Sydney’s inaugural South Asian queer film festival will be held by the Trikone Australasia group, from August 15 – 17.

The three-day Gulmohar Festival, timed to coincide with India’s Independence Day, will be a focal point for the queer South Asian community to celebrate their heritage while offering a colourful introduction to the world of Indian cinema for all others.

The recently formed Trikone Australasia group has created a diverse program to give audiences a broad perspective of South Asian cinematic culture, from documentaries to short and feature films.

Festival director Sadhana Jethanandani said the festival is as much about promoting a sense of community here in Australia as it is about making a stand against homophobic laws in South Asian countries like India and Bangladesh, where homosexuality is still deemed illegal.

The aim of the festival is visibility, voice, vision, Jethanandani said.

With Gulmohar we want to increase the visibility of the South Asian queer community in Australia. Voice their emotions and express their feeling through films about and made in South Asian countries.

We also, ultimately want to become part of the global vision for providing equal rights to the South Asian GLBT community.

The festival will be opened by Anton Enus, presenter of SBS World News and founding member of the South African GLBT sports movement.

The program will begin with the Australian premiere of the critically acclaimed Yours Emotionally, an Indonesian/UK production which tells of two best friends who begin an eye-opening journey through India’s gay scene.

Issues of lesbian identity will be raised on the following night at the screening of Barefeet, an experimental narrative film which tells of an Indian woman’s attempts to reveal a secret to her family.

The issues of gender will also come into question during the award-winning Our Family which tells of two transgendered people’s experiences of Aravanis -” or third gender -” communities of South Asia and will end on a humorous note with The Pink Mirror, a camp comedy centred around two bitchy drag queens and a sly teenager who are all lusting after the same hunk.

info: The Gulmohar Festival will run from August 15 – 17 at the Metropolitan Community Church, 96 Crystal St, Petersham. Tickets are available through www.mca-tix.com/festival.asp?fID=66.

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