The 11th edition of our homegrown Seattle South Asian Film Festival (SSAFF) opens on October 14. The 11-day festival produced by Tasveer and presented by Zee Cinema will be screening indie films, documentaries and shorts from South Asia and its diaspora with live music, performances and lots of chutzpah- desi style!
Every year SSAFF brings thoughtful and provocative cinema with relentless energy and a very unassuming quality.
The theme of SSAFF this year is Love Wins (#LoveWins). Inspired by the equal marriage campaign, Love is capable of doing away with all the negativity and bringing people together. The festival continues to push the envelope on issues like race and sexuality which are not discussed openly in South Asian culture. In addition to provocative film programming, the festival also has a full day symposium titled Race, Sexuality and Censorship: Film, Art, Activism in India and Beyond at the University of Washington.
The country in spotlight this year is Bangladesh. Over 8 films from the country will be screened. Films like Aynabaji and Ant Story represent the contemporary film making style in modern day Bangladesh. These bold and magnificent presentations are some of the festival’s finest offerings.
With over 45 films screened in 5 cities, SSAFF 2016 promises to be a veritable extravaganza with programs that inspire, provoke and delight! The delicious South Asian cuisine adds to the charm.
My must watch list includes Pakistani-American Filmmaker Nadya Shah’s It Takes Two Hands to Clap. The film documents the journey of a group of Pakistani musicians who travel to small towns in US as part of a larger cultural program. This film unassumingly summons attention to the fact that music can be transformational and meaningful way of bridging the cultural divide while dispelling myths about Pakistan and terror. You leave the film with a warm feeling in your heart- There is still hope left in the world.
A fond nod to the documentary Sakharam. The poignant tale of a farmer in a remote village in India who deals with problems relating to scarcity of water and poverty by having three wives! The grave problem and the clever solution leaves you thinking about the resourcefulness of people under severe pressure of daily existence.
Many Rivers Home is a non-fictional chronicle of South Asian seniors especially women who live in assisted care living facility in Canada. The filmmaker Baljit Sangra’s style continually elicits interest in this meditation of live, love and death.
The festival will close with the screening of Anu Menon’s Waiting, starring the talented Kalki Koechlin and the inimitable Naseeruddin Shah- both famous Bollywood actors. Shah’s calm and naturalistic style balances the volatile nature of Koechlin’s character. A must-watch mainstream Bollywood movie.
Did I mention that three out of four films mentioned above are by women filmmakers? The Executive Director of the festival’s parent organization, Tasveer, and the festival directors also happen to be women. These strong, wonderful and motivated ladies are a beacon of inspiration to the South Asian Community and beyond!
The festival is not far away. If you are looking for an offbeat cinematic experience, bountiful and beautiful films with sprinkling of music, performances and discussions- this festival is for you!
Get your tickets at ssaff.tasveer.org/2016/
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