Three-day queer film festival from today

The fifth edition of the Bangalore Queer Film Festival (BQFF) will be held between February 22 and 24 at Alliance Francaise in Vasanthnagar.

The annual event that screens select queer films from all over the world serves as a space for LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) concerns to be voiced through the medium of moving images.

The festival will also see an art exhibition, two nights of performances and a book launch.
Festival director Vinay Chandran said, “This year’s edition presents 55 films from 20 countries consisting of seven full-length feature films, 18 short fiction films, six short films, six experimental films and 18 documentaries. We are very excited by the quality and scope of this year’s festival. In the last five years, BQFF has grown exponentially. We are now an entrenched fixture in Bangalore’s yearly cultural calendar. Our films, photographs and performances try to push boundaries of understanding and we rigorously explore the mental, emotional and physical lives of those who stand outside the sexual norm.”

Outlining the line-up of films this year, festival co-organiser Nitya Vasudevan said the opening night would feature filmmaker Ira Sach’s ‘Keep the Lights On’, an emotionally charged story of love, life and art in New York City. “Other full-length features this year are Shoaib Mansoor’s ‘Bol’, which comes to us from Pakistan to tell us the story of a transgender protagonist, Zainab, as she awaits her death sentence; Malayalam music director M G Sreekumar’s debut production ‘Ardhanaari’, directed by Santhosh Sauparnika and starring renowned actor Manoj K Jayan; Richard Laxton’s BBC adaptation of Sarah Waters’ wartime lesbian novel ‘The Night Watch’ set in 1920s Britain; and finally, as our closing night film, the Filipino crime comedy drama ‘Mondomanila’ directed by independent filmmaker Khavn de la Cruz,” she said.

Documentaries include Oscar-nominated David France’s ‘How to Survive a Plague’, dealing with the heroic struggle of two groups, ACT UP and TAG, whose activism and innovation in 1980s and 90s USA turned Aids from a death sentence into a manageable condition; Katherine Fairfax Wright and Malika Zouhali-Worrall’s ‘Call Me Kuchu’, the heart-breaking story of the last year in the life of David Kato, Uganda’s first openly gay activist, before he was brutally murdered for the same reason; the Oscar-winning Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy’s documentary called ‘Transgenders: Pakistan’s Open Secret’.

Entry to the festival is free. More details are available at www.blrqueerfilmfest.com

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