LIFT FOUNDATION ANNOUNCES:NATIONAL CHARITY PREMIERE AND SCREENING OF THE MOVIE “KHEJDI” IN BANGKOK
THAILAND-INDIA COLLABORATIVE PSA MUSIC VIDEO STARRING BOLLYWOOD ACTOR, ASHISH SHARMA AND ANNE JAKKAPHRONG TO RAISE PUBLIC AWARENESS, UNDERSTANDING AND INCLUSIVITY FOR TRANSSEXUALS IN THAILAND
LIFT Foundation proudly announces its first charity fundraiser with "Khejdi," a critically-acclaimed film that will make it its global premiere in Thailand on July 18, 2019, Infinicity Hall, Level 5, Paragon , Bangkok.
Set in a remote village in Rajasthan, the film tells the story of Khejdi, an intersex baby, born to the village's only ayurvedic doctor, Baidji. To protect his child from being snatched away by a community of transgender women to sing and dance and beg for a living, Baidji scares the villagers by telling them that the girl is unlucky, and if anyone sees Khejdi's face, his family will be completely destroyed. Baidji also tells Khejdi that she will contract a deadly virus if she ever steps outside.
Eighteen years pass and Khejdi grows up within those walls surrounded only by ayurvedic herbs and texts. One day, while putting a nail on the wall, a small chunk of the wall breaks away and through the peep hole, Khejdi starts exploring the world outside and sees for her first time, naked human bodies aside from her own. This makes her question her own identity and asks her father. Feeling the pain of his only child, Baidji gives in and tells her the truth about her gender and the horrors that await her outside. He then fixes a marriage for Khejdi with Mangal, who is sexually impotent. The marital night presents a dramatic climax as both Mangal and Khejdi reveal the truth to each other. Slowly, Khejdi becomes the most sought-after ayurvedic doctor of the village and she becomes renowned as a "goddess" for her healing arts. Just when everything seems to go fine, the truth of Khejdi's secret comes out.
"While writing and filming for Khejdi, I got to know the thought process of the society and transgender people equally. It's got to be a two-way street — the society needs to be accepting and accommodating, but even the transgender people need to embrace their identity with grace," says Ashish Sharma, who stars in the lead role and co-wrote the screenplay with his wife, Archana Taide Sharma. "During the process of shooting the film, we saw the real conditions transgender persons live in, the atrocities, the discrimination and the myths that surround them. It shook us from within. We knew it's time we told a story from the trans people's point-of-view."
Thailand's screening follows the film's recent North American premiere at the Dallas Fort Worth South Asian Film Festival in May 18, 2019, and at the 14th Habitat Film Festival at New Delhi's India Habitat Centre, 25 May 2019. The film premiered at KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival 2018. It was the Inaugural Film of Country Focus India at the festival. KASHISH is South Asia's biggest LGBTQ Film Festival. Additionally, "Khejdi" was the opening film at Homochrom Filmfest, Germany. The film had its German Premiere on 16th October 2018.
Venue: Infinicity Halls for Pre-screening event Level 5 Paragon Cineplex (5pm) , Movie shows at Paragon Cineplex theater 13 & 14, Level 6, Siam Paragon, Bangkok (7pm)
JKN Global Media will donate its share of ticket sales towards LIFT Foundation Scholarships and Education Support Program for transsexuals in Thailand.
LIFT Foundation will also unveil "I Wanna Touch The Sky" PSA music video at the "Khejdi" premiere charity event.
