Mumbai, 2014 : KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival – South Asia’s and India’s biggest LGBT film festival – has once again turned to the social media phenomenon of crowd funding to raise finances for the third year in a row. According to the organisers the crowd funding campaign is aimed not only at raising money but it also gives audience a feeling of ownership and deepens their engagement with the festival.

This year the festival launched its crowd funding campaign on two platforms. Indiegogo is an international crowd funding platform that the festival tied up with this year after requests from Indians and other South Asians who live abroad and wanted to support the festival. Like the two previous years, KASHISH also tied up with Wishberry seeking support from people in Mumbai and across India.

“KASHISH this year launched crowd funding on two platforms – Indiegogo for international contributions and Wishberry for Indian contributors. We are seeing a very enthusiastic response from our South Asian friends in US and Europe who believe in the objective of KASHISH to create awareness and initiate dialogue about LGBT issues on a mainstream platform. Most of them believe that LGBT rights is human rights and need to accepted by government, judiciary and society. It is really heartening that KASHISH over the years has built up such a strong goodwill and trust among people all over the world. It validates our efforts,” said Sridhar Rangayan, Festival Director.

In 2012, when KASHISH took the help of social media to raise funds, it was the first time in India that such an attempt was made to crowd fund a film festival.  In 2013 its crowd funding campaign again met its goals. This year the incentives for supporters include  shout out on the festival’s Facebook page, DVDs, special seats and passes to the exclusive invite only red carpet opening party.

Desi and other supporters said that their support to KASHISH is a way to connect with the LGBT rights movement in India.

“Visibility is the single most important aspect of activism for gay rights. What better way to be visible than through movies. We support KASHISH for bringing our stories, struggles and successes to audiences. We cannot wait for the day when there will be no need for a ‘queer’ film festival. Until such a day arrives, we will continue to support the south Asian gay rights movement. Best wishes for KASHISH 2014!,” said Nitin Kale, Associate Professor of Engineering at University of Southern California, Los Angeles who along with his partner Bruce Keelan were one of the first few contributors on Indiegogo.

Filmmaker Nasha GAGNEBIN, who lives in Switzerland and is an Overseas Citizen of India said: I support KASHISH because they do a fantastic work to promote values I cherish such as knowledge, inclusiveness, fundamental rights and individual freedoms through cinema. India deserves a film festival worthy of the name where different opinions from India and from overseas can be expressed and shared to a wide audience through filmmaking; KASHISH seems to be the best place to achieve all this.

Manish Chawala, who lives in the US said: “Why I contributed to KASHISH ? I had to ! Its my’ family ‘ event ! That’s how I stay connected!” Another contributor from the US Hrishikesh Satawane had this to say: “I’m delighted to see India has come a long way from my time when I barely had heard of the word “gay” growing up in 70s and 80s in remote Maharashtra to now when we have LGBT Film Festivals. Films are an agent to change the social attitudes for better and film festivals like Kashish foster that. Its my pleasure to support such a worthy cause.”

Another supporter from Netherlands said: “Glad to help a really important cause. I hope the LGBT community gets the same “rights to live” as every other citizen.”