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Abhimani European Film Festival for Colombo PRIDE 2018


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The Abhimani European Film Festival for Colombo PRIDE, organised by LGBTIQ+ advocacy organisation EQUAL GROUND, launched on 28 June. The Festival is supported by the Delegation of the European Union (EU) to Sri Lanka and the Maldives and a number of European Missions based in Colombo and New Delhi. The festival was opened by Chief Guest Nimmi Harasgama.

The festival, which ran from 29 June to 1 July at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute auditorium, showcased 17 critically-acclaimed, LGBTIQ+ themed films from Europe and Asia. 

Speaking at the launch of the festival, Chargé d’affaires of EU Delegation, Paul Godfrey said, “LGBTIQ rights remain largely unrecognised in Sri Lanka and of course legal discrimination remains encoded in Sri Lankan law. This government has made a number of significant and important advances in human rights, but sadly ending discrimination against LGBTIQ people has not been one of them. The Abhimani European Film Festival is a celebration of our common humanity. The EU hopes that the festival will help showcase that lesbian and gay people around the world live normal lives, having the same successes, emotions and challenges that we all share.”

Executive Director of EQUAL GROUND, Rosanna Flamer-Caldera said, “For 135 years the LGBTIQ community has struggled under the yoke of colonial laws. These discriminatory laws have prevented the many men, women, and trans persons, all Sri Lankan citizens, from being productive and contributing members of society. This has to change. By highlighting our issues through Colombo PRIDE annually, we aim to bring attention to the many violations that take place based on just who one loves. This film festival highlights the peaks and valleys of Queer life in different countries–some good, some bad. However, the underlying theme is that freedom and dignity belong to all persons regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. Our issues must be given the space it deserves to bring attention to those who ignore or are ignorant that LGBTIQ rights are human rights.”

The Abhimani European Film Festival featured films from Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Spain, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Finland, Sweden, the UK, and Switzerland, as well as from India, Tonga, Taiwan, and Australia. This year’s festival brought together the European Film Festival, which promotes cultural exchanges between Europe and Sri Lanka, and the Abhimani Queer Film Festival, which celebrates and fosters an appreciation of LGBTIQ+ film.  


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