Reel Desires: Chennai International Queer Film Festival 2016

Reel Desires 2016 comes in the wake of the Indian Supreme Court's Feb 2, 2016, decision to refer the curative petitions on Section 377 to a five-judge constitutional bench. While offering us hope that the unconstitutional nature of Sec 377 and the grave miscarriage of justice that was the Koushal decision of 2013 may finally be addressed, this development reminds us not to place our lives and hopes on hold waiting for legal sanction. The struggle for social justice must go on, while we wait for the hearing of the curatives and for the passage of a transgender rights bill that sets out a blueprint for implementation of the NALSA (2014) verdict on transgender rights.

While queer and trans* collectives examine our legal and political options to assert our rights, we also seek our place in this world through participating in and producing cultures that reflect both the universality and specificity of our experiences. We invite films that augment and enrich these cultures. In addition, we are particularly interested in the films, shorts and documentaries on the following sub-themes:

a. Queerness and Sex Work - films that challenge the normative idea of sex work as 'bad' and counter attempts to sanitise LGBTIQ issues and communities by distancing ourselves from sex work. We would like to consider films that look at lesbian and bi women who sell sex, those that address the conflation of sex work with trafficking, explore fluidity among straight-identified men who are 'gay for pay', and other diverse intersections of gender, sexuality and sex work.

b. Crossing borders in relationships - films that explore cross-cultural relationships and their inherent complexities of power/privilege are invited. Culture is defined broadly here, and could include relationships between trans* (or transitioning) and non-trans people, between queer/trans people with disabilities and those without, mixed-orientation (gay-bisexual, lesbian-bisexual) relationships, and/or involving individuals of different social categories.

Besides these, we are also interested in films that examine sexual and gender fluidity, and films from under-represented parts of India (the North East, non-metros) and other countries in the South Asian region (Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, Nepal, Afghanistan).

Reel Desires: Chennai International Queer Film Festival is brought to you by Orinam along with partner groups and collectives. See ciqff.org or email orinam.net@gmail.com for more information.

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