Saturday, 29 March 2014

Reel Desires: Chennai International Queer Film Festival 2014

We're back! To submit an entry for consideration, please click here to open the form in a new browser window

Reel Desires: Chennai International Queer Film Festival 2014 will be held, most likely, in the last weekend of July at the Goethe-Institut/ Max Mueller Bhavan in Chennai. The festival is brought to you by Orinam and Goethe-Institut, in partnership with other local collectives working on gender, sexuality, health, human rights and culture (see list of co-organizers last year).

Reel Desires 2014 comes in the wake of India's Supreme Court decision that re-criminalised same-sex love, and homophobic/transphobic moves by many countries around the world - Uganda, Nigeria, and Russia, to name a few. While LGBT collectives examine legal and political options to reclaim our dignity and rights as citizens, we also seek our place in this world through participating in and producing cultures that reflect both the universality and specificity of our experiences.  We at Reel Desires invite films that augment and enrich these cultures.

This year, we are particularly interested in shorts, documentary and feature film submissions that explore the intersections among queerness and other forms of marginalization, including those based on gender, disability, immigrant/refugee status, caste, religion,  socio-economic class, age, and race/ethnicity.

Reel Desires, an all-volunteer effort, typically runs for 12-14 hours of screening, spread over two or three days, and will include panel discussions and Q&A with local film-makers.  We are a non-ticketed festival run primarily with community support. 

Contact, or 98415 57983 for more information. The last date for submissions is June 10, 2014.

If you are a Chennaiite and would like to volunteer, do let us know. Preparatory activities include seeking film submissions, reviewing films, developing write-ups, designing publicity material and brochures, and helping get the word out.

To submit an entry for consideration, please click here to open the form in a new browser window

Tuesday, 16 July 2013


Thanks to all volunteers, panel discussants, filmmakers, attendees, donors, and media people who helped Reel Desires 2013 reach out to queer Chennai! Three months of work leading up to three days of the film festival, with camaraderie, chemistry, and solidarity all around. New friends, volunteers, supporters and seekers of support made it an unforgettable experience!

Special thanks to LiberCine, Festival Internacional de Cine sobre Diversidad Sexual y GĂ©nero de Argentina for their Latin-American shorts; and to Queer Ink, Mumbai, for copies of Out! that we were able to offer as tokens of our appreciation to the participants of the panel discussions Film and Theatre for LGBT Rights and Social Change and Towards LGBT-inclusive Workplaces.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Who we are

Reel Desires: Chennai International Queer Film Festival 2013 is brought to you by the following groups and collectives working in such areas as LGBT rights and community support, public health,  counseling services and Chennai-based infotainment.

Orinam: Founded in 2003, Orinam is a Chennai-based and online collective of LGBT individuals and their supporters working towards a world where individuals of all sexual orientations and genders are able to access their human rights free of discrimination. Our activities include peer support, advocacy, arts and cultural programming, and referrals to local and national resources. We also run a community blog, and an online resource center with information on sexuality and gender diversity for media, communities, families, healthcare providers, educational institutions, religious groups and workplaces looking to be more inclusive. Visit, follow us on Twitter,  or contact us with your queries via our webform.

Nirangal:  An NGO working for social, economic, political and human rights for marginalized communities in Tamilnadu. Activities include crisis-support to LGBT individuals and sex workers, and advocacy for decriminalization and equal rights . Email us at, call us at 98406-99776 or visit our Facebook page here.  

RIOV: An online and offline support and social space for lesbians, bisexual women, transmen and our allies in Chennai. Contact us at at, or via Facebook. 

The Shakti Resource Center: A collective of activists, performers, academics and everyday revolutionaries who are creating a public dialogue on gender and sexuality in Chennai. Email

Oye!Chennai: Dedicated to the city, Oye!Chennai is a one-stop web portal for your daily dose of city-based infotainment. Apart from bringing you a round up from the world of cinema, arts, sports, campus, corporate and lifestyle, we pride ourselves in unraveling the city secrets, partnering events with a purpose and spreading the spirit of Chennai. Our other services include event management, multimedia design and development and social media marketing. Visit

SAATHII: An NGO headquartered in Chennai, SAATHII works nationally and in 14 states to improve access to health care, justice and rights for marginalized people. Our focus is on people living with or vulnerable to HIV, and those disenfranchised because of their sex, gender, gender-expression and real or perceived sexual orientation. SAATHII co-organized the first LGBT film festival in Chennai way back in 2004, along with Orinam volunteers and the Alliance Francaise de Madras. It has been involved with co-organizing the Siddhartha Gautam Film Festival in Kolkata since 2003, and subsequently in several other districts in Odisha and West Bengal also. Visit or contact

