It’s documentary season once again as Film South Asia (FSA) returns for the tenth time. With 42 films from all over South Asia vying for the coveted Ram Bahadur Trophy, FSA 2015 promises to be a visual treat.
This year the festival opened with a special curated package of eight student films.
Besides films from the subcontinent, the festival will also showcase films on South Asian subjects from Myanmar and the UK.
A three-member jury will judge the films. The Ram Bahadur Trophy, awarded for best film, carries a cash prize of US$ 2,000. The second best film will receive US$1,000. The Tareque Masud Award for the best debut film carries a cash prize of US$ 1,000.
All films will be screened at the Yala Maya Kendra in Patan Dhoka from 19 to 22 November.
Drawing the Tiger
Filmed over seven years, Drawing the Tiger is an intimate portrait of a family in Nepal who get a chance to break their cycle of poverty. Their brightest child is awarded a scholarship to attend school in the city. When she doesn’t return home, the family is forced to survive without her and the opportunity they believed would change their fate.
Dor Bahadur Bista, one of Nepal’s most controversial intellectuals in modern times, disappeared without trace in 1996. The film tracks his life and beliefs and tries to understand his sudden disappearance.
Being Bhaijaan explores Indian masculinity by mapping the emotional, spiritual and philosophical contribution Salman Khan makes in the lives of three men in small-town India, who find themselves increasingly disassociated with a changing country, its competitiveness, and its new women. They seek solace in a notion of manhood, constructed brick-by-brick, through a superstar’s perceived personality, which is as old-world as Salman Khan’s films.
News from Jaffna
A young reporter dares to cover press freedom in one of the world’s most dangerous places for journalists — Sri Lanka. Despite the dangers involved in working for the Tamil newspaper Uthayan in Jaffna, young journalists like Thadsa still join their ranks. Apart from its Chief Editor, Uthayan does not have a single news journalist over the age of 40. But as they grow older, young journalists come under family pressure to find safer jobs. Thadsa is passionate about reporting and wants to cover a story on a journalist who disappeared in 2007, and look into the ongoing restrictions to press freedoms in Sri Lanka.
Saving Mes Aynak
An archaeologist races against time to save a 2,000-year-old Buddhist archaeological site in Afghanistan under threat from a Chinese copper mining company and Taliban attacks. Only 10% of MesAynak has been excavated and experts believe future discoveries have the potential to redefine the history of Afghanistan and of Buddhism itself. The film presents a conflict between cultural preservation and economic opportunity.
10AM Saving Mes Aynak (50’)
Dir. Brent E. Huffman | Afghanistan
An archaeologist races against time to save a 2,000-year-old Buddhist archaeological site in Afghanistan.
11.15AM What the Fields Remember (52’)
Dir. Subasri Krishnan | India
Revisiting the Nellie massacre, where 1800 Bengali Muslims were killed in the state of Assam.
12.30PM A Political Life (20’)
Dir. May Htoo Cho | Myanmar
Aung San Suu Kyi’s retired bodyguard bows out of politics and finds new forms of employment.
News from Jaffna (28')
Dir. Kannan Arunaslam | Sri Lanka
A young reporter dares to cover press freedom in one of the world’s most dangerous places for journalists.
Anjaan Rastaay (23’)
Dir. Umair Ahmad Khawaja | Pakistan
Debating the logic behind renaming popular landmarks and streets in Lahore.
2.30PM Muzaffarnagar Baaqi Hai (136’)
Dir. Nakul Singh Sawhney | India
Exploring the social-political dynamics that led to India’s worst communal riots since independence.
4.30 PM On and Off the Records (55’)
Dir. Pratik Biswas | India
Evolution of Hindustani classical music and recording formats that affected one of the oldest musical traditions of the world.
5.45 PM Bishkanta (The Poison Thorn) (40’)
Dir. Farzana Boby | Bangladesh
A historical account of three survivors of rape during Bangladesh’s Liberation War.
10.15 AM Love Marriage in Kabul (84’)
Dir. Amin Palangi | Afghanistan
Abdul enlists the help of Mahboba to help convince Fatemeh’s father to let them get married.
12.15 PM Tashi’s Turbine (57’)
Dir. Amitabh Raj Joshi | Nepal
Tashi and his friend travel to Namdok in Upper Mustang to install a wind turbine, where they encounter unforeseen challenges.
