Desi Cinema: South Asian Film Festival
From art-house classics to documentary films, innovative and experimental visions to next-level Bollywood, the South Asian Film Festival had it all. A Siliconeer report.
Nandita Das in "Ramchand Pakistani."
The 2008 San Francisco International South Asian Film Festival opened Nov. 13 at the Brava Theatre in San Francisco’s Mission District, according to press release from organizers 3rd I.
“From art-house classics to documentary films, innovative and experimental visions to next-level Bollywood, 3rd I is committed to promoting diverse images of South Asians through independent film,” said the press release. “This year the festival will showcase films from India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, and from the South Asian diaspora in South Africa, UK and the USA.”
This year the festival expanded to four days and two venues: Brava Theater, Thursday & Friday, Nov. 13 & 14; and at the Castro Theater, Saturday & Sunday, Nov. 15 & 16.
A scene from “Slumdog Millionaire.”
The opening night featured two California-based filmmakers: local filmmaker Saqib Mausoof brings his film Kala Pul (Black Bridge); and Kissing Cousins by Amyn Kaderali (Bay Area-born, now Los Angeles based).
Other highlights included: Ramchand Pakistani by Mehreen Jabbar which screened to acclaim at the Tribeca Film Festival. The film is based on a true event, about a Pakistani Hindu boy and his father who accidentally cross the border into India from their village in Pakistan and spent five years in an Indian prison. The filmmaker lives in New York, and is available for phone interviews.
Bombay-based documentarian Nishtha Jain returned to the festival with her latest offering, Lakshmi and Me, a candid look at class issues in a rapidly modernizing India. Jain will be present for a Q & A at the festival. Also screening is Vishal Bhardwaj’s Maqbool, a masterful reworking of Shakespeare’s Macbeth set in the Bombay underworld, starring Irrfan Khan.
A scene from "Maqbool."
In addition, the festival had several co-productions with the US, Denmark, France & Germany, including a screening of the stunningly restored print (by the BFI) of the 1929 film A Throw of Dice (Pranpancha Pash) with a remarkable new score by Nitin Sawhney.
3rd I is a non-profit, national organization committed to promoting diverse images of South Asians through independent film. We represent filmmakers and audiences from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, The Maldives, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tibet, and the South Asian Diaspora. We support our mission by providing film screenings, filmmaking courses, networking resources, and a distribution channel for the South Asian-American film community and our audiences.