Thursday, May 28, 2015

Sai Paranjpye and Celina Jaitly flag off Kashish 2015

6th edition of South Asia’s biggest LGBT film festival to screen 180 films from 44 countries... 
National award winning filmmaker Sai Paranjpye and actor and United Nations Equality champion Celina Jaitly on Wednesday May 27, 2015, flagged off the 6th edition of KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival – South Asia’s biggest and India’s only mainstream LGBT film festival. The festival’s theme this year is “Reaching Out, Touching hearts”, and will be held at three venues in South Mumbai – the iconic art deco Liberty Cinema and Alliance Francaise de Bombay at New Marine Lines and Max Mueller Bhavan at Kala Ghoda. The festival, held between May 27-31, 2015, will screen 180 films from 44 countries.

“What KASHISH stands for is something close to my heart. And that is – Freedom to Express,” said Sai Paranjpye, who lit the ceremonial lamp to declare the film festival open. “At a time when freedom of speech and expression is largely stifled, it is important that a festival like KASHISH stands up and makes a point of being out, open and driving home a message of equality and dignity, for everyone. It doesn’t matter what one’s sexuality is, what one’s religion, caste, ethnicity, age is, it is important that all of us have the right to being free citizens of this country and have the same rights as everyone, not just in India but in every country. We may all not be born equal, but everyone has a right to be treated equally,” added the filmmaker.

Celina Jaitly said that she had been associated with KASHISH since its debut in 2010 as its festival ambassador. “It is amazing how KASHISH has grown over the last six years firmly establishing itself as festival that champions the cause of equal rights,” said Celina Jaitly, who released the festival catalogue.

"It is indeed a proud moment that we are able to bring together yet another edition of KASHISH, sixth year in succession,’’ said Sridhar Rangayan, Festival Director. “Every year hundreds of people all over the world come together to make this festival happen - filmmakers, producers, distributors, sponsors, organizations, numerous individuals - everyone who believe that KASHISH is a powerful vehicle for upholding equality and dignity. It is indeed incredible that KASHISH has become this huge force that coalesces so many people into one iconic event,” added Rangayan.

KASHISH 2015 is organized by Solaris Pictures, and co organized by The Humsafar Trust (HST). “KASHISH has over the last six years managed to become the face of the LGBT community of Mumbai, along with the pride march,” said Ashok Row Kavi, chairman and founder of HST. “It is one of the first events organized by the community that has managed to mainstream the issues of LGBT persons.”

An eminent jury panel comprising filmmakers Anubhav Sinha and Chitra Palekar, national award winning filmmaker Aamir Bashir, columnist Malavika Sangghvi and popular television actor Meghna Malik will judge the winners in the seven film competition categories.

Acclaimed filmmaker Anupam Kher’s Actor Prepares has sponsored cash prizes for the three top competition categories at KASHISH – Rs 30,000 for the Best Narrative Feature Film, Rs 20,000 for the Best Indian Narrative Short film and Rs 20,000 for the Best Performance in a Lead Role. Wadia Movietone has instituted a cash award of Rs 15,000 for the Riyad Wadia Award for the Best Emerging Indian Filmmaker. Pond 5 will sponsor a cash prize of Rs 20,000 for the Best Documentary Feature. The other categories are Best Documentary Short and Best International Narrative Short film.

The festival is supported by MAC, IBM, Project Diva and Pehchan. A portion of the funds required for organizing the festival was crowdfunded.

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