San Francisco International South Asian Film Festival3rd I

Press Release

September 18, 2003

Gopi Shastri

3rd I Brings Art House Bollywood to the Bay Area with the First Annual San Francisco International South Asian Film Festival

SAN FRANCISCO - September 18, 2003 - The first San Francisco International South Asian Film Festival (SFISAFF) arrives November 1, and its two-day program gives Bay Area filmgoers a sample platter of art house classics, documentary films, and the latest next level Bollywood sizzle. The SFISAFF will also feature appearances by filmmakers, an afternoon reception, and the latest in experimental short films. The festival is presented by 3rd I, a national organization dedicated to sharing diverse images of South Asians through monthly screenings of features and shorts in San Francisco, New York, and Washington D.C. The range of South Asian cinema that 3rd I and the SFISAFF represent includes filmmakers and audiences from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, The Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Tibet, as well as from Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States, and other international South Asian communities.

3rd I was founded three years ago in San Francisco by Camille Ramani, Ivan Jaigirdar, and Shilpa Mankikar, who sought to fulfill the unmet needs of providing a venue and a voice for South Asian filmmakers in America. Recognizing the growing awareness among American audiences of Bollywood cinema and building on crossover hits such as Bend it Like Beckham, 3rd I seeks to introduce diverse audiences to the complete range of South Asian cinema, directly from the source. Another element of 3rd I's mission is to open and make available stories dealing with political, queer, and women's issues, which are all part of the South Asian experience. The SFISAFF represents a significant milestone for 3rd I in advancing the acceptance of South Asian culture and cinema in the United States.

The SFISAFF's November 1st program kicks off at the Castro Theater at 2 p.m. with a screening of the classic silent film, SHIRAZ (India, 1928), directed by Franz Osten. The film is a dazzling paean to the eternal spirit of love. The screening will be accompanied with a live performance by the Ali Akbar College of Music. The program continues at 6 p.m. with the groundbreaking FLYING WITH ONE WING (Sri Lanka, 2002), directed by Asoka Handagama. This has been billed as the most revolutionary South Asian film of the year, shattering traditional taboos about gender and identity. The last feature of the evening, screening at 8:15 p.m., is KABHI KHUSHI KABHI GHAM (India, 2001) by director Karan Johar. The film balances romance and melodrama, serving as a prime example of a Bollywood blockbuster film.

The SFISAFF's November 2nd program runs at the Roxie Theater, starting with a 2 p.m. screening of MY MOTHER INDIA (Australia, 2001), directed by Safina Uberio. This lighthearted documentary about an eccentric family unfolds into a complex commentary on the social, political, and religious events of the anti-Sikh riots of 1984. Next at 4 p.m., is the Bay Area premiere of DAM/AGE (India/United States, 2002), Aradhana Seth's revealing documentary that charts Arundhati Roy's political activism and her poetry. At 6 p.m., the festival presents the U.S. premiere of Ashvin Kumar's ROAD TO LADAKH (United Kingdom, 2003), a sensual and surreal love story that represents the new wave of South Asian cinema. Finally, the festival closes at 8:00 p.m. with the U.S. premiere of A NATION WITHOUT WOMEN (France/India, 2003). Director Manish Jha gives a chilling and unforgettable glimpse into the future of an India that allowed its cultural cancer of female infanticide, gender-based abortions, and dowry deaths to continue.

A selection of short films will also screen with various features, to be announced closer to the festival, along with the filmmakers expected to attend. For more information about the festival, ticket prices, special screenings, special events, images, and screener tapes, please visit, e-mail, or call (510) 919-0804.

Note: This document was edited on October 13, 2003 to reflect scheduling changes

[Back to Press Main Page]