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celebrating diversities, embodying resistances

Rough Edges invites proposals for documentary films that explore and visibilise

our diverse, lived experiences, expressions and reflections

as women, trans and queer persons, across identities and locations.

Submissions are now closed.
The review
process is underway and we hope to announce selections by mid-May 2023.

commissioning brief

Inherent to our most intimate desires, work and leisure, access to the street, to education, to justice, to love and laughter, experiences of illness and care and everything in between and beyond, is the deeply gendered nature of our lives. In its supposed absence is the omnipresence of gender, coding into our bodies, beings and structures, rigid, aggressive scripts of identity, expression and behaviour, which define, limit and control us. Operating in communion with strictures of caste, class, religion, sexuality, ethnicity and ableism, these patriarchal codes resonate across our complex, myriad realities, near and far, inside and outside, personal and political.


In the name of love, honour, hate, shame, morality, purity, these systems of inequality and coercion, running across family, community and nation, keep us from being who we are and hope to become, burdening us with their constant reiteration. As women, trans and queer persons, we navigate fragile lives between adherence and rebellion, the assertion of our slightest autonomy enough to threaten these imposing, well-ordered networks. This customarily sanctions our taming, often seamlessly translating into violence – in homes, streets, court rooms, in the midst of mobs, work places, universities, popular culture and on social media. Some bodies regulated because they ‘need to be protected’ and others because they are too ‘dishonourable’. Spoken to, spoken of and spoken for, our voices, knowledge and experiences are routinely overlooked, dismissed and erased. We inherit and pass on the said and the unsaid expected of us.


But we also break through, despite the restrictions and breach these codes, unsettle them, sometimes by just being. Enabled by the struggles of those who make our battles possible, our diverse resistances, both individual and collective, reframe our words and worlds to acknowledge our realities, challenges, dreams, vulnerabilities and choices. Inhabiting and asserting a spectrum of identities and beings is our everyday mutiny against hegemonic, stifling notions of body, mind, skin, size, attire, love, labour, livelihood, faith and desire.


There remain persisting inequalities and hostilities to counter and negotiate, but also the relief of our feminist affirmation, of other ways of looking, imagining, being, loving and living. How do we truly belong to ourselves and our bodies, families and communities, create them, love them, claim our desires and speech; be comfortable with our abilities and disabilities; shape our resistances; challenge everyday inequalities, sexism, misogyny; confront our privileges; acknowledge our roles in larger cultures of exclusion and violence; heal from routine attacks on communities and celebrate our freedoms, diversities, joys and solidarities? How do we reclaim our days and nights, stories and histories, imagine better futures and secure the standing?


It is this hope, agency, turmoil, intricacy, rage and passion that we intend these films to evoke and bring alive, with nuance, depth and texture. We seek films inspired by peoples’ lived experiences and their readings of their worlds, aspirations, fears, pains, fantasies, transgressions and tales of love, courage and resilience. Stories that reflect, question, compel, disrupt and contest dominant, claustrophobic and homogenising polarities, injunctions and stereotypes, contributing to the expanding political and artistic discourse around gendered realities, individual and collective lives, memories, moments, complexities and possibilities. To be seen. To be heard. To count.

fellowship notes

  • The Fellowships are open to women, trans and queer filmmakers, resident in India, who may apply as individuals, collectives or in partnerships. Applicants are at liberty to propose and work with co-applicants, collaborators and team members, irrespective of how they identify. We especially encourage voices belonging to groups marginalised on the basis of their caste, class, disability, religion, ethnicity, work and/ or region. 

  • We welcome a wide spectrum of ideas and subjects that employ gender and/ or sexuality as the primary lens for intersecting and overlapping explorations and reflections.

  • We encourage innovative formats and treatments that best complement your artistic vision.

  • The proposed projects may range from 07 to 25 minutes in duration.

  • They may be in any language - those that most intricately capture the specificities and depths of their subjects. In the interest of outreach, the final films will need to carry subtitles in English.

  • Budgets can go up to a maximum of Rs 2,00,000/-, though Fellowship amounts will vary across projects, based on their specific demands.

  • An Applicant/ team of Applicants can submit only one proposal for consideration under this Call.

  • In the case of commissioning, Applicants commit to completing their films in a period of six-seven months, roughly around October 2023.

  • Filmmakers will have creative autonomy and author rights over their films. The projects will be developed in dialogue with the Rough Edges Team and possibly other mentors, whose insights could contribute to the artistic process and its outcomes.

proposal submission terms

  • Rough Edges is not bound to honour incomplete proposals, those that do not reach us or reach us after the submission deadline.

  • Rough Edges will not be responsible should multiple proposals explore similar ideas. We may select any or none of them.

  • The decision of Rough Edges on the selection of projects will be final.

Details of Uncode Fellowships awarded earlier are available here

Rough Edges
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