About BQFF


Mattresses, movies and madness – the Bangalore Queer Film Festival (BQFF), perhaps the largest film festival to deal with LGBT themes in the south, is a yearly fixture in Bangalore’s cultural calendar. Run entirely by volunteers – a small group of friends – the festival is committed to the circulation of good queer cinema, including films from non-Western locations, films by independent filmmakers, popular cinema that experiments with LGBT concerns, and experimental films that push aesthetic limits. BQFF has brought, and will continue to bring films for and by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and other communities that fall outside the heterosexual norm.

The BQFF is relatively unique in the queer subculture of India, since the only other festival of comparable scale takes place in the city of the Mumbai. There is indeed a South India focus at the BQFF. Over the last nine years, each edition of the festival has had between 1000 and 1500 registered participants, who have entered free and often donated their own money to sustain and keep the festival going. 

Yet, films have only been one part of the festival, which brings to Bangalore many other forms of art. One major aspect has been the performances, very often by members of the LGBT community. BQFF performances are a stage for non-professional performers to showcase dance, music or theatre. 

There is a spirit of trial and error, humour, and bawdiness in these performances, making them some of the best attended events of the festival with loud and raucous audience participation. Any image of film festivals as a purely silent space and studied nonchalance simply goes away during BQFF performances. This intense audience participation helps create a sense of the city’s progressive and LGBT community — something that is difficult to gauge except at events like BQFF or queer pride. 

Another important aspect of the festival has been photography and art exhibitions accompanying the film screenings.  The decade or so of BQFF has also coincided with a spike in the visibility of queer arts and culture in India. Over the years, audience members have narrated moving personal stories about BQFF: that this was the first space they came out as LGBT; or the first place they went on a date with someone of the same gender; or the first space they could cross dress and feel at home. 

For a sense of our previous festivals look at the links below: