Indian short film Sheer Qorma has picked big at the 34th Connecticut LGBTQ Film Festival, winning the Best Short Film audience award. The film has a female-led cast, starring actors Swara Bhasker, Divya Dutta and Shabana Azmi.
Director Faraz Arif Ansari, reacting to the festival win, tells SheThePeople, “There are no words that I can put together to possibly explain the love I am feeling right now. Winning an audience award at a queer film festival feels like a giant, warm embrace from the queer community.”
Sharing news of their win on social media, Ansari wrote, “Out of 83 short films in competition from over the world, we received highest audience score.” Dutta and Bhasker too have recognised the win on their Twitter accounts.
WE WON! 🏆 #SheerQorma wins the BEST SHORT FILM, Audience Award at the 34th Connecticut LGBT Film Festival @OutFilmCT 🏳️🌈🇺🇸
Out of 83 short films in competition from over the world, we received highest audience score 🌈🧿 @MARIJKEdeSOUZA @AzmiShabana @divyadutta25 @ReallySwara pic.twitter.com/VxqHRisv5L
— Faraz Arif Ansari (@futterwackening) June 29, 2021
Established in 1988, the Connecticut LGBTQ Film Festival is the longest-running film festival in the US state. Hosted by Out Film CT, it annually recognises art and film in the queer space. Local reports have held it up as “the most diverse film festival in the region.”
Short Film Sheer Qorma Wins: Director Dedicates It To Queer Folks Worldwide
Sheer Qorma tells the story of same-sex love between Bhasker and Dutta’s characters. In the film, the two are based in Canada, with one an Indian and the other Pakistani. The short had its world premiere earlier this year at the BAFTA Qualifying Frameline: San Francisco International LGBTQ+ Film Festival. Read here.
Ansari, who also directed the 2017 silent queer film Sisak, gushed further about their win: “In 2017, my film, Sisak had won the honourable mention at this festival and today, we’ve won. The universe is being so kind. I want to dedicate this award to all the queer folks across the world who do not have access to safe spaces. I extend our win in solidarity to them.”
In a previous interview, Ansari had impressed upon the lack of real, authentic queer representation in India’s mainstream film space. “These days most of the queer content in India has been created by cishet people. And I think that is a major issue because it lacks sensitivity, it lacks depth, it lacks representation, it lacks inclusion, and it lacks diversity,” they said.