Picture Courtesy Sophie Roy
Asawari Jagushte is an director, producer, editor, and QPOC change maker based in Mumbai. Asawari is a co-founder, Executive, and Creative Producer at Star Hopper, a trans-led film production company with a primary focus on creating and curating narratives that are brown, queer and women-led. Asawari served on the Direction Jury for the D&AD Awards in 2021 and 2022, the most prestigious benchmark for creative excellence in Design and Advertising.
With a Masters in Film from London Film School and a Masters in Experimental Film from Kingston University, UK, Asawari's work has garnered global recognition and appreciation. Their first directorial short 'The Housemaids', that they directed & produced was acquired by Pramod Films (India) and has since been on Amazon Prime (UK/USA) and Disney + Hotstar (India). The film is currently streaming on Jio Cinema (India) and has official selctions at Women make Waves, Taiwan 2018, Bangalore Queer Film Festival 2019, IAWRT Asian Women’s Film Festival 2019.
Their film, 'Dionysian Rhapsody' was screened at the ICA (UK) & White Chappel Gallery (UK) in 2014. 'Bodies of Desire', a short film they produced and spearheaded, is currently being curated by Nowness, Nowness Asia and Girls in Film. The film gained prominence through #FiveFilmsForFreedom 2021 by BFI Flare and the British Council, securing accolades such as the Best International Short Special Jury Award at RIO Festival De Cinema LGBTQIA+ 2021, and Best Music Video award at the Global Indian Film Festival. Bodies of Desire has had official selections at over 60 prestigious film festivals like BFI Flare, Fringe! Queer Fest UK, Outfest LA, and Berlin Commercials. "After So Long // बरसों बाद" a visual poetry they produced and edited is currently in festival rounds and has already been picked by Nowness Asia and Girls in Film. In teh past, Asawari has directed branded films for organisations like Anat, Shaadi.com, Cipla, Unilever, VH1, and Fox Star Studios.
Aside from producing films, Asawari also collaborates as a filmmaker, artist and a photographer with interdisciplinary artists and organisations who work towards experimenting and breaking the confines of their traditional art forms to find a language that is collective, engaging and immersive. They have so far worked with artists and organisations like British Council (Wales/UK), The Ahhhness of Things (UK), Shakera Ahad (UK), Meta Arts, The Company Theatre (India), Serendipity Arts Festival (India), Clowns without Borders (Sweden), and Rupesh Tillu (India).
As a curator, Asawari focuses on works of-and-by marginalised communities. They curated a film club, poetry and music nights with Anat - a queer platform for queer artists that they cofounded. During Pride Month in 2020, Asawari curated a photography series themed 'Questioning Masculinities' for Social (the Bar) in partnership with One Future Collective. Additionally, Asawari curates moving-image sessions and co-runs the Underground Film Observatory (UFO) within Star Hopper, elevating works of under-represented South Asian filmmakers and artists.
Asawari is a Cultural Management in the Digital Age (2020) fellow, in association with Goethe Institute, Mumbai, and ArtX Company and a BeFantastic Fellow (2021) supported by Goethe-Institut Mumbai and Zentrum für Kunst und Medien ZKM, Karlsruhe.
As a trans neurodivergent filmmaker, Asawari finds life more than what meets the eye. On a mission to bring more south asian non binary, trans, intersex, gender diverse and women representation in the forefront of our current visual culture, Asawari wants to capture the essence of what contemporary India could look like. Films and visual arts are how they navigate themself in fostering transformative and safe spaces that are diverse, inclusive, innovative, interactive and modern.