THE BANGALORE QUEER FILM FESTIVAL 2017
From the deranged bed-desks of the organisers
With every edition of the Bangalore Queer Film Festival, we’ve stretched ourselves to bring together films that confuse, clarify and confirm the many edges of our fabulous lives. At the 9th edition of BQFF, hosted along with our long-standing collaborators, the Alliance Franҫaise de Bangalore (AFB) and the Goethe-Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan (GI/MMB), we present 54 films from over 15 countries, including France, Belgium, Israel, USA, UK, Japan, Australia, Canada, Romania, Portugal, Ghana, Spain, Ireland, Italy, Brazil and South Africa; glorious performances, art work and photography; and for the first time, a full-length play!
In 2017 The Bangalore Queer Festival Trust was set up as an independent entity that will work solely for the festival in the years to come, starting with the 10th Anniversay splash in 2019! We hope you will all stay with as collaborators, supporters, film lovers, performers and just generally a marvellously ragtag bunch of travellers in the future!
To give you a quick recap of last year’s festival, BQFF 2017 (24-26 February 2017) was held at Alliance Française de Bangalore and the Goethe-Institut /Max Mueller Bhavan. We were thrilled to include a retrospective of the films and videos of Trinidad-born Canada-based artist and writer Richard Fung, who visited the festival. Fung has a long history of making challenging videos on subjects ranging from the role of the Asian male in gay pornography to colonialism, immigration, racism, homophobia and AIDS.
BQFF 2017 also included the highest number of Indian features, shorts and documentaries the festival has ever screened. The opening feature, Natasha Mendonca’s Ajeeb Aashiq, followed the story of Khush (a working class transgender man) and Suman (a Bollywood singer), and blurred the boundaries between art and politics. The audience fell in love with the scrappy and resourceful kids in Prithvi Konanur’s Railway Children. We were also entranced by the spell cast by Velutha Rathrikal (White Nights, Razi Muhammed), a film that glistened in the moonlight as it told us the story of Chelly, Jyothi and Manu. Ananya Kasaravalli’s subtle Harikatha Prasanga was a touching tale of the life of Hari, a Yakshagana artist who performs female roles and exists within the interstices of gender identity.
The festival also included films from regions that have till now been underrepresented in our festival and in other events. Santa Khurai and Siddharth Haobijam’s The Unheard Voice was a film that evoked the history of the Nupa Amaibi, Manpuri priestesses of the Sanamahi tradition . Oh My Soul! (Kivini Shohe) followed the steps of three young men-who have-sex-with-men (MSMs) in Dimapur, the commercial hub of Nagaland.
BQFF is not only about films but also provides space for queer artists, performers and photographers to share their work. Our photo exhibition in 2017, curated by Akshay Mahajan and Joshua Muyiwa, brought us illustrations by Jen Uman and photography by Kannagi Khanna and Karolina Gembara. The exhibition also featured Chan Arun Narendra’s subtle series Self portrait of a transman: Archiving the subtexts of inhabiting homes, and a showcase of artwork from The Gaysi Zine. The festival was also proud to host the play Mohanaswamy, based on Kannada writer Vasudhendra’s collection of short stories and directed by KSDL Chandru.
If you’ve never been on the maĴresses before, get ready to sprawl this year! Hope you’ll see and enjoy everything – and most importantly, have the most amazing three days at BQFF! What you wearing?