KASHISH 2021: Latin American films win big at a grand online award ceremony

The awards for the 12th edition of KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival, South Asia’s biggest LGBTQI film festival, were announced at a glittering online Closing and Awards Ceremony on September 5 which also featured performances by LGBTQ+ community members and allies like popstar Shalmali & dancer, choreographer Sandip Soparrkar.

The Chilean film Forgotten Roads (by Nicol Ruiz) won the Best Narrative Feature film, the Argentinian film Canela (by Cecilia del Valle) won the Best Documentary film, and young Brazilian trans actress Maria Eduardo Mia won the Best Performance in a Lead Role (for her role in Advent of Mary).

“Latin American films are exquisite since they have a certain filmmaking aesthetics that is raw and palpable, and convey complex emotion with a simplicity that is unique.  We are thrilled and congratulate all the winners spread across three continents, most of who went against all odds and faced many challenges to tell these beautiful stories. We are very happy that the jury chose stories that are not only diverse in their ethnicity, but also in the LGBTQIA+ communities they represent,” said Sridhar Rangayan, founder festival director. 

The winners in the Indian categories are Are We There Yet? by Bhanu Ballal & Kashyap Swaroop as Best Indian Narrative Shorts and Radhika Prasidhha won the Riyad Wadia Award for the Best Emerging Indian Filmmaker for her film Begum Parvathi. Receiving special jury mentions are Kirnay Bhatt’s Keep Punching in the Indian Narrative Shorts category and Swati Jaiswal’s Nothing But A Human in the Documentary Shorts category.

Scene from the film Are We There Yet? by Bhanu Ballal and Kashyap Swaroop as Best Indian Narrative Shorts

Kashyap Swaroop, director of Are We There Yet? said, “This is a small film with a big heart and what makes us continue to do this is the love that we receive from different film festivals and jury members, so super grateful to the jury for choosing our movie.” The film’s co-director Bhanu Babbal added, “I would really like to thank the jury and KASHISH for giving us this platform and opportunity. This really motivates us and boosts our confidence a lot.”

The other awardees include Cypriot film The Man With The Answers (by Stelios Kammitsis) for Best Narrative Screenplay, the Macedonian film Snake (by Andrej Volkashin) for Best International Narrative Short, the Portugal/USA  film Tracing Utopia (by (Nick Tyson & Catarina de Sousa) for Best Documentary Short, and the Israeli film On A Path (by Lihi Lubetkin) for Best Student Short.

Special jury mentions include the UK film Rebel Dykes (by Harri Shanahan & Siân A. Williams) in the Documentary Feature category, the Pakistani film Stray Dogs Come Out At Night (by Humza Bangash) in the International Narrative Shorts category, and the French film Today (by Francis Chillet) in the Student Shorts category.

Forgotten Roads, by Nicol Riuz, director of the Chilean winning feature

“I am full of happiness because our stories could connect with you from the other side of the world. It fills me with hope to know that we can connect, based on love and compassion, and speak about freedom in kindness. I want to thank the jury and the audience, and share a big hug from Chile,” said Nicol Riuz, director of the winning feature Forgotten Roads, a heartwarming film about two elderly woman falling in love in small Chilean countryside.

“I want to thank the jury members, and my mom who always trusts me, and all the other people who can trust me when I cannot trust myself. This is one more step in my career, and in my life, and this will always be in my heart,” said Maria Eduarda Maia, after winning the best actor for her role of a transgender youth in Advent of Mary, directed by Vinicius Machado.

“I had started with a very desperate and selfish reason, which is that as an actor I want to play characters that instill the sense of hope in me in the world around me. Even though we started with something so personal, the film however is much larger than that initial spark. I would like to thank KASHISH 2021 for creating this amazing platform, and the jury for instituting this prestigious award that supports and encourages debut filmmakers telling queer stories,” said Radhika Prasidhha for winning the Riyad Wadia Award for Best Emerging Indian Filmmaker.

The super eminent jury members who announced the award winners were Ritesh Batra, Gauri Shinde, Satya Rai Nagpaul, Cary Sawhney & Selvaggia Velo (Narrative Jury); Bina Paul, Gargi Sen & Nandan Saxena (Documentary Jury); Dr. Anjali Monteiro, Ketki Pandit & Viveck Vaswani (Student Shorts Jury); Jerome Marrel (Poster Design  Contest) and Roy Wadia (Riyad Wadia Award).

Canela, directed by Cecilia del Valle from Argentina, won Best Documentary Feature

Also winner of the KASHISH QDrishti Film Grant 2021 was announced jury members Robin Bhatt, Renuka Shahane, Urmi Juvekar and Neeraj Churi.

The festival partners were Morgan Stanley, IBM, General Mills, Consulate General of Canada, the Québec Government Office in Mumbai, AtEase, Consulate General of Sweden, Consulate General of the Kingdom of Belgium in Mumbai, Embassy of Israel, and Danish Cultural Institute.

The award partners were Lotus Visual Productions, K.F.Patil Charitable Trust, Anticlock Films, Wadia Movietone, Whistling Woods International, Abhay Kulkani and Jerome Marrel.

 KASHISH 2021 screened 221 LGBTQIA+ films from 53 countries out of which 55 films were in competition. The festival that was kicked off on August 19th with a glittering opening ceremony featuring Renil Abraham and Sohinimoksha, concluded on Sept 5th with the award function with Shalmali’s performance. A special feature of the closing ceremony was also a festival team song   ‘Let’s All Unlock With Pride’.

Information about the entire festival can be found at http://mumbaiqueerfest.com

List of Winners:

Best Narrative Feature – Forgotten Roads, directed by Nicol Ruiz (Chile)

Best Documentary Feature – Canela, directed by Cecilia del Valle (Argentina)

Best Performance in a Lead Role – Maria Eduardo Mia, for the film Advent of Mary (Brazil)

Best Screenplay – The Man With The Answers, written by Stelios Kammitsis (Cyprus, Greece, Italy)

Best Indian Narrative Short – Are We There Yet? directed by Bhanu Ballal & Kashyap Swaroop

Riyad Wadia Award for Best Emerging Indian Filmmaker – Radhika Prasidhha for the film Begum Parvathi

Best International Narrative Short – Snake directed by Andrej Volkashin (Macedonia)

Best Documentary Short – Tracing Utopia directed by Nick Tyson & Catarina de Sousa (Portugal/USA)

Best Student Short – On A Path by Lihi Lubetkin (Israel)

List of Special Jury Mentions

Documentary Feature – Rebel Dykes directed by Harri Shanahan & Siân A. Williams (UK)

Documentary Short – Nothing But A Human directed by Swati Jaiswal (India)

Indian Narrative Short – Keep Punching directed by Kirnay Bhatt (India)

International Narrative Shorts – Stray Dogs Come Out At Night directed by Humza Bangash (Pakistan)

Student Shorts – Today directed by Francis Chillet (France)

Global Indian Stories team

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