Fifty-eight films from across the world, a photo and art exhibition, and other performances over three days will keep audiences enraptured at the ninth edition of the Bangalore Queer Film Festival (BQFF).
To be held between February 24 to 26, the highlight of the film festival will be regional films that have been contributed from various places across India.
"This year we have a lot more contribution from within the region. It is unusual because when we began we had very few regional films from India. We’ve got good content from the region and we could pick and choose this time," says Namita, one of the organisers of BQFF.
"These films are of substantial quality, are well made and produced and are breaking formats of film making and what it means to be queer," Namita adds.
There's Natasha Mendonca’s docu-fiction film "Ajeeb Aashiq" which revolves around Khush, a stylish transgender rickshaw driver in Mumbai, and Suman, a singer and a passenger. As Khush drives Suman around for her performances and Bollywood trysts, the film takes viewers on a journey of betrayal, complex friendships and unrequited love. "Ajeeb Aashiq" was also screened at the 2016 International Film Festival at Rotterdam.
There's "The Unheard Voice", a film made by a trans woman in collaboration with another person, from Manipur. "It is special because not many people from the community are privileged enough to make films,” says Namita.
And debutante director Ananya Kasarvalli's Kannada film "Harikatha Prasanga" or Chronicles Of Hari which raises questions about an artist’s gender identity.
Muhammad Razi’s Malayalam film "Velutha Rathrikal" or White Nights, an adaptation of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s story, is also on the list. Set in Attappadi in Kerala, the film is said to be arguably India’s first serious film about bisexuality.
Read Ashley Tellis's piece here: Velutha Rathrikal: This Malayalam film set in tribal Kerala will make you rethink bisexuality
Films from over two dozen countries including Belgium, South Africa, Portugal, Romania will be screened at the BQFF. There will also be other sessions like poetry-reading, singing and lip syncing.
"We love cinema. We are queer. And we have put both these together. We are doing this to give people a space to be together and have fun. Show them stories of people who could have similar or even more complex lives than them. This can be reassuring," Namita says.
A play adapted from "Mohanaswamy", a novel about a gay person living in contemporary India, by Kannada author Vasudhendra will be performed on Saturday.
"Films have the ability to show how different people live their lives. Because there are so many ways of telling stories, it (films) doesn't reduce it (an issue) to one narrative, like perhaps activism or media does by reducing it to one logic of acceptance or non acceptance. Lives are far more messier and complex," Nitin, another organiser, says.
As for the audience, the organisers say that they don't have to worry about it much as they always run to packed houses. However, BQFF is a free-entry festival and like all other years, this time too the organisers are relying on community funding to meet the event's expenses.
You too can contribute on their online campaign on Ketto.