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LGBTQIA+ film fest opens today – Screening expressions of art

The 12th edition of KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival, South Asia’s biggest LGBTQIA+ film festival, will begin on August 19. A total of 221 films from 53 countries will be screened over 12 days during the virtual festival.
Writer-director and BAFTA nominee Ritesh Batra (Lunchbox, Photograph, Our Souls At Night), well-known Indian film director Gauri Shinde (English Vinglish, Dear Zindagi) and National Award-winning cinematographer Satya Rai Nagpaul (Aligarh, Alms Of The Blind Horse, The Fourth Direction) will join festival directors Cary Rajinder Sawhney (London Indian Film Festival) and Selvaggia Velo (River to River Florence Indian Film Festival) in judging the entries under the categories of Best Narrative Feature, Best Screenplay, Best Performance in a Lead Role, Best International Narrative Short and Best Indian Narrative Short.  
“Our lives are precarious once again; this time with a severity closer home like never before. Precarity is not new to a queer person. It is our constant companion, demonstrated daily by my trans sisters, mothers, trans brothers and lovers. I remind myself of this, as various institutions forsake us today. And I look to the civil society space which emerges once again to rejuvenate faith in our collective humanity,” said Satya, Director of Photography. “One such space is the KASHISH Film Festival, which has unrelentingly placed the queer life in the public domain. It is an honour to be a part of its 12th edition and as one of the Narrative Jury members, to have the opportunity to affirm, endorse and stake a claim to our collective queer lives.”
“We are extremely delighted, and super proud to have Satya Rai Nagpaul, such a highly accomplished cinematographer from the LGBTQIA+ community, as a jury member this year. His keen eye for cinematic details, and his in-depth understanding of the LGBTQIA+ community, was quite revealing in his jury process,” said festival director Sridhar Rangayan.
Talking about the event, filmmaker Ritesh Batra says, “In these challenging times, if all we can do is keep the flame of art and culture burning, that’s what we must do. Because art will reflect back on these times and art bears witness. I am very excited to be part of this amazing jury for this amazing festival.” “In times like these, where else can human expression and connection be felt more than through film or art? And this fest is special because it just is. The purpose, the philosophy itself is what makes it so. I am finally able to be part of this Jury and a part of a great team and am grateful for it,” said Gauri Shinde, Filmmaker.
The KASHISH QDrishti Film Grant, which has already facilitated production of five LGBTQIA+ short films, is now turning its focus specifically on the LGBTQIA+ filmmaking community.  
“These awards also offer encouragement to filmmakers who have made these films under challenging circumstances, sometimes in countries where being LGBTQ+ is still dangerous. These films are diverse and tell very unique stories, representing the entire LGBTQIA+ spectrum,” said Sridhar. A pre-jury panel comprising well-known writer Jyoti Kapoor (Good Newz, Badhai Ho, Daawat-e-Ishq), writer/director Charudutt Acharya (Sonali Cable, Vaastu Shastra, Dum Maro Dum, Nautanki Sala) and actor Avantika Akerkar (Four More Shots Please, Sense 8, Vagina Monologues) will shortlist five participants who will pitch their project to an eminent jury panel online.

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