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The star studded opening at Liberty Cinema had stylist and founder and creative director of Bblunt Adhuna Bhabani, filmmakers Shonali Bose and Arunaraje Patil, theatre actor Dolly Thakore, and eminent KASHISH 2017 jury of Screenwriter Anjum Rajabali, actor Lubna Salim, TV Producer and writer Vinta Nanda, editor Jabeen Merchant, Roy Wadia of Wadia Movietone and writer Aseem Chhabra walk the red carpet.
"I am happy to be part of a festival like Kashish Mumbai International Queer Film Festival as it brings together cinema from all over the globe for a relevant, important cause. The LGBTQ community needs a voice and support, and cinema is the most powerful medium to reach out to people. I think they have put together a fabulous line up of films," said Arjun Kapoor.
Arjun Kapoor and Nisaba Godrej along with Festival Director Sridhar Rangayan and gay activist and Humsafar Trust chairperson Ashok Row Kavi lit the ceremonial lamp.
Nisaba Godrej said: "We are so very proud to partner the 8th KASHISH festival. Movies are one of the best mediums to tell stories, touch hearts and open our minds. We at Godrej believe that we are all equal and building a diverse and inclusive workforce is of utmost importance to us. We love and support the LGBTQ community not just because it is the right thing to do. Great talent is the key to our success and our individual capabilities are only determined by our attitude and hard work not by our gender, caste or sexuality."
An elated Sridhar Rangayan, festival director, said, “This year’s programming is unique and diverse, encompassing LGBTQ diversity from across the world as well as racial and ethnic diversity in the films that are being screened.”
“Several new countries debut in this year’s KASHISH, including films from Armenia, Nigeria, Kosovo, Rwanda, UAE, Trinidad & Tobago and Aruba! Being South Asia’s biggest LGBT Film Festival we have made a concerted effort to program films from Asia, South Asia and Asia Pacific.
“We hope to live up to this year’s theme, ‘Diverse, One’ bridging all barriers and making it one of the most memorable events of Mumbai,” said Rangayan.
This year the festival will also screen an increased number of feature-length narrative films, more than any other year.
The Festival will screen 147 films from 45 countries, that reflect the diversity of the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer communities, at two venues in South Mumbai – the city’s iconic art deco theatre Liberty Cinema and Alliance de Francaise.
This year’s festival theme is “Diverse, One” and explores the diversity of the LGBTQ communities.
Skybags and Godrej Industries are Principal Partners of the festival.
IBM, Whistling Woods International and the Canada Consul General are Supporting Partners.
Of the 147 films, 51 films will compete at KASHISH 2017 for South Asia’s largest cash prize for an LGBTQ film festival totaling Rs 2.25 lakhs.
The top cash awards sponsored by Anupam Kher’s Actor Prepares, K F Patil Charitable Trust, Whistling Woods International, Wadia Movietone and Lotus Visual.
KASHISH MIQFF was the first LGBTQ film fest in India to receive clearance from the India’s Information and Broadcasting Ministry, when it debuted in 2010.
Commenting on the association, Radhika Piramal, Vice Chairperson – V.I.P Industries Ltd had said, “We are happy to associate with KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival; it’s a great initiative that spreads much needed awareness about the LGBT community. Films are a powerful medium to influence and bring about a positive change in the society. We are happy to lend our support to this initiative as it not just a festival but it’s a place to learn and become more aware. As an out lesbian, I am proud to be part of the LGBT community in India and support greater visibility of our community through this important film festival”.
The opening ceremony was followed by the screening of the opening film Signature Move, directed by Jennifer Reed and starring Shabana Azmi.
Acclaimed Indian gay road drama LOEV will be the closing film on May 28, 2017.