The Kasi 2 Kasi Queer Cinema film festival is currently underway, but this year there’s a major difference in delivery.
For its first two years, the festival presented live screenings in rural and township settings to facilitate discussions about LGBTQI narratives. This year it’s gone online – partly to deal with the challenges of Covid-19, but mostly to broaden its reach.
One of the festival’s producers, Nhlanhla Ndaba, tells DRUM the decision to go online wasn’t taken lightly but rather with a longer-term view of the work they do.
“If you look at the structure of our festival, we target people in rural communities and townships. So, taking it online has isolated our primary market, but it has also opened up a door to a broader community that’s now becoming aware of this festival,” he says. “The premise isn’t to kill the festival’s physical contact events, but to grow the audience it educates.”
The organisers also hope the new reach will allow them to expand their resources so they can do things on a larger scale post-Covid-19.
Ndaba says their primary target has been townships because this is where the majority of hate crimes and misconceptions about LGBTQI people are perpetuated.
“The biggest challenge to raising awareness in these communities is breaking existing beliefs erected by religion, culture and societal constructs,” he says. “So when we can change those perspectives, we are halfway to changing people’s lives and ensuring they feel safer in the communities in which they live.”
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The festival features films and documentaries about individuals with different sexual orientations. At the end of each screening, the team facilitates discussions with community members about the issues highlighted in the films to educate and broaden understanding of the LGBTQI community.
“This year we’re having Q&A sessions with the directors that we will be posting on our website,” Ndaba says.
With a target audience age of between 12 and 70 years, he admits a more commercial and easily accessible medium like mainstream television would be the ideal place to screen their work. However, he says the challenge with television is that the culture is fixated on telling one-dimensional stories about the LGBTQI community.