Country Focus: Canada

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KASHISH celebrates Canadian films with the largest program ever under its Country Focus package – 22 films.

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Winter Kept Us Warm


Every year KASHISH highlights a country to be its Country Focus and programs a select package of films from that country. In previous years, Israel, France and China have been Country Focus at KASHISH. This year it is Canada.

Canada has frequently been referred to as one of the most gay friendly countries in the world, with large cities Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Ottawa featuring their own gay villages. Canada was one of the earliest countries to legalize same-sex relationships, way back in 1969, and has had strong anti-discrimination laws in place since
1989. On July 20, 2005, Canada became the fourth country in the world, and the first country outside Europe, to legalize same-sex marriages nationwide with the enactment of the Civil Marriage Act which provided a gender-neutral definition of marriage.

There are currently six members of the House of Commons and one senator who openly identify as gay or lesbian. Also the curriculum of public schools,particularly in British Columbia, are now being amended to incorporate LGBT topics.

KASHISH celebrates and salutes this wonderfully LGBT supportive country with the largest program ever under its Country Focus package – 22 films, including nine feature films! The package offers an inside view of the diversity of LGBT experiences.

Opening the Country Focus program is the black and white film, Winter Kept Us Warm by Davis Sector, made in 1965 and one of the earliest films to deal with same-sex love and desire between two men. This campus romance holds an important place in the history of independent Canadian film making as the first English language Canadian film ever screened at the Cannes Film Festival. Three lesbian-themed features - Margarita, Tru Love and Lesbiana- A Parallel Revolution (documentary) focus on relationships between people of diverse backgrounds and cultures. Seek by debutant director Eric Henry goes into the underbelly of Canadian nightlife of clubs and parties to seek out an impossible love affair.

The festival this year also celebrates the multitalented Canadian actor, writer, producer and director Charlie David with a spotlight on three of the films he has been involved with - Mulligans (2008), Judas Kiss (2011) acted and produced by him and his directorial debut documentary, Positive Youth (2012). One of the interesting films in the country focus package is the documentary by Mark Kenneth Woods, Outspoken: Is The Village Dying? which underlines why an LGBT ‘village’is not necessary anymore since mainstream acceptance and integration of LGBT persons is complete in Canada and there is no need for a separate ghetto for the community.

There is also a handpicked selection of queer short films from contemporary Canada. Rounding off the Canadian program is the Closing Night Film of this year’s festival, John Apple Jack – a frothy, funny film about inter-racial relationships by renowned Canadian director, Monika Mitchell and award winning writer/ theatre producer Rick Tae.

We are proud and privileged that the Canadian program this year is supported by several Canadian organizations and establishments – GayDirect, Concordia University, and the Consulate of Canada in India.

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