Rangayan opts for crowdfunding for LGBT film

Jul 03, 2012, 07:39 IST | IANS

Filmmaker Sridhar Rangayan Monday launched crowdfunding initiative to raise funds to complete his documentary "Breaking Free", highlighting the woes of the Indian LGBT community. It coincides with the third anniversary of decriminalisation of homosexuality in the country.

A feature-length documentary, "Breaking Free" gives voice to those who were tortured under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) that criminalised homosexuality in India till July 2, 2009. Almost 70 percent of the film has been extensively shot over five years in Mumbai, Bangalore and capital, and the remaining shooting is yet to be done in August-September and post-production in October-November.

Now funds are being raised for it through online platform - Wishberry, a gifting site with a section offering crowdfunding.  There are incentives for contributors, like film credits, DVDs and invite to premiere of the film. "This film has to be made, and it has to be made now. It is a film about the law, about us, our struggle to break free," Rangayan, who has been shooting for this film for the past five years, said in a press statement.

"We need your help and support - be a part of the film, be a part of the movement - contribute and spread the word," added the filmmaker, who is also behind the annual Kashish Mumbai International Queer Film Festival - the country's only mainstream LGBT movie extravaganza.

"Breaking Free" explores a gamut of stories -- Kokila, a eunuch gang-raped by goons, but refused justice and brutalised by the police; Urmi and Gauri - two transgenders who are regularly arrested and threatened; a gay man who was arrested, raped and beaten up; and Pottai, an eunuch from south India, who committed suicide due to harassment and torture.

The filmmaker also hopes to interview social activists and opinion builders, lawyers and the chief justice who passed the 2009 verdict along with those that have constantly opposed decriminalisation of homosexuality, for the film. Saagar Gupta, partner in Solaris Pictures, the production company that has till now self-funded the film, says that the "the story has the power to catalyse change".

"And we envision 'Breaking Free' as a tool for advocacy - to spread greater awareness about the law and the history of the legal battle; to underline the opinions of civil society and policy makers; and to spotlight the struggle of the LGBTQ community," he added. 

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