indica News Bureau-
The 17th edition of the annual San Francisco International South Asian Film Festival will begin Nov 7 and run in San Francisco till Nov 10 before moving to Palo Alto Nov 16.
The five-day festival, organized by 3rd i, with the tagline ‘Bollywood and Beyond’, will be launched at the New People and Castro Theaters in San Francisco Nov 7.
The festival will screen over a dozen programs of narrative and documentary features and shorts by independent filmmakers from South Asia and the South Asian diaspora.
Among this year’s highlights are Gitanjali Rao’s animated feature Bombay Rose (2019, India/UK/France/Qatar), which was premiered at the Venice Critics’ Week and has been screened at Toronto and Mumbai, and Rohena Gera’s nuanced and sensual Sir (2018, India), which was premiered at Cannes and explores the forbidden attraction between a maid and her employer, a wealthy Bombay bachelor.
The festival will have a special focus on Young Voices with films featuring strong young characters. Among the films in this section are Ukraine-born India-based filmmaker Dar Gai’s Namdev Bhau: In Search Of Silence (2018, India), a witty, off-beat take on the road movie set in breathtaking Ladakh, Assamese filmmaker Rima Das’s Bulbul Can Sing (2018, India), which is part of the continuing focus on the Northeast of India, Safdar Rahman’s heartwarming story Chippa (2018, India), about a child (Sunny Pawar, award-winning actor of LION), who sets out into the Calcutta night to look for a father he has never seen, and The MisEducation of Bindu (USA, 2019), which was premiered at the Mill Valley Film Festival and follows a day in the life of formerly home-schooled Bindu as she endures an American high school and tries to graduate early.
The festival will also feature stories of addiction, which includes acclaimed B&W photographer Ronny Sen’s indie Cat Sticks (2019, India), a gritty and haunting narrative that follows the stories of several addicts looking for the high of halogen, a synthetic brand of heroin that created havoc in India at the turn of the millennium, and Bhaskar Hazarika’s quietly shocking The Ravening (Aamis) (2019, India), which opened to acclaim at the Tribeca Film Festival.
Women’s issues are at the forefront of several other films in the lineup. Vasanth S Sai’s Sivaranjani And Two Other Women (2018, India) pays cinematic homage to the “everyday” woman and is a deeply moving work that focuses a critical lens on patriarchy.
The festival also welcomes back acclaimed Sri Lankan director Prasanna Vithanage with the historical epic feature Children Of The Sun (Gaadi) (2019, Sri Lanka) about a Sinhalese Buddhist woman in the 1814 kingdom of Kandy, who is stripped from nobility and subverts the destiny forced upon her.
Castro Passes ($35) are only available online till Nov 5. Tickets for individual films are $11 online and $13 at the box office. For more information about the festival, including expanded program, guest and ticketing information, check out www.thirdi.org