Kashish Mumbai International Queer Film Festival is now under way on its 2020 edition, as the city remains in lockdown due to the spread of coronavirus. Now in its 11th year, Kashish is South Asia’s biggest LGBTQIA+ themed film festival.

The newly christened Kashish 2020 Virtual will screen 157 films from 42 countries, of which 52 compete in nine competition categories. The festival runs July 22-30.

The films competing in the narrative features category include “Fireflies” (India), “Gossamer Folds” (U.S.), “Margin Of Error” (Argentina), “Music For Bleeding Hearts” (Brazil) and “Stray Dolls” (U.S.). Films competing in the best documentary feature category include “Changing The Game” (U.S.), “Making Sweet Tea” (U.S.), “March For Dignity” (Georgia, U.K.), “One Taxi Ride” (Mexico), and “Surviving The Silence” (U.S.).

“It is a great encouragement to filmmakers who have made these films under challenging circumstances, sometimes in countries where being LGBTQ is still dangerous,” said festival director Sridhar Rangayan. “These films are diverse and tell very unique stories, representing the entire LGBTQIA+ spectrum.”

The festival’s international narrative short award is sponsored by Gol Studios, a production platform launched by Taiwan-based Portico Media, a sister operation of GagaOOLala, Asia’s first LGBT-focused OTT platform.

The festival is also collaborating with Lotus Visual for the Kashish QDrishti Film Grant that offers INR200,000 ($2,680) to an Indian filmmaker to make their next LGBTQIA+ narrative short.

“In these challenging times, the role of film festivals and filmmakers are more important than ever, to bring people and communities together through storytelling,” said Portico founder Jay Lin. India has more than 1.2 million recorded cases of COVID-19 and 30,000 deaths.