Founded by Ivan Jaigirdar, Shilpa Mankikar, and Camille Ramani in 2001, 3rd i Films began by organizing bi-monthly screening programs at Artists’ Television Access, a venue for independent film and video in San Francisco’s Mission District. These well-attended events convinced the founders that an audience of significant size already existed to support an annual film festival. When 3rd i organized the first SF International South Asian Film Festival at the Castro Theater in November 2003, approximately 1,200 people attended. Since then the festival has been growing steadily, both in terms of scope and reach.

Our audience has more than quadrupled in the last decade, and the festival itself stands at 6 days in its current edition: in 2007 the festival had expanded to 3 days; in 2008 it turned into a 4-day affair; the abundance of quality films encouraged us to jump up to 5 days in 2010; in 2011, we increased our program offerings by adding a new venue, the Little Roxie; and in 2012, after a decade of celebrating South Asian cinema in the city, we launched a satellite edition in the South Bay (San Jose in 2012, moving to Palo Alto in 2013).

3rd i Films marked a decade of celebrating South Asian cinema in 2012, by receiving a “Local Heroes” award from KQED as part of its Asian Pacific American Heritage Month celebrations. The award signifies the important work that the festival has done over the past 10 years in promoting free expression, cross-cultural interactions and understanding, and combating intolerance and stereotypes.