by Suman Gupta
Asia’s first LGBT film streaming platform, GagaOOLala, will officially launch in India this Friday, June 14th. The Taiwanese OTT platform is expanding into the 8 territories that constitute South Asia, adding up to a total of 21 countries across the continent and one third of the global population.
GagaOOLala is starting its journey in India with 377 LGBT titles available (although it will reach 400+ by the end of the month), 377 stories to celebrate the repeal of the law that banned homosexual acts in the country, and that was finally removed from the penal code on September, 2018. Among its catalog, GagaOOLala will feature many exclusive queer content never distributed in India before, including international box office hits, such as the recent Taiwanese gay/lesbian family drama Bao Bao; film festival award winners, like last year’s Thai entry for the Academy Awards Malila: The Farewell Flower and the Filipino transgender drama Those Long Haired Nights; exclusive short films from filmmakers from around the world; classic series such as Queer as Folk and new hidden gems like the multi-awarded French LGBT-activist series Les Engagés and the first Singaporean gay series People Like Us. In addition, GagaOOLala has a diverse and growing slate of original content and, this year, it will produce its first original in India as part of the new season of Queer Asia. After having shooting episodes in 5 other different countries in the region, the docu-series Queer Asia will explore the uniqueness of the LGBT culture in India and the stories inside the community. In order to do so, GagaOOLala is looking for local producers, filmmakers and creators to collaborate and bring these stories to life.
KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival, the largest queer film festival in India, has also recently signed a 3-year collaboration agreement with GagaOOLala. The Taiwanese platform will sponsor the Best International Short Film Award during the period of the collaboration, as well as offering a distribution deal to each year’s winner. Moreover, a selection of the best short Indian films ever screened at KASHISH will be available on GagaOOLala to all Asia, under the brand “Best of KASHISH”. GagaOOLala founder, Jay Lin, expressed that “India is changing rapidly. What seemed impossible one year ago is now a reality, thanks to events like this film festival and the people behind it. For almost a decade KASHISH has brought the best local and international LGBT films to the cinemas of Mumbai building up an amazing community. Through this partnership, GagaOOLala wants to bring these diverse stories to the rest of India and Asia, to places where queer film festivals are still unthinkable. We are also looking for local film projects to collaborate with, projects where to combine creative elements from South and Southeast Asia and distribute globally.”
The platform is one of the five members of the Marriage Equality Coalition Taiwan, a lobby that has pushed for same-sex marriage rights in the island for years. On May 17th, Taiwan became the first country in Asia to pass the same-sex marriage bill. Now, GagaOOLala looks forward to spread the strength of the Taiwanese LGBT community, and help push for more equal rights in India and in the rest of Asia through the power of the stories in its films.
GagaOOLala is currently available in 21 territories (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam), and it currently offers two types of memberships: a limited free one, and an unlimited VIP membership for 390 Rupees. The platform also updates new content every week.
Best of KASHISH: https://www.gagaoolala.com/en/topic/71/the-best-of-kashish-2019
Promo video: https://youtu.be/0grH5GgVuzg