"I Wanna Touch The Sky is a landmark initiative and a very special project. What started as search for an effective medium to reach out to audiences for our social advocacy program became a collaboration with our friends in India who shared our mission to cultivate empathy and greater understanding for transgenderism and transsexualism. We hope that it will be a popular hit on the airwaves; wherever the music video appears; that it is shared and reposted again and again on social media. Its popularity carries our dream and our mission to break down social barriers for a caring, more inclusive society in Thailand, India or anywhere in the world. We humbly appeal to one and all to share our vision and to participate with this outreach." -- Jern Jern, President, LIFT Foundation
Specially composed, the rousing pop number will also be used as the anthem for LIFT Foundation's "I Wanna Touch The Sky" Campaign. Written by popular Indian composer, Saurabh Kalsi, "I Wanna Touch The Sky" will air from July on JKN Dramax channel and on all global social media platforms. It will be performed in English by renowned Bollywood playback singer, Shilpa Surroch.
The video's concept is by Archana Taide Sharma. It casts Bollywood's rising star, Ashish Sharma alongside Anne Jakrajutatip, JKN's CEO and Managing Director. Anne appears in the video in a barren landscape chained to a lifeless Khejri tree (a flowering pea tree common in India and Western Asia; and featured in the film, Khejdi). She is unable to escape and she belts out her predicament. Ashish Sharma comes to her rescue carrying a rainbow flag, smashing the chain to set her free. The scene changes to various settings and locations, including the Eiffel Tower in Paris, a pyramid in Egypt, a beautiful palace in India; with Ashish racing across these continents carrying the rainbow flag. This is interjected with poignant scenes from the film, Khejdi; and with Anne appearing in a dramatic surrealistic seascape in a show-stopping gown as an artificial rainbow forms above her. The video climaxes in a Dali desert with a rock formation, overhanging with pots labelled with derogatory names and hateful terms. Anne continues to express angst, pain and hope with her gestures in yet another divinely glamorous gown. Ashish reappears next to her, and starts to smash the pots. Rich in symbolism, the music video is a metaphorical representation of the world we live in, where Anne represents the transsexual community, and Ashish represents society; and the surrealistic landscape Anne appears in portraying the barriers - whether social or self-imposed - the community faces. Her beautiful stylized performance thus becomes a reference to the stereotypical roles that society accords to transsexuals. In the last scene, the two actors walk away with determination. As discrimination and stigmas, represented by the pots, explode; the Khejdi tree representing humanity, springs its leaves.
A Thai version of the song, to be performed by Thai pop star, Mariam Grey will be launched in an extravaganza to be held in Bangkok, at the end of 2019. It will target the year-end holiday season as part of LIFT Foundation's year-long social advocacy outreach program. More details will be announced in the coming months.
Life Inspired for Transsexuals Foundation (LIFT) is a non-profit foundation registered in August 14, 2018. LIFT Foundation believes in equality for women and men, regardless of their gender at birth to have equal opportunities in education, marriage and employment and be accorded all civil rights in Thailand. We are dedicated to remove all gender-based barriers to allow transgenders in the Kingdom to develop their potential to the fullest and realize their personal visions and hopes. We do this in the following ways:
Advocating greater understanding, de-stigmatization and acceptance of transgenders in Thailand.
Push to legalize the change of gender titles to match the physical status after sex reassignment surgery.
Education and training for transgender to pursue a more meaningful and fulfilling professions that will contribute to the good of Thai Society, including funding of scholarships and educational support for essential life skills.
JKN Global Media Public Company Limited (JKN) is Thailand's leading global content distribution and broadcast company. JKN distributes content from Asia (specializing content from India and the Philippines) in Thailand through digital TV, cable satellite, OTT Platforms, publishing and merchandising. JKN, together with its subsidiaries also engages in content distribution and licensing management business globally. It additionally provides advertising services, including airtime media buying service, produces television programs, events and distributes feature films in Thailand. JKN's business units include:
JKN Channel Co., Ltd owns and operates JKN Dramax, a cable and satellite TV channel focusing on Asian Fantasy, Hollywood Hits & Super Show. It produces the highly popular "Anne Show" and mega showcase events in Thailand.
JKN IMC Co., Ltd., provides integrated marketing solutions including advertising, production and airtime media buys.
JKN News Co., Ltd., produces global financial news and business updates in Thai language from its licensed partnership with CNBC.