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Breaking Cinematic Barriers: 18th Tasveer Film Festival to Feature Movies Reflecting Rich Tapestry of South Asian Stories

Breaking Cinematic Barriers: 18th Tasveer Film Festival to Feature Movies Reflecting Rich Tapestry of South Asian Stories

  • To be held Oct. 12-15 at various venues across Seattle, it will include features a collection of 83 selected films spanning diverse genres and captivating themes, including features, shorts, documentaries, and narratives.

Sri Lankan film “Munnel” (Sand) will open the 18th edition of the Tasveer South Asian Film Festival (TSAFF) on Oct. 12 in Seattle, Washington. Running through Oct. 15 across multiple venues, the festival will close with the world premiere of the Pakistani film “Catfish,” directed by Abdullah Shahid. This year’s lineup, with the theme of “Breaking Cinematic Barriers,” features a collection of 83 selected films spanning diverse genres and captivating themes. They include 23 features, 60 shorts, 20 documentaries, and 63 narratives; 25 world premieres, 36 North American premieres, with 33 female-identified directors. “These films, presented in 26 languages, promise an unparalleled global cinematic journey reflecting the rich tapestry of South Asian stories.”

Additionally, 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. 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.

Tasveer co-founder, Rita Meher, expressed her pride in the festival. “As the only Oscar-qualifying South Asian festival, we are committed to presenting a program of unparalleled depth and significance,” she said. “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.”

Tamil drama “Munnel,” written, directed and produced by Visakesa Chandrasekaram, “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,” according to a synopsis on the TSAFF website. The film won a jury award at the 2023 International Film Festival Rotterdam.  

“Catfish,” is a satirical exploration of male homosocial relationships in the Pakistani workplace, TSAFF says. “The line between homosocial relationships and beyond is often blurred in ‘launda’ culture,” the synopsis says, adding that “in a country with little to no public spaces, the workplace serves as the prime location for people to find entertainment, forge relationships and look for intimacy.” The film “serves to explore these ideas of the homosocial in the office space and represents a microcosm of society that often goes unnoticed in mainstream media.

Other highlights of the festival include:

Centerpiece: “Pasang: In the Shadow of Everest,” 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” which 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,” 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,” a creation, in collaboration with Tasveer, from NYU Tisch School of the Arts.

See Also

Documentary Focus: “Tortoise Under the Earth,” 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.

Along with in-person screenings from Oct. 12 to 15 at premier venues, including the Paccar IMAX Theater at Pacific Science Center, the festival will continue in a virtual format on TasveerTV from Oct. 16 to 22, offering audiences the flexibility to engage with the content from the comfort of their homes.

For additional information, and to purchase tickets visit the official website: 

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