Seattle South Asian Film Festival

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Tasveer South Asian Film Festival
The 12th annual Tasveer South Asian Film Festival (TSAFF) is 10-days of meaningful films and forums on South Asia and its diaspora, aimed at engaging its viewers in open dialogue on issues of human rights and social, political, and economic injustice. This year’s Festival will focus on Nepal and its art, culture, and stories. Festival goers will have access to 52 films that will screen in six cities throughout greater Seattle, making TSAFF the largest South Asian film festival in the United States.

A full schedule of screenings and special events is available online at Single tickets are $10-$12 general admission; various discounts available. Special event ticket prices vary. Passes cost $100-$150 with full-fest, first weekend, and second weekend passes available. All proceeds support Tasveer. Sponsorship levels and benefits available online or contact the Executive Director at

Saturday, October 14 – Carco Theatre (Renton)
12:00 p.m.

Maple (dir. Jasleen Kaur, 47min, Canada)
World Premiere
Maple Batalia, a 19 year old health sciences student, aspiring actress and model, was gunned down on September 28, 2011. This documentary sheds light on prevalent issues in the community, such as gender inequality and domestic violence, particularly in the South Asian community.

Our Time (dir. Arpita Kumar, 10min, USA)
Through fragmented recordings on devices such as iPhones and iPads and the fallibility of human perspective, a child discovers the rupture in her family and is forced to make a difficult choice.

Program: #WeBelong
2:00 p.m.

From The Land of Gandhi (dir. Prakash Wadhwa, 49min, India)
A story of 4 immigrants, a decade after they came to study in the US, places a human face to the broken high-skilled immigration system. It sheds light on this largely unattended story of one million dreams waiting for freedom. It also highlights the need for reforming America’s high-skilled immigration at a time of intense globalization and the retirement of the baby boomers.

Himalayan Refugee (dir. Nikhil Singh Rajputt, 28min, Nepal)
Seattle Premiere
This film documents the lives of asylum-seeking Pakistani Ahmadis in Nepal. Without government recognition as refugees and clearance to be resettled, some 350 asylum seekers are left in a limbo. This film is about their plight and their aspirations of a peaceful and dignified resettlement.

Code-Switched(dir Karan Sunil, 15min, USA)
A group of first-generation South Asians in Chicago face the pressures of living double lives between their families and society while chasing their own ambitions in love and the workplace.

Five o’Clock Shadow (dir. Sangeeta Agrawal, 7min, USA)
Seattle Premiere
An Indian-American mother’s worst fear rises to the surface when she is the victim of racial abuse.

Program: Naked Wheels
4:00 p.m.

Ladies and Gentlewoman (dir. Malini Jeevarathanam, 46min, India)
The first movie in the Tamil scenario, this documentary tends to dialogue about the conspicuous silence about the body politics and relationship which is misspelled as social stigma. Acceptance of such norms emerges from constant fight against socially acclaimed identities.

Naked Wheels (dir. Rajesh James, 30min, India)
The film is about the journey undertaken by a diverse group of people comprising males, females and transgenders across South India in a truck. The film seeks to explore many compelling thoughts on life, love, and gender.

Is It Too Much To Ask? (dir. Leena Manimekalai, 30min, India)
The film follows the journey of two friends Smile and Glady – looking for a rental apartment in Chennai and the obstacles and social stigma they encounter in not just looking for a home but being single and the fact that they are transgender women.

Program: Short Docs
6:00 p.m.

The Eldest Son (dir. Amy Benson,30min, Nepal)
A short documentary about Kumar Darnal, a young Nepali man who goes as a migrant laborer to Malaysia. The film is an intimate look at the financial and emotional toll this risk took on him as well as this whole family.

Cotton Fields from the Ivory Tower (dir. Faisal Hossai/Non Fiction Media, 17min, Pakistan)
The lives of two struggling Pakistani farmers are juxtaposed against that of an academic film maker from the University of Washington and his proposed solutions. This documentary sheds light on an innovative approach to bridging the chasm between peer-reviewed research and real, on-the-ground implementation of new environmental technologies.

Sambalpuri Weavers (dir. Abinash Pradhan, 20min, India)
A film about the struggle of the Sambalpuri weavers. This unique art has been proudly passed to the generations of Western Odisha for generations producing ‘ikat’ fabrics. The Ikat technique of manufacturing handlooms is known as ‘tie and dye technique’ and is also known as bandha’ technique in Odisha.

8:00 p.m.
Saawan (dir. Farhan Alam, 138min, Pakistan)
United States Premiere
Saawan is a story of a 9-year-old Baluchistani boy, stricken by polio in Pakistan. Touching upon the true story of a disabled child, the film is a “quest for survival” and survival against all odds. Shot in a barren wasteland of Baluchistan, Saawan, who initially feels helpless because of his disability, but eventually rises above evils that surround him. The film that seems to depict harsh realities of life may prove to be inspiring for all those disabled people who think their disability can hinder their growth in anyway.

Program: Shorts Special
Sunday, October 15 – Carco Theatre (Renton)

11:30 a.m.

The Joyous Farmer (dir. Hiran Balasuriya, 15min, Sri Lanka)
Seattle Premiere
Ratnapala is an impoverished and alcoholic farmer living in Sri Lanka’s dry zone. Having sold all his possessions to drown his sorrows, he lacks industry and motivation. His environment is desolate and his future is bleak. After an encounter with a government official, he is prescribed an experimental drug to enhance his work ethic. Director Hiran Balasuriya expected to attend.

