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American film bags best film award, Pakistani film is best documentary at Indian Queer Filmfest

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NEW DELHI: Morgan directed by Michael Akers from the US has won the Best Narrative Feature Film at the 4th Kashish Mumbai International Queer Film Festival.

The award, which has a cash prize of Rs 30,000 sponsored by actor Anupam Kher, was handed out at the closing ceremony of the festival over the weekend.

"We thank the festival for its amazing work in helping to bring film?s such as ours to the audiences who desperately need it," said Akers.

Urmi directed by Jehangir Jani got the Best Indian Short Narrative film award given away by filmmaker Kalpana Lajmi.

Actor Crystal Arnette won the first Kashish Best Actor award, instituted by Kher and his acting school Actor Prepares.

Hide and Seek (Chuppan Chupai) from Pakistan won the Best Documentary Feature award. The film directed by Sadat Munir and Saad Khan is one of the first films that focus on the lives of the gay and transgender community in Pakistan. "Due to the subject matter I knew I will not be able to get much public screening of this film in Pakistan, but I am happy that it screened in India, especially Mumbai, where picture of LGBTIQ acceptance is not the same as elsewhere in South Asia," said Saadat Munir.

The Best Documentary Short Film award went to the Cambodian film Two Girls against the Rain directed by Sopheak Sao. The Best International Short Narrative Film Award was given to Polaroid Girl directed by April Maxey from the USA.

The international jury panel comprising filmmaker Aruna Raje Patil, Bollywood actor and model Simone Singh, theatre director Quasar Thakore Padamsee, author and poet Jerry Pinto and Iris Prize director Berwyn Rowlands judged the films.

The Riyad Wadia Award for Best Emerging Indian Filmmaker was shared by two young directors Manva Naik for her film Dopehri and Rohan Kanawade for The Lonely Walls (EktyaBhinti).

More than 130 films from forty countries were screened at the fourth edition of the Festival which commenced from 22 May in Mumbai.

While China was the Country in focus with more than 12 films, there were LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) films from Iran, Serbia, Slovakia, Pakistan and Morocco. The Filmmaker in focus was American filmmaker and activist Jim Hubbard.

The Parade from Serbia opened the festival while the late Rituparno Ghosh?s Chitrangada: The Crowning Wish was the closing film.

The festival was held at Cinemax Versova in Andheri and at Alliance Fran?aise de Bombay.

KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival is the first and only gay and lesbian film festival in India to be held in a mainstream theatre and one of the first queer festivals to receive clearance from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

Saagar Gupta, festival programmer said: "This year KASHISH programmed the biggest collection of films and from countries that were very diverse, including countries where making films on LGBT themes is challenging. Also keeping in tune with this year?s themes of ?Towards Change? there were several outstanding documentaries including Vito, United in Anger, Call Me Kuchu, Hide & Seek, Invisible Men, Not A man in Sight and ?And The Unclaimed. These films showcased stories of struggle, trauma and happiness of LGBT persons across the world."

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