The Chennai Queer Film Festival 2012 aimed to bring a fresh perspective to the way the LGBT community is looked at
The Goethe-Institut’s auditorium slowly filled up with people who’ve come to watch the Chennai Queer Film Festival 2012, organised by Orinam and Chennai Dost.
It was a floating crowd and there was a buzz of excitement in the room, as movie after movie was screened.
And after every screening, opinions were voiced and discussions held, to bring out the relevance of the films.
“We’ve been doing film screenings in Chennai for a while and always wanted to hold an event to showcase about 20 to 25 LGBT-themed films covering a vast range of issues,” says Vikranth Prasanna, founder, Chennai Dost.
“This is also to bust myths about our community, which have spread mainly due to the way films have portrayed us all these years. We want to make people understand who we really are and also to tell them we’re not objects of humour.”
The film festival, which took place during the weekend, showcased feature and short films from all over the globe, including Rites Of Passage, an American and Muro, a Spanish film.
There was an array of Indian films too — such as Amen, which talks about two men who meet over a dating site and go through a gamut of emotions before accepting their realities. The film is crisp, well-balanced, humorous and is a rather sensitive portrayal two different kinds of acceptance; of an openly gay man who gets over his childhood trauma and another, who learns to accept his sexuality on the eve of his engagement.
“We’ve had about 400-odd people come to the festival; the response was great. I even met a parent here who brought the son along so he can watch the films, listen to the discussions and learn to respect other sexes,” says Vikranth.
Ajay Sathyan, who was at the screening, was happy about the kind of films being screened. “We’ve never had a queer film festival here before and I’m glad someone organised it. I like the fact that they screened a lot of regional films because that makes it more personal and the stories revolve around people like us, in similar settings, allowing us to relate to and sympathise with them.”
Mr. and Mrs. Iyer, a film by Charukesh Sekar was one of the films that was screened and is based on a short story by blogger Lavanya Mohan. The short film looks at how a Tamil Brahmin family handles the heat when their son proposes to marry an ‘Iyengar’ boy.
“I wrote this story for my blog in November 2008, and it suddenly went up on Facebook notes, email forwards, other blogs. The director (Charukesh) saw it online and decided to make a movie out of it,” says Lavanya. “I wasn’t able to attend the film festival, but that said, I think it’s a great medium to spread awareness about the LGBT community in Chennai.”
“I wouldn’t say people who watched these films will immediately change their perspective,” says Vikranth. “But it’s a start.”