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Mumbai queer film festival seeks crowd-funding

Free queer film festival Kashish is turning to crowd-funding to achieve it's vision of spreading better understanding of queer culture
Shot from crowd-funded movie I Am which was shown at last year's Kashish Mumbai International Queer Film Festival

India's most mainstream queer film festival, Kashish Mumbai International Queer Film Festival, is trying out the trend of social media generated crowd-funding for it's third festival.

Kashish, which means attraction or allurement in Urdu, runs from 23 to 27 May and all 120 films are shown for free to achieve the festival's vision of encouraging 'greater visibility of Indian and International queer cinema among both queer and mainstream audiences as a means to foster better understanding of queer thoughts, desires and expressions'.

Crowd-funding is gaining increasing popularity as a way of gathering money for everything from social projects to independent films without having to rely on big investors.

Festival co-director Sridhar Rangayan said: 'The idea for crowd funding Kashish was more of a necessity, because with no government support and not too many corporates yet enthused about supporting a queer event, we felt it was time to involve the community.'

'The film festival is a not-for-profit event and one of few festivals of its kind in the world that does not charge ticket prices or a registration fee,' Rangayan continued. 'We are committed to keep the festival free this year too and to achieve this we thought what better way than crowd-funding.'

Gay filmmaker Onir used crowd-funding for his last movie I Am, raising 10 million Indian Rupees ($200,771, €152,281) from around 400 people via Facebook and Twitter. He is using the same method for his next film about a low caste boy who falls in love with an upper caste girl. ‘I can’t see myself selling this script to a mainstream production house,’ Onir said. ‘So I decided to turn to the crowd for funds.’

Some independent filmmakers in Indonesia used crowd-funding to finish the post-production of their film about queer women in the country, raising $5,000 (US dollars, €3,799) and offering incentives like copies of the movie, soundtrack and seats at the films premiere at Berlin International Film Festival.

Contributors to the Kashish crowd-funding project will be rewarded with merchandise and reserved seats for special invite-only events during the festival.

Find out more about Kashish by reading an interview with co-director Pallav Patankar here.

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