Tasveer South Asian Film Festival of Seattle hosting 18th edition

Still from Munnel, the opening night film at Tasveer South Asian Film Festival in Seattle Oct. 12-22, 2023. PHOTO: tasveerfestival.org

Tasveer South Asian Film Festival (TSAFF) (tasveerfestival.org) is hosting its 18th edition from October 12 to 22, 2023, across multiple venues in Seattle, WA.

“This year, TSAFF achieves a momentous milestone as the first and only South Asian film festival whose winning films will qualify for submission to the esteemed Oscars,” organizers said in a press release. “The significance of a South Asian film festival qualifying for the Oscars illustrates the importance of representation and inclusivity in media as it challenges historically limited narratives and promotes cross-cultural understanding,” they added.

The theme of the Festival this year is, “Breaking Cinematic Barriers.”

The lineup includes an impressive 83 selected films spanning diverse genres and themes with 23 feature films, 60 shorts, 20 documentaries, and 63 narratives; 25 World Premieres, 36 North America Premiere, and 33 Female identified directors. These films, presented in 26 languages, “promise an unparalleled global cinematic journey reflecting the rich tapestry of South Asian stories,” the press release said.

“As the only Oscar-qualifying South Asian festival, we are committed to presenting a program of unparalleled depth and significance. Our festival winners can directly compete in the Academy Awards run, allowing authentic South Asian narratives to shine on the grandest stage, unfiltered and unmediated,” Rita Meher, co-founder of Tasveer is quoted saying.

From 12th to 15th the venue featuring the films will be Paccar IMAX Theater at Pacific Science Center. The festival will continue in a virtual format on TasveerTV from October 16th to 22nd, offering audiences the flexibility to engage with the content from the comfort of their homes, organizers said.

Tasveer provided the following highlights of the program:

Opening Night Film: The opening night will feature the gripping drama of “Munnel (Sand in Tamil)” from Sri Lanka. The film skillfully weaves together themes of love, loss, faith, and desperation that immerse us in the post-war landscape of Sri Lanka, where Rudran, an ex-Tamil militant, returns home in search of his vanished lover, Vaani. The film won a jury award at the 2023 International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR).

Centerpiece: “Pasang: In the Shadow of Everest” presents an inspiring tale from Nepal, chronicling the remarkable journey of mountaineer Pasang Lhamu Sherpa as she challenges racism, gender bias, and political opposition to become the first Nepali woman to conquer Mount Everest.

Washington State/Climate Change Film: “Between Earth and Sky” delves into the life of ecologist Nalini Nadkarni as she explores the effects of disturbance and recovery of rainforest canopies, with a special local focus on the Olympic National Park in Washington state.

LGBTQIA+ Focus: “Blue Sunshine” is a groundbreaking film by and about a Transgender woman, based on the real-life events of Samyuktha Vijayan, who wrote, directed, produced, and acted in it.

Tasveer Youth Collective Focus: “Alone Alone Alone on a Wide Wide Sea” is a creation, in collaboration with Tasveer, from NYU Tisch School of the Arts.

Documentary Focus: “Tortoise Under the Earth” presents an Indigenous Tribal Rights docu-feature, co-presented in collaboration with the University of Washington South Asia Center.

Local Focus: “Alien” poignantly portrays the struggles of Indian immigrants on H1B visas, exposing the dichotomy between America’s dependence on foreign talent and its treatment of these individuals.

Bangladeshi Film: “Pett Kata Shaw” breathes life into ancient South Asian folktales through a supernatural anthology, embracing the burgeoning popularity of the horror genre in contemporary Bengali films.

Closing Night Film: “Catfish,” World Premiere, explores themes of prohibiting queer love, longing, and loneliness in the digital age as a lonely office worker from Pakistan engages in a desperate online attempt at companionship.

Special Partnership: South Asian House will host a Happy Hour at Tasveer to celebrate the screening of three films produced and executive produced by co-founders Rohi Mirza Pandya (14 YEARS & EID MUBARAK) and Jitin Hingorani (CALL ME DANCER), featuring lead protagonist and dancer Manish Chauhan on Saturday, October 14, 2023 at PACCAR IMAX Theater. For more info: www.southasianhouse.com



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