Culture

South Asia’s Largest Queer Film Festival is Back This Month With Larger Cash Prizes

The festival’s logo for this year. Credit: Kashish Mumbai International Queer Film Festival

This year’s Kashish Mumbai International Queer Film Festival, South Asia’s largest LGBTQ film festival, will now have the largest amount of prize money for LGBTQ films in South Asia.

The festival, which will be held from May 24-28 this year, will feature 147 films from 45 countries. Forty-three of these films will compete for a cash award of Rs 2.2 lakhs in a total of eight categories.

The prize money for various categories will be sponsored by actor Anupam Kher, Whistling Woods International, Shri K.F. Charitable Trust, Wadia Movietone and Lotus Visual.

Kher, who will sponsor the cash awards for Best Narrative Feature (Rs 30,000), Best Indian Short Film (Rs 20,000) and Best Actor in a Leading Role (Rs 15,000), was quoted in the festival’s press release as saying, “I am heartened to see Kashish growing year by year, providing a fantastic platform for independent queer cinema, bringing together films and offering a bridge to many cultures around the world. Actor Prepares is committed to nurturing talent and we are delighted to continue our support, for the fourth year, to three of the awards at the festival.”

The festival’s director Sridhar Rangayan said, “We have been really trying hard to up the value we bring to the independent filmmakers who put in so much of effort to make LGBTQ films across the world. We are truly delighted by the support we have received from individuals and organisations to nurture talent. Kashish is happy to spread rainbow sunshine among the film making community.”

The president of Whistling Woods International, Meghna Ghai Puri, also voiced her support for the festival, “Love is universal and it is fantastic to have a festival that celebrates love from the point of view of the individuals belonging to the LGBT community. We need more platforms like this, which not only promotes cinema but also unearths some truly unique talents every year. This year, we have taken our association further by sponsoring the Best Student Film Award. It adds another layer to our objective of partnering with KASHISH, which is to encourage young students to express themselves through the power of cinema.”

The newly launched Best Student Short Film award of Rs 15,000 will be sponsored by the school this year and LGBTQ short films made by students from film and media schools will be eligible for the competition.

The festival will take place at two venues in South Mumbai, the iconic art deco theatre Liberty Cinema and Alliance Francaise.