The first LGBTI film to get a child friendly rating in India will make history and screen on Emirates Airlines.
Evening Shadows tells the story of a young man in southern India who comes out to his mom. In early 2018, the classification board in India gave it a child-friendly rating. This happened while India still criminalized homosexuality.
But the Evening Shadows has made history again, becoming the first LGBTI-themed independent film to hit the in-flight entertainment circuit.
‘It is exhilarating to have a gay themed film on an airline in-flight entertainment, and it is perhaps the first for an Indian LGBTQ film,’ director Sridhar Rangayan told Gay Star News.
‘It helps reach our film across the skies. Emirates Airline is a progressive airlines and we are happy to have our film screened as part of the New Bollywood releases. It definitely shows that our film… is a true family film.’
The news is all the more historic because any sex outside of marriage – especially same-sex relations – is heavily criminalized in the United Arab Emirates – home to Emirates Airlines.
The UAE criminalizes same-sex activity with punishments ranging from prison, flogging, death, or deportation.
Evening Shadows has also swept up a swag of awards at film festivals around the world and screens on Netflix.
It recently won the audience award for Best International Feature at the Romania LGBTQ film festival. This tookits tally of awards to 17 audience and jury awards. Producers said this is also a historic breakthrough.
Evening Shadows will also feature in the prestigious exhibition celebrating 100 years of LGBTI cinema titled ‘Champs d’Amours’ in Paris.
‘The reactions have been phenomenal – continuously people have been sending feedback on Twitter, Google, Facebook,’ Rangayan said.
‘Everyone who is watching it on Netflix across the world, and now on airlines too, have expressed their resonance with the heartwarming story.’
He added: ‘What is important is it is giving hope to LGBTQ persons to come out to their families. It also is helping change social attitudes towards LGBTQ persons, one viewer at a time.’
‘It is important to have mainstream platforms like these to reach out a film like this beyond just the LGBTQ community, and also to a wider world,’ Rangayan said.
The director added another ‘heartening’ aspect of the film is that funds from the film help set up a parents’ support group for LGBTQ children ‘Sweeekar – The Rainbow Parents’.
‘As part of its outreach, is doing really well with more than 60 parents being part of the group,’ Rangayan said.
‘These parents from Mumbai, Delhi, Pune, New York and Auckland are continuously in touch with each other, building each other’s confidence and also helping new parents through peer counseling.’