KASHISH logo - JPEGIndia: Asia’s and India’s biggest LGBT film festival has turned to social media and crowd funding to raise finances.

Organizers of Kashish Mumbai International Queer Film Festival said this was done to give audience a feeling of ownership and deepen their engagement with the festival.

This will be its fifth edition and scheduled to run May 22-25 in Mumbai, the major center of Indian cinema.

This year the festival made use of two platforms for its crowd funding campaign. It engaged with Indiegogo to seek support from Indians and other South Asians who live abroad and also tied up with Wishberry for support from people across India.

Incentives for supporters include shout out on the festival’s Facebook page, DVDs, special seats and passes to the exclusive invite only red carpet opening party.

“We are seeing a very enthusiastic response from our South Asian friends in US and Europe who believe in the objective of Kashish to create awareness and initiate dialogue about LGBT issues on a mainstream platform,” said festival director Sridhar Rangayan.

The theme for Kashish 2014 is “Dare to dream” as a salute to the “undying spirit of the Indian queer community” whose struggle for equality suffered a huge setback when the Supreme Court recriminalized same-sex relations.

The Supreme Court in December chose to retain the Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code reversing a lower court’s 2009 verdict decriminalizing the British colonial-era law that defines same-sex relations as “unnatural” and punishable by up to life imprisonment.

Kashish supporters said their contribution was to connect with the LGBT rights movement in India.

“Visibility is the single most important aspect of activism for gay rights. What better way to be visible than through movies,” said Nitin Kale, Associate Professor of Engineering at University of Southern California,  who along with his partner were one of the first few contributors on Indiegogo.

Filmmaker Nasha Gagnebin, who lives in Switzerland and is an overseas Indian citizen, said he supports Kashish because it promotes values such as “knowledge, inclusiveness, fundamental rights and individual freedoms through cinema.”

Hrishikesh Satawane, a contributor from the US said he was “delighted” to see India come a long way from his time when he barely heard of the word “gay” growing up in the 70s and 80s in a remote part of India.

Another supporter from Netherlands said he was glad to help  because he wished  the Indian  LGBT community gets the same “rights to live” as every other citizen.

Kashish means attraction or allurement. It is the first and only LGBT film festival to get permission from Indian government’s information and broadcasting ministry to hold such an event at a mainstream venue.

It is billed as Asia’s and India’s biggest LGBT film festival. It was recently voted by moviemaker.com as one of the top five LGBT film festivals in the world and was the only one from Asia.

Source: webnewswire.com