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by Editorial Desk May 12 2024, 12:00 am Estimated Reading Time: 3 mins, 34 secs

Where the Rainbow Unfurled: KASHISH Pride Film Festival 2024 reveals its stunning festival trailer and interacts with the Advisory Board and Jury Members, reports the #Newsdesk.

The 15th edition of the KASHISH Pride Film Festival held its press conference on 8th May 2024 at the Mumbai Press Club inviting the press and media from across the city as well as guests and the esteemed jury members.

Four short films Sanai by Akanccha Karki (Nepal), Mehroon by Abu Sohel Khanekar (India), The Gray’s by Mohsin (Iran), and DL Guy by Chad Zemel (US) were screened for the attendees to get a glimpse of what is in store at the festival. The festival is scheduled between the 15th – 19th of May and will take place across prominent locations in the city – Liberty Cinema (Marine Lines), Alliance Française & Cinepolis (Andheri West).

Aaron D’souza – Head of Operations, KASHISH introduced the festival and the transition from “KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival” to “KASHISH Pride Film Festival” with the intention of expanding the festival across the country and not limit it to Mumbai alone. The festival’s logo was unveiled by the Festival Director, Sridhar Rangayan, which included the transgender colours as well as the BIPOC colours that highlights the inclusivity of people of colour. This was designed by Inderjit Nagi and Syed Ali Arif.

Saagar Gupta, Director Of Programming for the festival listed down the number of films from across the globe and also shared his experience of watching these diverse films, which moved him.

133 films from 46 countries across categories of documentaries, narrative films will be showcased during the 5 day film festival. The new additions to the festival this year is the Asia Pacific Queer Film Festival Alliance Award with a cash prize of USD 1000 supported by GagaOOLala, along with the Keshav Suri Foundation awarding the best Indian film on mental health.  Ten films at KASHISH 2024 are directed by transgender filmmakers (trans-men, transwomen and non-binary folx), this year.

The films at KASHISH will focus on the stigmas around the queer community and look through a sensitive lens around their narratives.

For the next half of the evening, the Advisory Board members Arunaraje Patil, Dolly Thakore and Vivek Vaswani were present to talk about their experiences of being a part of the KASHISH's journey over the years.

Arunaraje added, “KASHISH is now like a family and I feel this (festival) was much needed”. She feels cinema and lives are intertwined and that’s how the audience can relate to characters on the screen. Dolly Thakore shared a little anecdote, back when Deepa Mehta’s Fire starring Shabana Azmi and Nandita Das was released, of getting held up by the police for reviewing the film, which she now laughs about. Vivek Vaswani, actor, producer and faculty of Pearl Academy, said, “It’s not just a festival but it’s the community”.  According to him KASHISH is synonymous with a strong voice thanks to Sridhar Rangayan and Saagar Gupta’s vision as well as consistent efforts.

The next segments had the Narrative, Documentary and Student Shorts Jury sharing their learnings and takeaways after making tough choices across various categories of films.

Kiran Rao and Sonali Kulkarni, Narrative Jury Members, spoke about how powerful the stories were and how similar issues and themes spanned across all films despite coming from different countries. Documentary Jury Members, Kavita Bahl and Shilpi Gulati, mentioned how the films were  an “eye opener” and eventually with time the gaze has been normalised in queer films, making it furthermore inclusive and sensitive.

Lastly, the Student Shorts Jury, Abhijit Mazumdar and Shweta Basu Prasad, were surprised and thrilled by the technical and mature storytelling of the films, which “didn’t look like Student films”. The connection with the films and filmmakers got stronger when for Mazumdar the core psychological issues addressed in these films with context to the society were identifiable.

The press conference was interspersed with questions and interactions with the Jury Members and the media. The press conference of KASHISH Pride Film festival 2024 was concluded with a group picture of all the Jury Members & the Festival team.

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