Chennai International Queer Film Festival

Last updated
Reel Desires: Chennai International Queer Film Festival
Location Chennai, India
Language International

Chennai International Queer Film Festival (also known as Reel Desires: Chennai International Queer Film Festival) is a three-day LGBT- event that usually takes places on the last weekend of July as a part of the city's pride events. The main organizers are SAATHII and Orinam in partnership with Goethe-Institut, Chennai. The other volunteers include various community groups and NGOs, including Nirangal, East-West Center for Counselling, and RIOV. The last day is usually performances along with a panel discussion, usually to discuss and bring out the challenges faced by community members. [1]

Orinam About Orinam

Orinam is a non-funded, social, and activist collective that works to enhance understanding of alternate sexualities and gender identities among families, communities and society. It was founded in 2003 in Chennai under the name MovenPick and is one of the oldest collective of its kind in India. People affiliated with Orinam are from or trace their ancestry to the following geo-cultural: People of Tamil Origin from Tamil Nadu, India. Orinam provides a platform for creative expression, personal and social commentary by Queer people of Tamil Origin and of Indian Origin primarily. Orinam also acts as a local support group in Chennai for the queer community. The website is the first Queer blog in the world that publishes in Tamil language. Orinam also partners with the city-, state- and national initiatives around decriminalisation of homosexuality by amending Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code and LGBTQ rights.

Goethe-Institut non-profit German cultural association

The Goethe-Institut is a non-profit German cultural association operational worldwide with 159 institutes, promoting the study of the German language abroad and encouraging international cultural exchange and relations. Around 246,000 people take part in these German courses per year.



This LGBT-film festival is being held from 2005 in the city. [2] The shorts, documentary and feature film submissted usually explore the intersections among sexuality/gender identity and other forms of marginalization, also including those based on gender, disability, immigrant/refugee status, caste, socio-economic class, religion, age, and race/ethnicity. [3] [1]


The 12th queer film festival in 2017 saw 27 films, which were chosen from nearly 70 submissions from 12 countries. [4] The event also saw a panel discussion about the activism in the south of India, around LGBTQIA, titled `South of the Norm: LGBTIQA+ activism in southern India'. [5]

Movies Screened

Some of the movies screened include:

2017Siebzehn (Seventeen)GermanyLesbian
2017 Abar Jodi Ichchha Karo (If you dare desire)IndiaLesbian
2012All About Our FamilaIndiaHijra
2017 Ladies and Gentlewomen [6] IndiaLesbian
2016Ka BodyscapesIndiaGay
2016Is It Too Much To Ask? [7] IndiaTranswoman


It is the fourth time the Goethe-Institut is collaborating with the Reel Desires. Of the 80 films received, the organizers chose 26 films from eight different countries. Some notable movies were Sridhar Rangayan’s National Award-winning Breaking Free, Chennai-based Sairam Biswas’s It Adhu But Aanaal and also the acclaimed Aligarh. The panel discussion this year was about "Ending Gender and Sexuality-based Violence". [1] [8]

Sridhar Rangayan Indian filmmaker

Sridhar Rangayan is an Indian filmmaker who has made films with special focus on queer subjects. His queer films, The Pink Mirror and Yours Emotionally, have been considered groundbreaking because of their realistic and sympathetic portrayal of the largely closeted Indian gay community. His film The Pink Mirror remains banned in India by the Indian Censor Board because of its homosexual content.


Reel Desires: Chennai International Queer Film Festival 2015, will be held from July 24 to 26 at the Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan in Chennai. The festival will screen 23 films from eight countries, out of which some of the significant ones are Pride, the 2014 Cannes Film Festival award winner, Walking the Walk by Moses Tulasi, Aakkamum Thaakkamum (portrayals of transgender women in Tamil Cinema) and more. [9] [2] [10]

<i>Pride</i> (2014 film) 2014 British LGBT-related historical comedy-drama film by Matthew Warchus

Pride is a 2014 British LGBT-related historical comedy-drama film written by Stephen Beresford and directed by Matthew Warchus. Based on a true story, the film depicts a group of lesbian and gay activists who raised money to help families affected by the British miners' strike in 1984, at the outset of what would become the Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners campaign. The alliance was unlike any seen before and was ultimately successful.

2014 Cannes Film Festival

The 67th Cannes Film Festival was held from 14 to 25 May 2014. New Zealand film director Jane Campion was the head of the jury for the main competition section. The Palme d'Or was awarded to the Turkish film Winter Sleep directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan.


In 2014, the festival also hosted a photography exhibition by Shilpa Raj, a Bengaluru-based photographer, and social activist. Her exhibits were transgender people posing in diverse avatars, charting the transition from male to female in 14 stills. There were also photos that establish references to Ramayana and Mahabharata. Some of the noteworthy movies screened were Kyunki, an Indian Submission, Eyes that do not see, from USA, Kumu Hina, a Hawaiian movie and Not funny from Germany. [11]

<i>Kumu Hina</i> 2014 film by Dean Hamer

Kumu Hina is a 2014 documentary film by Dean Hamer and Joe Wilson and is the story of Hina Wong-Kalu. It premiered at the Hawaii International Film Festival and aired on Independent Lens, a PBS program, in May 2015.


2013 the organizers received around ninety one films from 22 countries, out of which 35 films including shorts, documentaries, and feature films were screened. These were from India and over 10 countries. The three-day event was from July 11 to 13, 2013 and some movies screened were Gay_Lonely, about a 30-plus gay man, Kuch Palon Mein, Veena Kulkarni’s ‘Reminiscene of Ether’, Debalina Majumder’s ‘Ebang Bewarish (And the Unclaimed)’ among others. [12] [13]

See also

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  1. 1 2 3 "Where the mind is without fear" . Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  2. 1 2 Preeti Zachariah (24 Jul 2015). "Preview: Chennai International Queer" . Retrieved 22 Jul 2017.
  3. Baradwaj Rangan. "The genre and the specific". The Hindu. Retrieved 22 Jul 2017.
  4. "Reel Desires: Chennai International Queer Film Festival 2017". 25 Jul 2017.
  5. "Chennai: Queer film festival returns, explores asexuality and more". 27 July 2017.
  6. Chitradeepa Anantharam (27 July 2017). "Celebrating queer pride".
  7. Abinaya Kalyanasundaram (26 July 2017). "Real queer stories on reel".
  8. "Chennai's LGBTQ Film Festival Is Back: Looking At Queerness, Sex-Work And More!". 29 July 2016. Retrieved 22 July 2017.
  9. "LGBT Film Festival On July 24–26 In Chennai". 22 Jul 2015. Retrieved 22 Jul 2017.
  10. RAHUL SADHU (27 Jul 2015). "Queer film festival comes to Chennai" . Retrieved 22 Jul 2017.
  11. "Bringing out the 'Reel' desires". New Indian Express. 26 Jul 2014. Retrieved 22 Jul 2017.
  12. "Reel Desires- Queer Film Festival".
  13. BARADWAJ RANGAN (9 Jul 2013). "Nothing queer about it!". The Hindu. Retrieved 22 Jul 2017.