

KASHISH Forward screening at Wilson College, Mumbai, 2015
KASHISH Forward screening at Wilson College, Mumbai, 2015

The second target group are the faculty members – lecturers, professors, faculty counsellors – and also the administrative staff of the colleges.

KASHISH has facilitated screening at the following colleges in the past – Indian Institute of Technology – bombay (2014 and 2013), Wilson College, Mumbai (2015) and Tata Institute of Social Sciences (2012). These events have been hugely successful with the two-day screening at IIT attracting almost 400 students and faculty members.

Of late there has been a growing interest in talking about gender and sexuality at colleges and universities. KASHISH Forward intends to take this discussion ahead through the medium of cinema.

If your college / university is interested in hosting a KASHISH Forward event, do write to us at partners.kashish@gmail.com