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THE BANGALORE QUEER FILM FESTIVAL 2015

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BQFF 2015 featured over 55 films from 22 countries, including France, Belgium, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Australia, Iran, Slovenia, Russia, India, Germany, Finland, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, USA, UK, Por- tugal, Spain, Myanmar, Fiji, Taiwan and China. We opened with a bang, thrusting Cheryl Dunye’s lesbian romp Mommy is Coming at an audience that was then thrown into a frenzy. The Centre Piece featured two films – Robin Campillo’s Eastern Boys, a sinister yet empathetic story of Muller and young ‘Eastern boy’ Marek; and Çağla Zencirci and Guillaume Giovanetti’s Noor, a story of a heart-broken khusra who wants to be a man again and find love again. Our Closing Night showcased Joaquim Pinto’s surreal and evocative E-Agora? Lembra-Me (What Now? Remind Me), about the filmmaker looking back on his life while undergoing experimental drug treatment for HIV. The women-lovers in the audience sighed over Violette, a period film that fictionalises the relationship that between Violette Leduc and Simone de Beauvoir. And last but not least, our first full-length Indian experimental film which premiered at the BQFF – Moloy Mukherjee’s Amar Bhavna Kintu Dur Holona  (Messy Forever), an indescribable play of image, identity and narrative.

Besides our big features, the line-up offered rare treats like probing short film XYX; Naomi Fearn’s irreverent music video Sock Puppet; Raju Rage’s image narrative on being a trans migrant, Project/ed: ‘cut your coat according to your cloth’; BQFF favourite Chase Joynt’s Stealth; the enchanting Saatvin Khwahish; Anurupa Prakash’s Will This Change?, on the lives of transgender and gay communities in Bangladesh; He Xiaopei and Yuan Yuan’s funny and endearing Our Marriages: When Lesbians Marry Gay Men; and the Michael Liu’s Magic.

Last year, for the first time, the festival included screenings organised by the Alliance Française de Bangalore, showcasing 8 films as part of BQFF. The festival also included two curated sets of films sent to us by the Goethe Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan: The Berlinale short film package and the Dresden short film package. We are delighted that the AFB and the GI/MMB have organised screenings for us again this year!

Our festival regulars know that films are only one part of what BQFF brings you. 2015 also showcased queer performances and a photo exhibition. The piano stylings of Khiyanur Vallikad and the floor-splitting number of the Pink Divas took the stage with crowds awaiting them. But we also featured new performers who gave us the classical dance styles of Kuchipudi and Odissi, the oomph of the belly-dance, and the beat of the latest Bollywood numbers. The photo exhibition last year included a curated exhibition of illustrations by Nilofer, a selection of printed and video works by performance artist Tsohil Bhatia, and a collaborative photo work by photographer Shilpa Raj and model Striana.