1.30 PM Silence in the Courts (53’)
Dir. Prasanna Vithanage | Sri Lanka
A story of a woman’s search for justice after being raped by a corrupt judge who was presiding over her husband’s case.
2.45 PM My Name is Salt (90’)
Dir. Farida Pacha | India
Chhanabhai and family live in the desert without provisions to extract salt from its arid landscape.
4.30 PM Behind the Screens (35’)
Dir. Aung Nwai Htway | Myanmar
A son dissects his actor parents’ marriage through their on-screen roles hoping to find answers on why they separated.
Brief Life of Insects (22’)
Dir. Tarun Bhartiya | India
In Umpohwin, friends thresh paddies and sing while working on the fields.
6.30 PM The Journey Within (86’)
Dir. Mian Adnan Ahmad | Pakistan
Look inside the musical world of Coke Studio.
10 AM Hockey in My Blood (53’)s
Dir. Sandhya Kumar | India
Families battle it out on the hockey field for bragging rights for the rest of the year.
11.10 AM 3 Shamans (77’)
Dir. Aurore Laurent and Adiren Viel | Nepal
Three Shamans in Nepal explore the beyond to relieve human beings of their pain.
12.45 PM Tomorrow We Disappear (84’)
Dir. Jimmy Goldblum, Adam Weber | India
Three performers from Kathputli Colony have mixed outlooks on their impending eviction from their neighbourhood.
2.30 PM Japan in Nagaland (42’)
Dir. Hemant Gaba | India
Exploring underground anime subculture in Nagaland through COSFEST, an annual costume festival.
3:30 PM Koti Waale Superstars (75’)
Dir. Anuj Adlakha, Farah Alam | India
Children from a community in the mountains show what friendship, honour and redemption can mean.
5PM Footprints in the Desert (80’)
Dir. Balaka Gosh
Marks left by passing travelers along the desert border between Pakistan and India lead to real stories and emotions.
10.15AM This Road I know (58’)
Dir. Yirmiyan Arthur Yhome | India
A personal journey through Nagaland and Manipur that captures the changing complexities of the region’s reality.
11.30AM Cities of Sleep (74’)
Dir. Shaunak Sen | India
Delhi’s homeless negotiate the political economy of sleep.
1:15PM Red Ant Dream (120’)
Dir. Sanjay Kak | India
Maoist insurgency in India explored through the Maoists in Chhattisgarh, tribals in Odisha and protesters in Punjab.
3:30PM Blood Leaves its trail (93’)
Dir. Iffat Fatima
Memory as a mode of resistance for those narratives ruptured by violence and undermined by the official ‘truth’.
5.15PM I Cannot Give you my Forest (45’)
Dir. Nandan Saxena, Kavita Bahl | India
Kondh Adivasis and their relationship to the forest explored through lifestyle, conversations and melodies.
6:45PM Drawing the Tiger 92’
Dir. Ramyata Limbu and Amy Benson | Nepal
An impoverished family sends their brightest child to the city to study on scholarship with the hope of breaking their cycle of poverty, and are changed forever.
10:15 AM Phum Shang (52’)
Dir. Haobam Paban Kumar | India
Fishermen battle state government for their right to live on the floating islands of lake Loktak.
11.30 AM Accsex (52’)
Dir. Shweta Ghosh | India
Notions of beauty and sexuality through the eyes of four women with disabilities.
Big Time - My Doodle Diary (11’)
Dir. Sonali Gulati | India
Maya writes in her diary about her obsessions, budding sexuality and being a teenager.
1:00 PM The F Word (52’)
Dir. Saba Rehman | India
A narrative of struggling with health and body image issues.
2.15 PM Castaway Man (82’)
Dir. Kesang Tseten | Nepal
The life of Dor Bahadur Bista, Nepal’s most controversial modern intellectual who disappeared without a trace.
3.30 PM A Walnut Tree (81’)
Dir. Ammar Aziz | Pakistan Longing for a home lost to war, an old man and his family try to find their own place in the world.
11AM Feet Upon The Ground (175’)
Dir. Vipin Vijay | India
A guided tour of celebrated filmmaker Adoor Gopalakrishnan’s creative topography.
5.15 PM FSA AWARDS + CLOSING
Film South Asia 2015
News from Jaffna