10 Films You Need To Check Out At South Asia’s Biggest Queer Film Festival – KASHISH 2019

The 10th anniversary edition of South Asia’s biggest LGBTQ film festival – KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival – is upon us, and it promises to be more amazing than ever.

160 films from 43 countries will be screened at Liberty Carnival Cinemas and Metro INOX from June 12-16, under the theme "Over The Rainbow".

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160 films from 43 countries will be screened at Liberty Carnival Cinemas and Metro INOX from June 12-16, under the theme “Over The Rainbow”.

It can be a little daunting to choose from such a wide array of films, though, so festival director Sridhar Rangayan has personally picked a few notable ones that to get you started.

KASHISH MIQFF

“We love each and every film that we screen. They have been chosen from over 700 film submissions. My selection is based on my own personal reaction when I watched them for the first time, and hope my feelings resonate with KASHISH audiences. Of course I would urge you to check out all the other amazing fare in the program including fantastic short films,” Rangayan told BuzzFeed.

Here are Rangayan’s picks, in no particular order:

1. Just Friends

2018 / 80 minutes / Netherlands / Narrative FeatureDirector: Ellen Smit “A youthful fun romantic film with dollops of family drama that would appeal to all age groups. It also clearly underlines this year’s theme ‘Over the Rainbow’ by highlighting the need for LGBTQ children to be embraced by their families. A film about two gorgeous boys in love!”Opening Film – Wednesday, June 12, 9.30 p.m. (Liberty Carnival Cinemas)

KASHISH MIQFF

2018 / 80 minutes / Netherlands / Narrative Feature
Director: Ellen Smit

“A youthful fun romantic film with dollops of family drama that would appeal to all age groups. It also clearly underlines this year’s theme ‘Over the Rainbow’ by highlighting the need for LGBTQ children to be embraced by their families. A film about two gorgeous boys in love!”

Opening Film – Wednesday, June 12, 9.30 p.m. (Liberty Carnival Cinemas)

2. Until Porn Do Us Part (Até Que O Porno Nos Separe)

90 minutes / 2018 / Portugal / Documentary FeatureDirector: Jorge Pelicano“While the title is interesting, the film is even more interesting. Imagine an Indian mother who comes to know that her son is not only gay, but also a porn star. She will perhaps totally disown him. This Portuguese mom too almost does that, but she makes the journey of acceptance, slow and steady. A fantastic film that every parent should see.”In Competition – Thursday, June 13, 2:45 p.m. (Liberty Carnival Cinemas)

KASHISH MIQFF

90 minutes / 2018 / Portugal / Documentary Feature
Director: Jorge Pelicano

“While the title is interesting, the film is even more interesting. Imagine an Indian mother who comes to know that her son is not only gay, but also a porn star. She will perhaps totally disown him. This Portuguese mom too almost does that, but she makes the journey of acceptance, slow and steady. A fantastic film that every parent should see.”

In Competition – Thursday, June 13, 2:45 p.m. (Liberty Carnival Cinemas)

3. Rafiki

83 minutes / 2018 / Kenya / Narrative FeatureDirector: Wanuri Kahiu“A beautiful film that created a controversy in Kenya where it was initially banned, but won the hearts of audiences at every festival - winning awards and accolades. It missed the Oscar nomination in best foreign film category, but continues to wow all of us with its sensitive portrayal of two girls deeply in love.”Narrative Centrepiece – Friday, June 14, 5:45 p.m. (Liberty Carnival Cinemas)

83 minutes / 2018 / Kenya / Narrative Feature
Director: Wanuri Kahiu

“A beautiful film that created a controversy in Kenya where it was initially banned, but won the hearts of audiences at every festival – winning awards and accolades. It missed the Oscar nomination in best foreign film category, but continues to wow all of us with its sensitive portrayal of two girls deeply in love.”

Narrative Centrepiece – Friday, June 14, 5:45 p.m. (Liberty Carnival Cinemas)

4. Nagarkirtan

115 minutes / 2017 / India / Narrative FeatureDirector: Kaushik Ganguly“This is a cinematic journey that shouldn’t be missed by anyone – a touching love story between a flute player and a transgender woman. While many films glorify transgenders, this films sensitively highlights the travails of the community and shows up the moles and warts too. No wonder it won three National Awards – Best Actor, Best Make-Up, and the Special Jury Award for director Kaushik Ganguly”Narrative Centrepiece – Friday, June 14, 7:45 p.m. (Liberty Carnival Cinemas)

KASHISH MIQFF

115 minutes / 2017 / India / Narrative Feature
Director: Kaushik Ganguly

“This is a cinematic journey that shouldn’t be missed by anyone – a touching love story between a flute player and a transgender woman. While many films glorify transgenders, this films sensitively highlights the travails of the community and shows up the moles and warts too. No wonder it won three National Awards – Best Actor, Best Make-Up, and the Special Jury Award for director Kaushik Ganguly”

Narrative Centrepiece – Friday, June 14, 7:45 p.m. (Liberty Carnival Cinemas)

5. Kattumaran (Catamaran)

73 minutes / 2018 / India / Narrative FeatureDirector: Swarnavel Eswaran“A lyrical evocative film that stays with you long after you leave the theatre. Set in a small village that has been ravished by the tsunami, the love affair between two young girls is the flower that blooms anew. The day to day life when turned topsy turvy by circumstances and harsh truths is brilliantly portrayed by the actors.”In Competition – Saturday, June 15, 11:00 a.m. (Liberty Carnival Cinemas)

KASHISH MIQFF

73 minutes / 2018 / India / Narrative Feature
Director: Swarnavel Eswaran

“A lyrical evocative film that stays with you long after you leave the theatre. Set in a small village that has been ravished by the tsunami, the love affair between two young girls is the flower that blooms anew. The day to day life when turned topsy turvy by circumstances and harsh truths is brilliantly portrayed by the actors.”

