Exploring sensitive issues

Queer festival

Exploring sensitive issues

The three-day Bangalore Queer Film Festival, concluded on a high note. It turned out to be an occasion for the members of the queer community living across the city to come together.

The festival featured 51 films from 21 countries which included film packages, feature films, short films and documentaries. The event also included plays, queer art and photography and interactive sessions that gave the audience an insight into the life of the members of the queer community.  

Among the films that were screened during the festival was ‘Free Fall’ by Stephan Lacant, which explored the emotions of a man who is caught between his family and lover. Another film called ‘A Boy needs a Friend’ by Steve Reinke, delved into friendship. ‘Reluctantly Queer’ by Akosua Adoma Owusu, portrayed the life of a young man struggling between his accepting his queer identity and love for his mother.

    Most of the films shown during the festival were handpicked by a jury, informed Joshua Muyiwa, co-director of the festival.

Joshua said, “We gave an open call to directors who wanted to send their films across and the preview committee picked those films that showcased queer life and tell queer stories from across the world. The idea of hosting such a festival was to not only  showcase the life of the queer community but also use it as an occasion to meet people who we normally don’t get to mingle with on normal days,” added Joshua.

    He said that this was a festival for the LGBT community from across the country. “We have had people coming in from across the country, including Chennai and Hyderabad. We are overwhelmed by the support,” he added. Joshua says that the festival is a community-funded event which is for, by and of the queer community.

Most of the films, performances and plays wove together experiences of those from the sexual minorities victimised and subjugated by the law, the family and society, as well as hopeful stories of youngsters who have bravely come out of the closet.

    Poorva Rajaram, another festival coordinator, said, “We don’t host such festivals to create a wave of sympathy among people but these events help to attract the attention of people towards issues associated with the LGBT community. We want to sensitise people about the community hoping that it will make a difference to
the way this community is treated.” 

The highlight of the festival was also a Kannada play titled, ‘Mohanaswamy’, presented by director-actor KSDL Chandru and his troupe. The play was a theatrical translation of Kannada writer Vasudhendra’s ‘Mohanaswamy’, a collection of short stories that narrated episodes from the life of a single man.

     “Gays and lesbians have always had to fight for their space and identity in society because people don’t want to accept members of the queer community. They are subject to discrimination and humiliated wherever they go. There are 30 actors who presented different emotions that members of this community go through,” said Chandru.

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