LGBTQ Movies

‘Film and Conversations on Sexualities and Genders’ Hyderabad: defying gender sterotypes onscreen

Having teamed up with Anveshi Research Centre for Women’s Studies, Films and Conversations on Sexualities and Genders (FCSG) is propelling a wider awareness around the social and infrastructural challenges and triumphs the LGBTQ community faces.

It’s a move Isabelle Saldana, the instigator of FCSG, is quite excited about.

‘Film and Conversations on Sexualities and Genders’ Hyderabad: defying gender sterotypes onscreen

Isabelle teaches at a government school in Malakpet, often doling out English and Social Studies nuggets of knowledge. As a part of her Fulbright grant, Isabelle took up non-governmental work and found she wanted to work with queer groups and LGBTQ organisations, explaining, “Because a lot of the subject matter is still really grassroots, I couldn’t find a proper NGO. So that’s where the partnership with Anveshi and Women Studies came in. I offered to help start the queer film series. We wanted to screen Telugu and Hindi films which don’t see the light of day often, as well as the more popular films from the international scene and we thought a good way to bring people into the pipeline and learn about the LGBTQ community is to inculcate conversation. Everyone has a sexuality in some shape or form so it’s universal in that sense and enable a more fluid conversation.”

Isabelle shares the response has been great, adding, “We’ve done screenings in various locations like Lamakaan and Café Paaka, where there are different types of people. At Paaka, we went on a regular night and when we screened a film, there was a lot of curiosity — people showed interest in topics they felt they didn’t know how to start, like the thoughts were in their mind but they needed that projection to formulate a conversation.”

FCSG has also teamed up with Queer Campus Hyderabad among other schools like University of Hyderabad, making sure its reach isn’t strictly institutional.

Shifting tides

People showed interest in topics they felt they didn’t know how to start, like the thoughts were in their mind but they needed that projection to formulate a conversation.

Through social media and word of mouth, word spread fast about FCSG. Films screened include Moonlight, which addresses the stigmas of masculinity. Suited, a HBO documentary, follows a group of gender non-conforming individuals as they visit a bespoke tailoring company Bindle and Keep in Brooklyn, New York.

Isabelle shares that the screening of Moonlight invoked a lot of conversation around what being a man means within our culture and how the attitudes shift in different settings. This conversation was a breakthrough for her and Madhurima Majumder who works for Anveshi.

Don’t expect just films though; television has also been a catalyst for conversation. Isabelle adds that the team has played an episode of Grace and Frankie, which shed a less serious but equally profound light on LGBTQ life for older people.

It also placed a focus on the very personal process of coming out, which inexorably led to a empathic exchange on how it varies for everyone.

‘Film and Conversations on Sexualities and Genders’ Hyderabad: defying gender sterotypes onscreen

Having visited the city a few years ago, she’s seen a progressivism in the conversations and a more vibrant activism scene especially around gender issues. “The amount of grassroots organisation that happens here is honestly way more than I what I’ve seen first hand back home in the United States; the amount of collectivity and ideas is strong here. The visibility is there.”

Essentially, the events go beyond screenings, delving into discourses upon which films touch. Considering the universality of the themes addressed, FCSG rightfully has plans for the country as well.

Isabelle adds they’re teaming up with MIST in Bengaluru for more screenings and talks, turning this brainchild into a surely national movement.

Check out ‘Films and Conversations on Sexualities and Genders’ Hyderabad’s Facebook page.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2021 2:10:05 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/films-and-conversations-on-sexualities-and-genders-hyderabad-defying-gender-stereotypes-onscreen/article21572593.ece

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