KASHISH 2024: Short documentaries to touch the soul

KASHISH 2024 opens with a screening of “Spirit of Ecstasy” at 9.00pm on Wednesday 15th May. After that, there will be a further 132 films being shown in 3 venues over 5 days. To jump straight to look at what films are showing where/when then go here: https://mumbaiqueerfest.com/k24-schedule-2024/

The importance of the festival is not to be underestimated. Just listen to director Rob Falconer, whose short documentary “Sleeping Dragon” will be showing on the first full day of KASHISH 2024, “Sridhar and Saagar have broken so many barriers down with this incredible international film festival – it’s way, way more than a film festival, it’s a cultural phenomenon.”

He also sees the online festival as a vital part of what this festival can accomplish. “I’m really hoping the online KASHISH version after the main festival continues. That’s crucial, and what makes KASHISH extra special, how you can really reach LGBTQIA+ people who may be isolated, huge distances away. Contact is everything. It’s what gives you the courage to step into the light as you,” extolls Rob.

Sharing stories

Whilst fiction tends to grab the headlines, and the Oscars, it is documentaries that try to encapsulate and distill the human experience in as honest a way as possible. No need for imagined theatrics because there is already enough human drama in the stories being told.

So, it is entirely fitting that after a first session of films entitled “Unfurl Your Pride” (the theme for this year’s festival) that next up is a selection of six short documentaries that have been brought together under the title of “Documentary Panorama”. These films form a package dedicated to the gritty realities, struggles, dreams, and victories of such indomitable people across the LGBTQIA+ spectrum from diverse cultures & ethnicities.

As you might expect, some of the films aren’t an easy watch, but sharing the stories of the people and places in these shorts brings home the strength of character that can be shown in the face of adversity. There is a lot to be learnt from seeing the stories from others and this selection is well worth catching if you can make it to Liberty Cinema in Mumbai on the morning of 16th May.

Documentary Panorama
Thu May 16, 11.00 AM, Liberty Cinema
79 mins 6 films

19 min | 2023 | Belgium | Dutch, English, Georgian
Director: Andres Lübbert

Emzo, escaped persecution in Georgia five years ago, finding refuge in Belgium. This short documentary captures his unyielding commitment to the LGBTQ+ cause, showcasing the indomitable spirit of one individual’s fight for acceptance and equality.

12 min | 2023 | UK | English
Director: Rob Falconer

The death in May 2023 of George Hodson, artist, writer and long-term HIV/AIDS survivor, leaves a legacy of inspiration, unique visual art and unforgettable writing, drawn from direct experience. Surviving HIV/AIDS for some 45 years, cancer, loss, stigma, alienating family bigotry and racism, for some of the Queer Elder generation like George, triple combination therapy threw a lifeline that also became a lifetime of onward challenge.

18 min | 2023 | USA | English
Director: Mike Syers

Urvashi Vaid, an outspoken immigrant, lesbian and woman of color, was an LGBTQ+ superhero who helped shape the modern day gay rights movement. Her vision for the movement serves as a roadmap of initiatives & tools for generations of activist as they face anti-LGBTQ+ backlash.

20 min | 2024 | India | English, Marathi, Hindi
Director: Suhit Bombaywala

An inspiring account of a café in Mumbai, staffed and owned by trans people. How it thrives not only to become a profitable business, but also helps in reducing transphobia in its locality.

CITY OF MIRAGE (La Main Gauche)
5 min | 2023 | India | English
Directors: Anjani Chadha, Niv

A series of conversations with Pratik, a genderfluid, tribal person from Assam who moved to Mumbai two years ago to pursue a Master’s degree and moved back to their village earlier this year. The film reflects the lessons learnt while they lived their life in a metropolis, and how they navigated their queerness in a crowded city like Mumbai.

5 min | 2023 | India | English, Hindi
Director: Harsh Shamal Matondkar

A brief video profile of Zoya Lobo, India’s first transgender photojournalist.

Voted as one of the Top 5 LGBTQIA+ Film Festivals in the world, KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival is South Asia’s biggest queer film Festival and the first LGBTQIA+ film festival in India to be held in a mainstream theatre.

Founded in 2010 and held every year for the past seven years the festival has grown from strength to strength. KASHISH attracts close to 8500 footfalls every year over its five day festival. It is the first Indian LGBTQIA+ festival to be held with the approval of the Information & Broadcasting ministry, Government of India.

The festival also attracts topline Bollywood celebrities, filmmakers, critics and academicians from India as well as many international guests from across the world.

For more information go to: https://mumbaiqueerfest.com/

Jonathan has a varied history, having written for publications such as Asian Woman but also technical magazines such as Networking+. He also has a background in IT so he's been instrumental in the technical side of getting Global Indian Stories launched. As co-founder, he also keeps writing, sub-editing, and handling the social media.