The Shame (dir. Sushan Prajapati, 20min, Nepal)
Individuals born into a life of a bonded labor (kamaiya) never have a voice of their own. What happens when they suddenly find the freedom that they always wished for? Such is the plight of one innocent man, who is torn between the life of unpaid slavery that he has left and this new existence where he is struggles to find his identity. All he wants is two yards of cloth, enough to reclaim his dignity.

Sisak (dir. Faraz Arif Ansari, 15min, India)
Drawing its opening lines from Haruki Murakami’s Sputnik Sweetheart, the beginning sets the tone for what is to follow – an expected trajectory played out in the most unexpected way. Sisak is likely to strike a chord on an individual and interpersonal level, regardless of whether the story is one that seems plausible in one’s own life. A return to the unspoken, unsaid and universal expressions of love, on the path of subtlety and humanity, Sisak is the result of the belief that if love knows no bounds, it need not be bound with words, either.

1:00 p.m.

Ghraan (The Smell) (dir. S M Kamrul Ahsan, 30min, Bangladesh)
The Smell (Ghraan) is a nostalgic episode of an established businessman- “Ahkam”. One day, stuck in traffic, he takes an unusual road that eventually connects his child-hood memory.

Chhora (dir. Subarna Thapa, 25min, Nepal)
Krishna is allowed to leave prison in order to spend the Christmas holidays with his young son, Simon, and his wife, Irene. A few hours before his return to prison, Krishna realizes that what will keep him alive behind bars is the love of his son, as well as his wish to pass on to him what is both their culture. Director Subarna Thapa expected to attend.

Sahasi Chori (Brave Girl) (dir. Erin Galey, 20min, Nepal)
Curious and determined 13-year-old, Bhumika (Albina Dahal), leaves her Himalayan village for the first time, only to discover that the city is not what she imagined and that her friend, Krishna (Jeewan Adhikary), is keeping a secret that may change her life forever.

3:00 p.m.

Dobara Phir Se (dir. Mehreen Jabbar, 126min, Pakistan)
Dobara Phir Se is the unlikely love story of soul mates who just can’t seem to be in the right place at the right time for the right reasons. A journey that teaches Hammad and Zainab that romance does not guarantee happiness, that relationships require unexpected sacrifices, and that love will find it’s own way if you set it free. Director Mehreen Jabbar expected to attend.
COLA (dir. Abhay Raha, 13min, India)
North American Premiere
A young man ventures out to perform the last rights of his mother, he finds himself in search of an elderly man, a conversation ensues once he finds the man and the realize their connection and become closer than ever before.

Program: Virtual Reality Experience Booth Available At All Festival Programming

Yeh Ballet (dir. Sooni Taraporevala, 15min, India)
Dancing is a passion of the rich, believes Manish Chauhan , the 21-year-old son of a taxi driver in suburban Mumbai. Yet he, like his friend, 15-year-old Amiruddin Shah daydream of becoming principal ballet dancers in big American companies. Ballet arrived in their lives as a lucky accident only three years ago, when Yehuda Maor discovered their talent. A scholarship to study at New York’s prestigious Joffrey Ballet School doesn’t materialize after they are rejected for US visas. Today Amir Shah is poised to attend ABT (American Ballet Theatre Jacqueline Onassis School). He is being funded by a billionaire Indian scientist Dr. Yusuf Hamied chairman of Cipla. Since this film was made Amir’s story has caught the global eye and he has been written about and filmed extensively. His BBC story got 2 million hits. Yeh Ballet is Manish Chauhan’s story before they found global recognition.

When Borders Move (Shubhangi Swaroop, 6min, India)
Hunderman, a village at the Indian border, has witnessed four wars. From 1949 to 1971, it belonged to Pakistan. During the 1965 war, it was disputed land for around three months. In 1971, the Indian Army captured Hunderman. Overnight, the people in the village became Indian and the ones left behind in Pakistan, refugees. Ghulam Hussein’s fate was among those caught in the fluid nationalities and shifting borders. Through all his years in exile, he longed for home. His family, in turn, memorialized him by transforming his home into a Museum of Memories.

Submerged (dir. Nishtha Jain, 8min, India)
Every year during monsoons, the rivers flowing through Bihar submerge over 60% of the state under water. Since the construction of a spate of dams and barrages across the state in the past few decades, the rivers have started to silt and the spill-over water washes away entire villages. In most cases without any warning. In July 2016, in the wake of rising water levels, panicking villagers cut away a portion of a mud dam, leading to a torrential burst of water that inundated hundreds of villages downstream. With houses and crops destroyed, the film moves through the submerged landscape of the people affected by the most devastating flood in Bihar since 2008. Repeated disasters leave people here to live with lower incomes perennially.

Blood Speaks: A Ritual of Exile (dir. Poulomi Basu, 12min, India/UK)
Blood Speaks is an immersive investigation into the causes and consequences of normalized violence against women perpetrated under the guise of tradition. Focused on the ritual of Chaupadi in Nepal, which strikes at the roots of patriarchy, viewers experience the domestic monthly exile suffered by Nepalese women during menstruation and following bleeding at childbirth.

Blood Speaks is a a co-production between Nonny de la Peña’s Emblematic Group and JAPC. TASVEER presents a preview of the forthcoming project, which is due to be released in late 2017.

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