In the hope that people identify the ‘other’ perspective of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Inter-sex community (LGBTI), curators Smriti Nevatia and Sophie Parisse started putting their thoughts into action. Queer Nazaria — International LGBTI Film festival is an outcome of their labour to make us look at the world from the ‘queer’ viewpoint.
Nevatia says, “The unspoken assumption, reinforced by books, films, advertising and social customs, is that only two genders exist in our world and only one kind of sexual desire is acceptable.”
Last year’s Delhi High Court judgment generated public interest in LGBTI issues. So it was felt that it made sense to have this festival to reach out to the queer communities and everyone else,”
The festival has entries from 13 countries apart from a curated package of films from South Africa. She continues, “Sophie knew about the Out in Africa festival and had been in touch with its director, Nodi Murphy. In 1994, South Africa passed the legislation upholding the rights of people with different sexual orientations, which has parallels with our own Delhi High Court judgment.” So the duo felt that it would be interesting to have a package of queer films from there.
Unlike other festivals, the curators of this festival did not go about inviting entries. “We sourced films from established queer festival websites, and asked filmmaker and activist friends for suggestions. We also looked for films from various countries and cultures, not just Western Europe, USA and Canada. We’ve got 49 films that will be screened at the festival,” Nevatia informs.
She also reveals that organisations in the city, such as LABIA, Gay Bombay, L Lounge and Humsafar Trust, continually screen films on homosexuality and that there have been a few festivals before.
“There’s no vast difference from the earlier similar festivals, except that we have more recent films. Perhaps, the two things special to Queer Nazariya are the focus on South Africa and a relatively large number of films that explore transgender concerns,” Nevatia says.
The festival will also display photo art by Kabi, memorabilia from last year’s Queer Azadi March, and an installation from LABIA. Nevatia feels that a festival like this calls for a celebratory atmosphere, which photo exhibits and installations help to create.
“Other festivals like the Nigah Queer Fest in Delhi, have been doing this too,” she mentions. The festival could be turned into an annual event if it generates enough audience interest, she promises.