Trans and non-binary filmmakers, actors of India win big at 15th KASHISH Pride Film Festival

KASHISH. Photo courtesy: PR Team

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Mumbai/IBNS-CMEDIA: The 15th edition of KASHISH Pride Film Festival came to an end after five days of film screenings at three venues across Mumbai, where the festival screened 133 films from 46 countries.

The grand finale and award ceremony had celebrities like Sonali Kulkarni, Sheeba Chaddha, Sayani Gupta, Shweta Basu Prasad and Dolly Thakore gracing the event. The festival gave away Rs.7,80,000 as cash awards to winning filmmakers, actors and screenplay writers in 11 categories, making it the largest cash prize in any South Asian LGBTQ film festival.

Sridhar Rangayan, festival director, said, “We are delighted by the response to the festival by audiences who surged and thronged the three venues and greatly appreciated the awesome cinematic fare we had programmed. There were 10 films by transgender & non-binary filmmakers from across the world.

“It is even more heartening that the jury members in different categories have awarded films made by transgender and non-binary filmmakers or actors, recognizing their true worth, not just for their identity, but the quality of their films or performances.”

Indian transgender and non-binary filmmakers and actors won several awards for their films – Samyuktha Vijayan, a transgender filmmaker & actress won the Best Performance in a lead role for her leading part as Aravind/Bhanu in the feature film Blue Sunshine, directed by her; transgender filmmaker & actress Bonita Rajpurohit won the Riyad Wadia Award for Best Emerging Indian Filmmaker for her short film IYKYK, as well as special mention for Ismat Chughtai Award for Best Indian Woman Filmmaker, and also won a special mention as actress in the same film.

Non-binary filmmaker Edythe won the inaugural Aditya Nanda Award for Best Indian Film on Mental Health for their short film Sifar; non-binary filmmaker Leo Pappam won the Best Documentary Short award for their film Dear Sahitya, and non-binary  filmmaker Abu Sohel Khondekar won special mention for Riyad Wadia Award for Best Emerging Indian Filmmaker for their short film Mehroon.

Indian Filmmaker for their short film Mehroon.

Samyuktha Vijayan, director and lead actor of Blue Sunshine “When I made Blue Sunshine, I never thought it would receive such acceptance and recognition worldwide.

“To win an award for best performance at KASHISH is icing on the cake. I thank my wonderful team whose efforts helped me make the movie. I thank KASHISH for their relentless support to amplify queer voices. Thank you so much!”

The Narrative Jury comprised award winning director and producer Kiran Rao, popular actor Barun Sobti, and award winning actress Sonali Kulkarni.

The Documentary Jury comprised 3 times National Award winning filmmaker Kavita Bahl, award winning filmmaker Pushpendra Singh, and 2 time National Award winning director Shilpi Gulati. The Student Short Jury comprised filmmaker and academician Abhijit Majumdar, screenwriter Gazal Dhaliwal, and National Award winning actress Shweta Basu Prasad.

The Riyad Wadia Award Jury consisted of advertising professional Nargis Wadia and communication & advocacy expert Roy Wadia. The Ismat Chughtai Award Jury was composed of filmmaker & actor Ashish Sawhny. The KASHISH QDrishti Film Grant Jury comprised Oscar nominated filmmaker Amit Masurkar, screenwriter Atika Chohan, and award winning actor Joy Sengupta.

While the French film “You Promised Me The Sea” won the best narrative feature award, and the Brazilian film Neirud by won the best documentary film, Night Queen directed by Naireeta Dasgupta won the Best Indian narrative short award. MASC4MASC by Felix Greisinger and Poisoned Well by Radek Sevcik were joint winners for Best Student Short award; the Best Screenplay award went to Peter Ahlén and Jakob Holtet Stridbæk for the Danish short film The Wake.

Priyank Gangwani, the lead actor of Gujarati feature film Kaatla Curry was given an audience award for best performance for his brave portrayal of a married homosexual man.

Our award partners are Lotus Visual Productions and Renuka Shahane for KASHISH QDrishti Film Grant, K.F.Patil Charitable Trust for Unity in Diversity Best Documentary Feature & Best Documentary Short, Wadia Movietone for Riyad Wadia Award for Best Emerging Indian Filmmaker, Whistling Woods International for Best Student Short, Samruddhi Studios for Best Performance in a Lead Role, GagaOOLala for Best International Narrative Short and Best APQFFA Award, Keshav Suri Foundation for Aditya Nanda Award for Best Indian on mental Health, Ashish Sawhny for Riyad Wadia Award for Best Indian Woman Filmmaker and Abhay Kulkarni for Best Screenplay.

IMDb is collaborating this year with KASHISH pride Film Festival to provide free IMDbPro memberships for a year to all winning Indian filmmakers & cast members.  Warner Bro. Discovery is collaborating to acquire a few Indian documentary films for their Discovery+ channel.

(Photo courtesy: PR Team)