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Queer as Folk June 11, 2008

Posted by nitinkarani in Bisexual, English, Gay & Lesbian, Indian Express, Movies, Transgender.
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From The Indian Express, 10 June 2008:

Queer as Folk

Premankur Biswas

Posted online: Tuesday , June 10, 2008 at 02:32:32
Updated: Tuesday , June 10, 2008 at 02:32:32

The second edition of the LGBT film festival of Kolkata will appeal to a cross section of audience, promise the organisers In its second year the Annual Lesbian Gay Bisexual & Transgender (LGBT) Film & Video Festival of Kolkata may not boast of the glamour or scale of it’s more illustrious cousins like the New York or London LGBT film festivals, but it sure has managed to achieve something that took these iconic festivals years. “Even in our first year we managed to draw a sizable non-queer audience. In fact, it wouldn’t be presumptuous to state that film connoisseurs of Kolkata have an active interest in queer cinema,” states Anindya Hajra, member of Pratyay Gender Trust, one of the organisers of the festival.

The reason, explains Hajra, is Kolkata’s healthy interest in everything “cultural”. “Most viewers choose to view these films for their individual merits. The queer factor comes into the picture later,” he claims. But the organisers aren’t complaining. “ The idea is to create awareness and generate dialogue. It doesn’t matter if they come here just to view good cinema, as long as the films manage to touch them in some way,” states Hajra.

The festival, which will be held at Max Mueller Bhavan over this weekend, is a joint effort of Pratyay Gender Trust and Sappho for Equality. “Apart from some of the most important LGBT films from across the world, we also have an interesting section of Indian shorts, and videos from experimental, amateur and professional filmmakers from India. These shorts – ranging from 6 minutes to 35/ 40 minutes are the highlight of this year’s festival,” says Hajra.

The selection of films was done keeping in mind the discerning taste of the Kolkata audience. A bouquet of films, which explore the topic homosexuality in different cultures and situations, is to be presented to the audience. “ Our opening film is The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros, which is a coming-of-age tale of a Filipino youngster. It got 12 awards, including the best film award at the Berlin Film Festival,” says Hajra. The closing film of the festival is the acclaimed Cuban film, Strawberries & Chocolates (Fresa y Chocolate), which explores a complicated relationship between a gay dissident and a communist student in Cuba.

Film lovers will also get the opportunity to catch Wong Kar Wai’s Cannes Film Festival winner, Happy Together, which is hailed by many critics as his best.

The festival is on at Max Mueller Bhavan on from 14 to 15 June. For more details contact 9831518320 & 24292969.

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