Actor Arjun Kapoor will be Chief Guest at the opening ceremony of the 8th edition of KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival. Arjun Kapoor, fresh from the success of his film Half Girlfriend that is currently running in theatres across India, will light the ceremonial lamp along with Nisaba Godrej, Executive Chairperson of Godrej Consumer Products at the opening of the film festival at Liberty Cinema on May 24, 2017. KASHISH 2017 – South Asia’s biggest LGBTQ film festival will screen 147 films from 45 countries between May 24-28, 2017 at two venues in South Mumbai – the city’s iconic art deco theatre Liberty Cinema and Alliance Francaise.

 “I am happy to be part of a festival like Kashish Mumbai International Queer Film Festival as it brings together cinema from all over the globe for a relevant, important cause. The LGBTQ community needs a voice and support, and cinema is the most powerful medium to reach out to people. I think they have put together a fabulous line up of films,” said Arjun Kapoor.

Arjun Kapoor will also unveil the festival catalogue along with other guests at the opening of the festival.

“We are absolutely bowled over that Bollywood star Arjun Kapoor is inaugurating the 8th edition of KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival,” said Festival Director Sridhar Rangayan. “KASHISH uses the medium of films to brings marginalised lives into the mainstream and celebrate it. Arjun Kapoor’s support to the cause is highly welcome and will be cheered by not only the community across India, but by everyone globally. KASHISH not only provides a platform for Indian and International LGBTQ cinema but also furthers the cause of good cinema.”

American film Signature Move, directed by Jennifer Reeder and starring Shabana Azmi will be the opening film on May 24 at the festival, which will close with the accliamed Indian gay romance LOEV directed by Sudhanshu Saria and starring Shiv Pandit and Siddarth Menon in lead roles. Of the 147 films, 51 films will feature in the Competition Categories and compete for top awards that a total cash prize of Rs 2.25 lakh. The awards are sponsored by Anupam Kher’s Actor Prepares, K F Patil Charitable Trust, Whistling Woods International and Wadia Movietone.

Key Highlights for Kashish 2017 –

147 films, from 45 countries.

The festival is spread across two venues in South Mumbai this year – Liberty Cinema and Alliance Francaise de Bombay.

The festival theme is “Diverse, One”, explores the diversity of the LGBTQ communities

This year, the ‘Country in Focus’ is United Kingdom and along with British Film Institute will commemorate LGBT50 – to mark 50 years of Britain decriminalizing same sex relations. The festival will screen 15 path breaking British classics and contemporary LGBTQ films.

Films that portray the lives of LGBT persons from challenging countries like Iran, Kosovo, Aruba, Armenia, United Arab Kingdom, Serbia, Trinidad & Tobago, Rwanda and Nigeria will be screened at KASHISH 2017.

The Indian Panorama comprises 29 films made in Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, Tamil, Kannada and Malayalam.

The “competition section’’ will showcase 51 films that will be judged by two eminent Jury Panels. Cash Awards of Rs 2.25 lakhs will be given to the winners.

The Festival Jury comprises screenwriter Anjum Rajabali, actor Lubna Salim, TV producer and writer Vinta Nanda, film editor Jabeen Merchant and writer Aseem Chhabra.

The Student Short Film Jury that will judge student films comprises Jeroo Mulla, Somnath Sen, Avijit Mukul Kishore and Debashree Mukherjee.

Acclaimed actor Anupam Kher’s Actor Prepares will sponsor cash prizes for the three top competition categories at KASHISH – Rs 30,000 for the Best Narrative Feature Film, Rs 20,000 for the Best Indian Narrative Short film and Rs 20,000 for the Best Performance in a Lead Role.

Wadia Movietone awards Rs 15,000 for the Riyad Wadia Award for the Best Emerging Indian Filmmaker.

Whistling Woods International will sponsor Rs 15,000 for the Best Student Short Award

K F Patil Charitable Trust will sponsor the Best Documentary Feature and Best Documentary Short awards of Rs 15,000 and Rs 10,000 respectively.

A Rs 1 lakh QDirshti Film Grant sponsored by Lotus Visual will be awarded to support an independent filmmaker based in India to make his/her next LGBTQ-themed film.

Opening film is the critically acclaimed American film Signature Move, starring Shabana Azmi.

The Closing film is the acclaimed Indian gay romance LOEV

The Best Indian queer short film at KASHISH gets to compete for the Iris Prize in UK which carries a cash prize of 25,000.