Founded in 2015 by Mist – an online collective of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender activists – the Queer and Allies Art Festival (QAAF) brings together artists, craftspeople, and performers from all over India in a single event that demonstrates the talent and artistry of India’s LGBTQ community and its allies. The festival is a free one-full-day slate of performances, films, and art installations that happens in various cities in India.
About Queer and Allies Art Festival:
Queer and Allies Art Festival (QAAF) was first held at Urban Solace in Bangalore in October 2015 and attracted over 150 participants, including 30 artists, performers, and craftspeople. Featuring the music of Last Semester, the photography of Aritro Sarkar, and the work of filmmaker Moses Tulasi, the event offered a rare opportunity for queer and straight allied artists to come together under one roof to engage with inter-sectional queer issues. Moreover, the festival made it evident that there was a real thirst for this sort of communal artistic space in cities all over India. Following the success of the Bangalore event, in November 2015, QAAF took the show on the road to Pune, where over 200 people attended the festival. Artists from Mumbai and Bangalore joined local Pune artists such as Zee-Award Winning Actor Zameer Kamble and funk rock band Mafaka to advocate for solidarity between queer people and their allies.
In 2016, we had QAAF at Chennai for the very first time during May and Hyderabad during July with more new artists and performances that we have earned through our journey. We presented performers like, Zameer Kamble with his new edition “Simran ki Nirvani” from Pune, Srijith Sundaram (Kattiyakkari – Chennai based theatre group) with his play “Yeriyum Ninaivugal” (Flaming memories – translated from Tamil), and many more dancers from Bangalore, Pune, Chennai and your local favorite queer’s. Following the two successful events in 2016, we presented our second edition of QAAF, at Pune in October 2016. We had around 200+ participants and around 20 artists performing dance, solo singing, instrumentals, play and we screened 5 movies earlier to the performances.
Now in 2017, we started our third edition of Queer and Allies Art Festival from Hyderabad which happened on 30th of July 2017, with much more new artists like Sumit Pawar and Varum Satam from Mumbai performing a semi classical kathak fusion, group performances and great movies. The events pulled a running crowd of 150+ audience who were thrilled to watch all the wonderful movies screened and the amazing performances. In October 2017, QAAF took its road towards Bangalore for the second time. We had around 200+ audience who watched talented artists performing along with the travelling artists. Kindly fill up the participant registration form here and we will get back to you!
About the Artists:
Srijith Sundaram, a well known LGBTQ activists and theatre artist from Chennai, Tamilnadu will be performing his eminent short play “Yeriyum Ninaivugal” (Flaming Memories – translated from Tamil), where a gay men is forced to marry a girl and the outcome of the forceful marriage.
A group of young, talented and activists from Hyderabad, Telangana would be performing a skit on a true story of gay boy who was thrown out of his home for being gay, the struggles he went through when he came out to his parents. They have been performing such skits, dance and many more things under the banner of Mobbera for a couple of years now. In addition to the skit, two male artists will be doing couple dance performance.
Sumit Pawar, a famous traveler known for his travel to most of LGBTQ Parades in India, from Mumbai, will be performing a Kathak – Semi Classical Fusion along with his friend, Varun Satam, a dance artist from Mumbai.
In addition to these main performers, there will be an open call for the local LGBTQ and Ally artists to display their amazing talents and relish the audience to their contentment.
About the Movies (Selected for 2017):
We have shortlisted six movies that will be screened during the Queer and Allies Art Festival 2017.
Paternity Leave – Four years into his first stable relationship, a man (Jacob York) finds out that he is pregnant with his partner’s (Charlie David) baby. Chris Salvatore (of the ‘Eating Out’ film series) co-stars.
Ladies and Gentle Women – Ladies and gentlewomen is an attempt to break the silence in the area of comprehending the dynamics of lesbianism. Probably the first move in the Tamil scenario, this documentary tends to dialogue about the conspicuous silence about the body politics and relationship which is misspelt as social stigma. Acceptance of such norms emerges from constant fight against socially acclaimed identities. With absolutely no response to the suicidal cases, the social rejection of lesbianism leads to, the documentary sternly projects the question to the society. Why the hell you care about someone’s love when you don’t care a speck about someone’s suicide?
LILY – The film tells the story of Lily, a girl with a secret, on the cusp of becoming a young woman. With her best friend, the fiercely loyal and flamboyant Simon, she navigates the treacherous waters of school life. When a misunderstanding with the beautiful and popular Violet leads to a vicious attack, Lily is faced with the greatest challenge of her young life.
Dusk – “Growing up in 1950s England in an intolerant and uninformed world, young Chris Winters struggles to fit into the gender roles dictated by wider society.A more than tough childhood left behind, Chris meets dream woman Julie, and life lightens a little, but the growing feeling that theirs is a life half lived haunts Chris. Endlessly imagining what might have been, Chris is finally struck by the realisation that for some decisions there is no right answer, and that it’s those that truly define us.”
Knock Knock – In a newly opened hotel that subscribes to old fashioned values, an ensemble of unlikely characters – a shady looking lady, a drug dealer, a rebel, an enthusiastic cop, an existential priest, and a lovey-dovey couple – all converge on an ordinary afternoon. When their paths (policed by the hotel manager!) intersect, the seemingly predictable series of events turn into a clash of stereotypes, leaving not just the manager and the hotel owner surprised, but making the viewers question their own assumptions about others and the inescapable irony of human relations.
PYOTR495 – Set one evening in present day Moscow, 16 year-old Pyotr is baited by an ultra-nationalist group known for their violent abductions and anti-gay attacks bolstered by Russia’s LGBT propaganda law, but Pyotr has a dangerous secret his attackers could never have accounted for.
We hope this event would interest you. Together, you, me, queer and straight artists alike, can come together in solidarity to dialogue about sexuality, diversity and rights, and your contribution will make this all possible. You can find more information about the event at http://qandaartfest.lgbtq.co.