Ten iterations of Reels Desire: Chennai International Queer Film Festival have passed us. Through them, the Chennai audience has got the opportunity to watch award-winning films on queerness including the likes of Ladies and Gentlewoman by director Malini Jeevarathnam from Tamil Nadu and Blooming on the Asphalt by Brazilian filmmaker Coraci Ruiz.
In its 11th edition, Orinam, an LGBTQIA+ support community and the Goethe-Institut, Chennai, choose to yet again take on heteronormative codes. The festival, set to take place between August 18 and 20 at the Goethe-Institut, will see a line up of 30 films — 10 from the subcontinent and the rest from 11 countries around the world.
L Ramakrishnan, one of the volunteers, says that the call to screen films at the festival yielded about 115 submissions. “A large group of volunteers from the LGBTQIA+ communities including those from organisations like Nirangal Charitable Trust and SAATHII besides Orinam, came forward to review films. The panel was diverse with members from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans communities to ensure equal representation. The volunteers also wrote to directors in other countries to ensure that interesting, acclaimed films get screened,” he says.
This year, the line-up consists of shorts, documentaries and feature-length films. These include Impasse, Binary Error, All Men Should Have Shoes, Oas (Dewdrops), Pussy Cruising, Transcending Boundaries and Neubau.
There will also be a panel discussion ‘Queer Families: Beyond the Marriage Equality Debate’ which will delve into the idea of family outside of what has been affirmed by our laws, culture, religion, media, and advertisements. “The panel discussion assumes relevance in light of the awaited Supreme Court verdict on marriage equality,” according to the organisers.
Besides this, a play Neela Bhoomi directed by Tamilarasi R will be performed. It looks to capture the life of a lesbian couple as they strive to make a home together against all odds. A performance by Chennai-based drag artist Nethu Night Neelambari and a hip hop night are in the mix too.
Katharina Görgen, director of the Goethe Institut Chennai, says that beyond the discussions, screenings and performances, the film festival ends up becoming a space for the community to exchange ideas, spend time and come together.
The Reels Desire: Chennai International Queer Film Festival will take place between August 18 and 20 at the Goethe-Institut, Chennai. The event is free and open to individuals 18 years and older. For more information, contact 9843373433, log on to www.ciqff.org or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.