Brothers and Sisters star Matthew Rhys today (25 June 2010) confirmed that Kashish – Mumbai International Queer Film Festival has become a partner festivals of the Iris Prize. The new festival joins the global network of gay and lesbian film festivals who nominate a short film to compete for the Iris Prize, the world’s largest gay and lesbian short film prize.

“I’m delighted that Iris has a new partner festival from India. I understand that the first mainstream film festival in Mumbai earlier this year turned out to be the largest gay film festival in India creating history and a new milestone in the emergent Indian gay movement. The global network of film festivals who feed into Iris is hugely important to us allowing Iris to identify and support the very best film making talent from all over the world,” said Iris Prize Festival Patron, Matthew Rhys.

“This is a very exciting time for gays and lesbians in India. Over the past few years, homosexuality has been able to achieve respect in the society. While we still have a long way to go, the decriminalisation of homosexual intercourse by the Delhi High Court in India has given this cause a further impetus. KASHISH – Mumbai International Queer Film Festival intends to take this movement forward by promoting queer visibility through cinema. Our first edition in April 2010 was a huge success, and I am extremely proud of it,” said Sridhar Rangayan, Festival Director of Kashish.

“Our partnership with the Iris Prize is a wonderful recognition of our work. I am also pleased that our new festival is recognised by the international lesbian and gay community and it feels appropriate that Mumbai can share the Iris platform in Cardiff with Sydney, LA, Hamburg etc,” he added.

“The visibility of the LGBT community is growing in India. It has taken almost two decades of hard work by various LGBT networks and organizations to be able to reach a stage where the LGBT issues are now being discussed in various forums. One of our main mottos is to develop rational attitudes in society towards issues of homosexuality and Kashish Mumbai International Film Festival is one such effort. The success of the festival has made one thing very clear that today India is prepared to talk and deal with the LGBT community,” said fellow Kashish Festival Director, Vivek Anand.

“We are happy to be associated with the Iris prize and hope our association will help take this movement further in India and make an impact in the lives of the LGBT community”, he added.

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