What started as a small attempt to screen films on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) themes, has grown into a full-fledged film festival with a space for performance, discussion and dialogue on LGBT themes.

The Bangalore Queer Film Festival (BQFF) enters its third year this February, and brings to audiences films from across the world: 53 films from 14 countries to be exact.

With nine full-length features, 28 short films, four experimental films, eight short documentaries and five full-length documentaries, BQFF 2011 is spread over three days, between February 25 and 27, at the Alliance Francaise, Bangalore.

The festival begins at 9.30 a.m. on all three days and goes on till about 10 p.m.

The festival is a mix of critically acclaimed films, amateur efforts and experimental work that attempts to understand the mental, physical and emotional lives of those who stand outside the sexual norm.

Opening night features Danish filmmaker Nicolo Donato's Brotherhood, a gritty gay love story set in a neo-Nazi camp, also described as “an exploration of the rebirth of the Danish National Socialist Movement, where romance has an especially difficult path to tread.”

The festival also features a retrospective on the work of Taiwanese lesbian filmmaker Zero Chou with three of her films that are part of her Rainbow Colours project — Splendid Float, Spider Lilies and Drifting Flowers. Spider Lilies won the Teddy Award for Best Feature Film at the Asian Film Festival Rome (2007), and was screened as part of the Panorama section at the Berlin International Film Festival (2007).

Among the 13 Indian short films , there is also the renowned TV film, Prayers for Bobby, based on the true story of Mary Griffith (played by Sigourney Weaver), whose son commits suicide because he is gay.

Closing night features a double bill of Argentinian filmmaker Lucia Puenzo's beautifully made El Nino Pez and XXY. The first is about the relationship between a teenager living in an exclusive suburban neighbourhood and the Paraguayan maid working in her house; the second about an intersex child who has to face the idea of resurgent masculine hormones and a changing relationship with her parents.

On the opening day of the festival, photography exhibition Haptic will be inaugurated at 6.30 p.m., and will be open through the course of the festival. On February 26 and 27, there will be poetry and music performances at 6 p.m. and 7.45 p.m. respectively.

There will also be a discussion between the filmmakers present and the audience on February 27, 3 p.m.

BQFF is open to all and is free.

For more details, visit blrqueerfilmfest.com

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CultureJanuary 13, 2011