Thursday evening marked the opening night gala of the Seattle South Asian Film Festival, which brings audiences meaningful and thought-provoking cinema with a focus on social issues. The film festival is produced by Tasveer, a non-profit with a mission to cultivate the artistic work of South Asians. In its tenth year, #SSAFF2015 runs for 12 days from October 15 through 25 with venues in five cities in the greater Seattle area. For complete details on the films, schedule, tickets, venues and more visit the festival’s website. This post offers an overview of a few of the festival highlights at this year’s Seattle South Asian Film Festival.
— Sheraz Malik (@Shahkaal) October 16, 2015
Opening night films at SSAFF included a short film by Sai Selvarajan with watercolor visuals that takes viewers to India and Queens, New York, into the story of two brothers. Narrated by comedian Hari Kondabolu, Sugarless Tea can be viewed online. Another opening night film, For Here or to Go?, by Rucha Humnabadkar, examines the dilemma of a young Silicon Valley software professional whose work visa is running out, against the backdrop of the 2008 recession.
The Politics of Filmmaking In South Asia
A two-day symposium on Monday October 19 and Tuesday October 20 in collaboration with the South Asia Center at the University of Washington is an important part of the festival’s programming, with the aim of opening up a conversation on the politics of filmmaking on human rights violations in South Asia. Scholarly presentations, and conversations and interviews with filmmakers seek to bridge the gap between academia and community. Screenings at the symposium include documentary films directed by Thenmozhi Soundararajan and Fawzia Afzal-Khan. Soundararajan’s #DalitWomenFight follows a courageous band of Dalit women who spearhead a bold national campaign to end caste-based sexual violence in India. Afzal-Khan’s Nightingales of Pakistan looks at how throughout Pakistan’s turbulent history as an Islamic state, its female singers have been both honored and reviled.
Download the program for a complete schedule of the symposium’s panels and events.
The film festival hopes to encourage members of the Seattle community to share their own memories and stories of Partition through its October 25th presentation of two films about the Partition and Q&A with the filmmakers. In A Thin Wall, art, animation, music and literary writing infuse a documentary shot in Pakistan and India by filmmakers Mara Ahmed and Surbhi Dewan. Peace, Daal & Partition, directed by Paisley Smith, is a documentary of attempts to bring together three generations of her family to heal the wounds of Partition and explain painful histories. From her director’s statement:
While shooting in Vancouver, I resisted making a film about my family, and often steered interviews towards a food related history. The film we ended up making is personal, it’s emotional, it’s sincere. In a way, it’s exactly what I tried to avoid making by focusing on food and history. It is extremely hard to be vulnerable. It’s a lot easier to avoid the truth, to be cynical, and to move on without addressing the past. This is the film. It’s about my family.
For the full schedule of the largest South Asian film festival in the country, click the image below to enlarge your view and of course visit http://ssaff.tasveer.org/2015/ for tickets and more information!