3rd i’s 13th Annual San Francisco International
South Asian Film Festival
Oct 22-25 in San Francisco; Nov 1 in Palo Alto
From art-house classics to documentaries, from innovative and experimental visions to cutting-edge Bollywood, 3rd i Films is committed to promoting diverse images of South Asians through independent film.
Taking a cue from last year’s focus on music, our Opening Night film this year documents the remarkable musical border-crossings of the ‘Mozart of Madras’. JAI HO, by Umesh Aggarwal, examines the spectacular career of Bollywood’s living legend A.R.Rahman –– from his first collaborations with director Mani Ratnam in the Tamil film industry to working with Andrew Lloyd Webber in London. This film premiered earlier this year at the American Museum of the Moving Image, and most recently found its way to a screening inside the White House.
This year’s festival celebrates life, love and liberty with a Focus on Freedoms, which brings us inspiring stories from the front lines of the struggle for gender equality. Two short docs, Harjant Gill’s MARDISTAN (India) and Prasanna Vithanage’s SILENCE IN THE COURTS (Sri Lanka), take a gender-integrated approach to the issue of sexual violence by examining how men and masculinities are embedded in this problem. SF-based Nyna Caputi’s empowering doc, PETALS IN THE DUST, explores the cultural origins of gender violence, and profiles the unimaginable stories of brave survivors. The program will play in Palo Alto, and will be followed by a panel discussion on the freedoms and futures of women in India.
Sri Lankan stories also become the focus of our Friday Night Feature – DHEEPAN. Winner of the Palme D’Or, the highest honor at the Cannes Film Festival this year, the film by Jacques Audiard (A Prophet) chronicles the lives of three new Sri Lankan immigrants – former Tamil tigers – to the Parisian suburbs.
The focus also examines the legacy of freedom for India and Pakistan – both historically, and in the present. Our VOICES OF PARTITION program will address the former through a screening of A THIN WALL, a documentary by Mara Ahmed that examines memory, history and the possibility of reconciliation. The film will be followed by a panel discussion featuring first-person accounts from Partition witnesses, organized in collaboration with the 1947 Partition Archive. Our presentation of Vishal Bharadwaj’s HAIDER, at the Castro Theatre, examines the continuing conundrum of Kashmir through a masterful adaptation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet that transposes the action to this war-torn region.
As always, Indie narratives find a place on the program with a digitally restored print of Kamal Swaroop’s 1988 cult classic OM-DAR-BA-DAR which has been described as the ‘great Indian LSD trip’; Aditya Vikram Sengupta’s tour-de-force LABOR OF LOVE, a unique cinematic experience that won him the Best Young Director award at the 2014 Venice Film Festival; and Oscar-winning director Danis Tanovic’s (No Man’s Land) political thriller TIGERS, based on the true story of a young Pakistani salesman’s battle against corporate greed featuring Bollywood star Emraan Hashmi (The Dirty Picture) and National Award-winning actress Geetanjali Thapa (Liar’s Dice).
Comedies – both of the Bollywood and indie varieties – find a place on the program: Rajkumar Hirani’s inter-stellar offering, PK, features Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan as an inquisitive space alien who lands on earth with chaotic and comedic consequences, while M. Manikandan’s THE CROW’S EGG, a hit at the 2014 Toronto Film Festival, is an energetic and entertaining Tamil-language feature that chronicles the adventures of two mischievous young brothers on their quest for pizza! And there’s home-grown comedy as well – with a ‘secret’ screening of Tanuj Chopra’s as yet untitled [BROWN GIRL STONER FILM]. The film features stand-out performances by Pia Shah and Emily C. Chang, who play two young women stuck in a park in L.A., with a giant bag of weed! The screening event includes a talkback with the entire cast and crew of the film, and will be followed by a closing night event at DOSA (on Fillmore St.).
Finally, Chicago-based writer/performer Fawzia Mirza brings a queer perspective to the festival with her live performance ME, MY MOM, AND SHARMILA, a hilarious and heartbreaking coming-of-age story peppered with personal anecdotes, pop culture and more! Two of her short films, THE FIRST SESSION and RECLAIMING PAKISTAN, are also featured in the shorts program COAST TO COAST: MUMBAI TO THE MISSION which offers us outstanding profiles of culture, celebration, courage and change!
Passes (from $30-$125) to the festival will go on sale September 16, and tickets to individual films ($10 online) will go on sale September 23, when the complete schedule will be announced. Earlybird discounts (20% off) will apply for the first few weeks of online sales. Tickets at the door will cost $13. Sponsorship options are available, starting at $200. More information about the festival, including expanded program, guest, and ticketing information, is available on our website at: www.thirdi.org