In Competition – Saturday, June 15, 11:00 a.m. (Liberty Carnival Cinemas)

6. Call Her Ganda

87 minutes / 2018 / Philippines, USA / Documentary FeatureDirector: P.J. Raval“Homophobia is always lurking just a street away, and more so transphobia. Even to this day, and even in countries where all laws are in place and acceptance must be a given, the violence against and murders of transgender persons continue. This film is a stark reminder that much work needs to be done to ensure not only the rights, but even safety of LGBTQ persons.”In Competition – Saturday, June 15, 6:30 p.m. (Metro INOX)

KASHISH MIQFF

87 minutes / 2018 / Philippines, USA / Documentary Feature
Director: P.J. Raval

“Homophobia is always lurking just a street away, and more so transphobia. Even to this day, and even in countries where all laws are in place and acceptance must be a given, the violence against and murders of transgender persons continue. This film is a stark reminder that much work needs to be done to ensure not only the rights, but even safety of LGBTQ persons.”

In Competition – Saturday, June 15, 6:30 p.m. (Metro INOX)

7. Roobha

91 minutes / 2018 / Canada / Narrative FeatureDirector: Lenin M. Sivam“One rarely finds many films about the Global South in North American films, but this one is a gem that plays out the story of a Sri Lankan Tamil transgender person in Canada in love with a married man. The lead actor enchantingly captivates the dilemmas of a young trans person struggling with their sexuality.”In Competition – Saturday, June 15, 7:45 p.m. (Liberty Carnival Cinemas)

KASHISH MIQFF

91 minutes / 2018 / Canada / Narrative Feature
Director: Lenin M. Sivam

“One rarely finds many films about the Global South in North American films, but this one is a gem that plays out the story of a Sri Lankan Tamil transgender person in Canada in love with a married man. The lead actor enchantingly captivates the dilemmas of a young trans person struggling with their sexuality.”

In Competition – Saturday, June 15, 7:45 p.m. (Liberty Carnival Cinemas)

8. Sauvage

99 minutes / 2018 / France / Narrative FeatureDirector: Camille Vidal-Naquet“Most LGBTQ films play safe by romanticising same-sex love, or play around with family dramas. But this film cracks open the code and how. Avant garde, edgy, trippy, gripping, sexy, and of course, savage – I can go on. The mise-en-scene and the cinematography is excellent. But the lead actor, Félix Maritaud, takes it to another level with his performance. He also plays the lead in another film showing at KASHISH 2019 – Boys (Jonas) on June 14 at Liberty.”In Competition – Saturday, June 15, 10:00 p.m. (Liberty Carnival Cinemas)

KASHISH MIQFF

99 minutes / 2018 / France / Narrative Feature
Director: Camille Vidal-Naquet

“Most LGBTQ films play safe by romanticising same-sex love, or play around with family dramas. But this film cracks open the code and how. Avant garde, edgy, trippy, gripping, sexy, and of course, savage – I can go on. The mise-en-scene and the cinematography is excellent. But the lead actor, Félix Maritaud, takes it to another level with his performance. He also plays the lead in another film showing at KASHISH 2019 – Boys (Jonas) on June 14 at Liberty.”

In Competition – Saturday, June 15, 10:00 p.m. (Liberty Carnival Cinemas)

9. Boy Erased

115 minutes / 2018 / Australia, USA / Narrative FeatureDirector: Joel Edgerton“Starring Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor, this has been one of the most successful mainstream gay films to hit the screens last year. Nominated in two categories for the Golden Globes, and having won several awards across the world, this real life story of a pastor’s struggle with his son’s sexuality is a must-see for all audiences, and more so for every parent and family.”Pre-Closing Film – Sunday, June 16, 4:15 p.m. (Metro INOX)

Focus Features

115 minutes / 2018 / Australia, USA / Narrative Feature
Director: Joel Edgerton

“Starring Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor, this has been one of the most successful mainstream gay films to hit the screens last year. Nominated in two categories for the Golden Globes, and having won several awards across the world, this real life story of a pastor’s struggle with his son’s sexuality is a must-see for all audiences, and more so for every parent and family.”

Pre-Closing Film – Sunday, June 16, 4:15 p.m. (Metro INOX)

10. Njan Marykutty (I’m Marykutty)

126 minutes / 2018 / India / Narrative FeatureDirector: Ranjith Sankar"KASHISH is excited to present the first ever screening at a festival of this important film that has won Kerala State awards and hearts of its audiences when it was released recently. Starring the Malayalam star actor Jayasurya in the pivotal role of Marykutty, the film engages you with its heartfelt story of the stigma and discrimination faced by the protagonist. I think it's a great way to end the festival with a huge hope for the future, where every person is able to rise against the barriers and shine brightly.”Closing Film – Sunday, June 16, 9:30 p.m. (Liberty Carnival Cinemas)

KASHISH MIQFF

126 minutes / 2018 / India / Narrative Feature
Director: Ranjith Sankar

“KASHISH is excited to present the first ever screening at a festival of this important film that has won Kerala State awards and hearts of its audiences when it was released recently. Starring the Malayalam star actor Jayasurya in the pivotal role of Marykutty, the film engages you with its heartfelt story of the stigma and discrimination faced by the protagonist. I think it’s a great way to end the festival with a huge hope for the future, where every person is able to rise against the barriers and shine brightly.”

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