East-West Center for Counselling: Founded by Magdalene Jeyarathnam, the Center provides short-term, culturally sensitive and LGBT-affirmative counselling (individual and group sessions), training, consultation, and other collaborative and programmatic services.  Our areas of expertise are in counselling sexual minorities, children and adults, including parents of LGBT youth. Visit or contact

Goethe-Institut: For over 50 years, the Goethe-Institut Chennai has been promoting an ongoing dialogue and exchange between Indian and German artists and experts in order to present German culture abroad and help shape a current understanding of Germany today. The program department organizes a broad range of events and supports projects in the fields of film and new media, arts, theatre and dance, music, literature, architecture and more. Goethe-Institut has been a strong supporter of LGBT issues and local communities both formally and informally over the years, internationally and in India. Visit

The film festival is part of the fifth annual Chennai Rainbow Pride, a series of events held in the city to bring visibility to LGBT issues and promote equal rights for all humans.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Kuch Palon Mein (India, 2013)

Kuch Palon Mein (India, 2013, dir. Avinash Matta)

About Kuch Palon Mein (In Some Moments): What happens when a bright student like Mihir discovers the sexuality of one of his big time crushes, his senior? Do all same-sex relationships last for just some moments? Will this one go beyond?

About the Director:  Avinash Matta, a student of film direction at Ramoji Academy of Film and Television,  resides in Hyderabad.  

Reminiscence of Ether

Image Source: The Hindu
The Hindu (Bangalore edition, July 3, 2013) profiles the team that made this award-winning film that will be part of Reel Desires. See

Friday, 5 July 2013

Reel Desires 2013 poster!

Thanks Rahul for the amazing design. If any of the readers of this blog would like hi-res versions to print out, or would like posters to display on campuses and in workplaces, please dorop an mail to or

Monday, 3 June 2013

Information resources for filmmakers

In response to our recent call for entries to the Catalysts for Inclusion: Orinam Ally Video contest, we have received responses from allies who are interested in contributing a five-minute video but have never made a video or film before, and would like guidance.

If you are likely to be overwhelmed with guidance as elaborate as the wiki Movie-Making Manual, here are some simple suggestions forwarded by a member of Beyond the Limit Creations, Chennai, who is on our film review panel. These have been adapted from PlanetForward's 'Learn How to Make a Video'.


There are three things to ask yourself when choosing a topic:
- Is my idea new and interesting?
- Is it aligned with the contest theme, and does it fall into one or more of the categories?
- Is my idea simple enough to convey in a short video? If you answered “yes’ to all of the above, then you are well on your way.


You don’t need to be a professional filmmaker to make a winning Orinam Ally video. You're an ally or know someone who is, there's an important message to convey, and you have (or can access) a video camera or regular camera capable of capturing video: that's all you need.

The basics:

Just stand in front of your camera and explain your idea.  A few tips:
- Make sure you’re in a quiet place and there is no distracting noise.
- Check your background: don’t have a tree coming out of your head!
- Don’t stand in front of a window or a plain white wall (you’ll be all shadow).
- Use a tripod to avoid shaky shots.  If you don’t have a tripod, rest your camera on a chair or table.
- Get a variety of shots.  
- Be mindful of the audio.  We want to hear what is being said
- If you are using pre-recorded music make sure you do not use copyrighted materials: look for materials with Creative Commons licences.
- Ensure good visuals:  be sure to get a variety of interesting shots (tight, medium, wide, and super wide).

- When shooting an interview, take note of the location. You want viewers to focus on your interview subject’s words, so notice distracting objects in your shot and remove them
- Avoid shooting people in front of bright windows, against cluttered walls, and outside when the sun is overhead. This will allow the viewer to focus on the interview subject’s face bright and focus her/his attention on what the subject is saying.
- Get cutaway footage: you’ll probably need to edit your interview and cutaways, like an interviewee’s foot as he presses on the gas pedal, provide nice footage to cut to.

- Each video should have a purpose whether it is to inform, inspire, or persuade. Know what you want your video to do and stick with it. If you are offering a solution, be sure to set up the problem. If you are informing viewers about a new idea, make sure it is easily understandable. And if you make your case with a skeptical and questioning eye, viewers are more likely to believe you.
- Look at the big picture. Although any small step is great, we want to know how your idea will show your support towards the LGBTI community. Show us your path to the future.

Questions? Contact us via and we’ll answer all your questions.

Also watch the video from PlanetForward below:

If you're ready for something more advanced, check out Tom Antos' excellent youtube videos here.