Looking Back at KASHISH 2012

In its third year KASHISH grew bigger much beyond expectations.  In 2012, the festival received 300 entries from around the world out of which 120 films from 30 countries were short-listed. Around 25 % of the films that was screened were from India, including four regional feature films.

 The theme for KASHISH 2012 was `For Everyone’ and screened films not only meant for the LGBT community, but also for their families and friends. In addition to KASHISH Coffee Break Online Competition which had a global reach, the festival also started a Poster Design competition judged by celebrated fashion designer Wendell Rodricks.

 Among the celebrities who graced KASHISH 2012 were popular Bollywood actor Anupam Kher, Oscar winner Resul Pookutty, yesteryear actress Moushumi Chatterjee and celebrities like Suchitra Pillai, Ananth Mahadevan, Liliput and Laxmi Narayan Tripathi.

 While, for the first time KASHISH raised a part of funds through Crowdfunding, ensuring community participation and reach; this year also saw support from corporate sponsors like Barclays, Nomura, Godrej (Heroes project), TimeOut alongwith title sponsor DKT India who have been supporting KASHISH for two years.


KASHISH 2012 Highlights

* KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival 2012 was organized from May 23 to May 27, 2012 simultaneously at two venues – Cinemax, Versova, a mainstream cinema multiplex in North Mumbai and Alliance Française in South Mumbai.

* 1200 delegates registered before the festival and there were 400 on the spot registrations at the venues. The festival saw an average of 72% seating turnout with a staggering 7200 number of tickets issued. There were 11 houseful shows.

* The pre-festival press conference was flagged off by national award winning director Shyam Benegal, who is the Festival Patron, and special guest Sarita Joshi, veteran theatre and television actress.

 * The opening and closing ceremonies, sponsored by Barclays and Godrej (Heroes Project) respectively, were star studded affairs with yesteryear Bollywood actress Moushumi Chatterjee, National award winning filmmaker Sai Paranjpye, noted actor Anupam Kher and Oscar winner Resul Pookutty gracing the occasions.

* The opening night film was the Oscar winning film ‘The Beginners’ from the USA, while the closing film was `Weekend' from the United Kingdom.

* The festival screened 120 films from 30 countries over five days at two venues in 50 program slots. The programming consisted of 23 narrative features, 27 documentary features and 54 shorts.

* KASHISH screened a record number of feature films – 23 features. These features, both narrative and documentaries, cover the entire gamut of queer experiences – from rom coms to musicals to engaging dramas to hard hitting real life stories.

 * One of the biggest surprises of this year’s KASHISH is the Indian Focus of Regional Films with four queer feature films from India in four languages - Marathi, Punjabi, Tamil/ Kannada and Hindi -all dealing with Hijra and transgender characters, but from totally different perspectives.

 * Filmmaker in Focus was leading Hollywood gay filmmaker Rob Williams, who was present at the festival as a special guest. KASHISH 2012 showcased three of his feature films and one short film.

 * Popular shorts packages like Girl Shorts (a mix of lesbian themed shorts), Rainbow Warriors (about queer people who have made a difference), Indian Masala Mix (exciting shorts by young Indian filmmakers) and Red Ribbon package (films on HIV/AIDS) were screened. There were several new packages like Urban Longings (about meetings and departings in a city), Unfair Games (homophobia in sports), Family Ties (about queer person and their families), We The Queers (celebrating queer persons who have made a difference), Hooked On You (rom-coms), Crossed Paths (dark short films) and Best of Iris (award winning short films from our partner festival Iris Prize, UK).

* For the first time a package of animation shorts titled QToons was screened.

 * The Country Focus was France. The festival screened two highly acclaimed French Features Gigola directed by Laure Charpentier and Le Fil directed by Mehdi Ben Attia. The Country Focus also includes a short film package: FRENCH RENDEZVOUS with six short films portraying Contemporary French Queer Cinema.

 * The five member jury comprised of well known Bollywood actors Renuka Shahane, Parvin Dabas, theatre actor-producer Mahabanoo Mody Kotwal, theatre-television actor Mona Ambegaonkar and noted film critic Mayank Shekhar.

 * Awards were given to Best Narrative Feature, Best Documentary Feature, Best International Narrative Short, Best Indian Narrative Short and Riyad Wadia Award for Best Emerging Indian Filmmaker. Total cash prizes of $800 were handed out to the winners as well as sponsored 2-day HD shooting packages for three filmmakers.

 * The KASHISH Coffee Break Online competition was hosted by Indieflix, a US film distribution platform. 10 films from all over the world under 10mins competed for the award that was decided by online voting and ratings. The winner received a trophy and sponsored 2-day HD shooting package.

 * Host of celebrities - Actors, Actresses, Directors, Playwrights, Theater Personalities, Festival Curators, Academicians – participated in the festival and lent their experience, expertise and glamour quotient to the festival media coverage.

 * For the first time during the film festival, KASHISH also presented an art exhibition at Cinemax - Celebrating the lost art of Bollywood Billboards with a `queer twist’.

* There were two panel discussions `Playing Safe: Talking about Safe Sex, HIV/AIDS through popular media', sponsored by DKT India and `The Pink Screen: Breaking the glass ceiling for queer portrayals in popular Indian cinema', sponsored by Nomoura.

 * Two new events were added this year: KASHISH Konversations - Face-to-Face with Hollywood filmmaker Rob Williams conducted by one of India’s leading film critics and film curators Meenakshi Shedde; an Open House with emerging filmmakers; and a Book Reading Writing Queer! Readings from ‘Out!’ – a new anthology of LGBT stories from India.

 * Several Indian and international filmmakers attended the film festival, on their own, from USA, UK, France, Australia, Thailand as well as other cities like Bangalore, New Delhi, Chennai, etc.

* Media coverage of the festival was extensive with all major English language publications covering the festival. For the first time, KASHISH was covered in several regional language newspapers with articles in Hindi, Gujarati & Marathi.