San Francisco International South Asian Film Festival3rd I

Press Release

For Immediate Release
September 15, 2005

Media Contact: Seema Arora,, 510.482.4350/415.835.4783

3rd I Brings Art House Bollywood to the Bay Area with its third Annual San Francisco International South Asian Film Festival (SFISAFF). It has been a rich year for South Asian film – The Warrior, Bride and Prejudice, Water, Mistress of Spices, Born into Brothels – and the SFISAFF will be showcasing more cutting edge new films as well as the full breadth of South Asian cinema, including and highlighting works by South Asian women filmmakers.

SAN FRANCISCO, September 15, 2005 - The third annual San Francisco International South Asian Film Festival (SFISAFF) arrives this year on November 11, 12 and 13, giving Bay Area moviegoers a sample of classic Indian cinema, hard hitting social documentaries, innovative features and the latest in Bollywood sizzle. SFISAFF features a number of premiere screenings with appearances by filmmakers and stars at a reception at the Castro theatre.

The SFISAFF program opens at 7:00 pm on Friday, November 11 at the Roxie theatre with a uniquely diverse compilation of SOUTH ASIAN SHORT FILMS from the Bay Area and at 9:00 pm with SUNSET BOLLYWOOD, a documentary that explores the meteoric rise and fall of three of Bollywood’s biggest stars.

The festival gets into full swing on Saturday, November 12 at the Castro Theatre with an 11:30 am screening of, what is undoubtedly a classic masterpiece, CLOUD-CAPPED STAR (Meghe Dhaka Tara, India, 1960) by legendary Indian filmmaker Ritwik Ghatak who Satayajit Ray cited as unsurpassed in Indian cinema. The film is a bleak yet absolutely gripping portrayal of a daughter of a refugee family who sacrifices everything to keep her family afloat. With its spare script and startling cinematic elegance, CLOUD-CAPPED STAR is infinitely compassionate while remaining resolutely unsentimental. This is a unique opportunity to see a rare film.

The afternoon program continues at 2:30 pm with IT’S MY COUNTRY TOO (UK, 2005), a revealing look at the richly diverse Pakistani American Muslim community from the progressive "Allah made me Funny” comedy troupe, to the prominent family that founded the “Muslims for Bush” campaign. As seen through the eyes of Pakistani American Rock star Salman Ahmed of Junoon (the U2 of South Asia). Salman Ahmed will be available for a question and answer session after the screening of this film, and at the invitation-only reception for filmmakers, sponsors, and special guests.

Also attending the invitation-only reception is director Shonali Bose. Her award winning feature film AMU (India/USA, 2005), which makes its West Coast premiere at this festival at 5:15 pm, follows an Indian-American woman, played by Konkona Sen (star of Mr. & Mrs. Iyer), who returns to India to visit her family. The film takes a dark turn as she discovers secrets and lies from her past, which revolve around the anti-Sikh riots of 1984.

The evening celebrates Bollywood at the Castro at 8:15 pm, with the screening of the latest fun-filled Bollywood feature, PAHELI (India, 2005) directed by Amol Palekar. With its star-studded cast (irresistible Shah Rukh Khan and Rani Mukherjee), fantasy sets and endearing musical scores, Paheli is a delightful folk tale, wherein a ghost falls in love with an abandoned bride. The twists and turns of this touching Bollywood family drama and love story will move you to laugh, cry, sing and dance. Perfect for Bollywood devotees and novices alike.

The SFISAFF three-day program continues by returning to the Roxie Theatre on Sunday, November 13 with more inspiring films. The screenings begin at 11:30 am with CONTINUOUS JOURNEY (India/Canada, 2005), a stunning recollection by director Ali Kazimi of the 1914 voyage of 376 Indians aboard the Komagata Maru, the first ship bearing migrants to be turned away from Canadian shores. The colonial strategies at work are deeply poignant in that they resonate and relate to today’s politics of race and citizenship. SILENT WATERS (Khamosh Pani, Pakistan/France/Germany, 2004) by filmmaker Sabiha Sumar at 1:30 pm, is an intensely moving and cinematically rich feature film about a country and its people struggling with a troubled past and an uncertain future set against the backdrop of 1979 Pakistan. The West Coast premiere of CITY OF PHOTOS (India/Canada, 2005), a beautifully compelling film about the landscape of memory and the photographic image, follows at 4:00 pm. Nishtha Jain’s film documents and explores the little known neighborhood photo studios in Indian cities, discovering entire imaginary worlds in the smallest of spaces.

The festival continues at 5:30 pm with two more incredible and intense films. First, the West Coast premiere documentary titled NO MORE TEARS, SISTER: AN ANATOMY OF HOPE AND BETRAYAL (Sri Lanka/Canada, 2004) by Helene Klowdawsky. The film brings the passion and courage of renowned human rights activist Dr. Rajani Thiranagama to life, and is an inspiring portrait of a revolutionary woman, professor and mother, and her dangerous pursuit of justice in Sri Lanka 15 years ago. The festival wraps at 7:30 pm, with a film of unparalleled intimacy, beauty and depth, GANGES: RIVER TO HEAVEN (India/USA, 2004) by Gayle Ferraro. This film investigates the inextricable bond between a river and its people.

The Festival is presented by 3rd I, a national organization dedicated to sharing diverse images of South Asians through monthly screenings in San Francisco, Chicago, New York, and Washington DC. 3rd I and SFISAFF represent filmmakers and audiences from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, as well as from Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the South Asian Diaspora. Festival directors Ivan Jaigirdar and Camille Ramani would like to especially thank the key sponsors including California Institute for Integral Studies, Center for South Asian Studies at UC Berkeley, PsPrint, Hyphen Magazine, and India West. 3rd I is also grateful for the continuous support of the San Francisco Arts Commission, the Zellerbach Family Foundation, the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the Wallace Alexander Foundation.

Shows are $8 at the Roxie cinema and $9 at the Castro (not including online processing fees). The SFISAFF passes are $50 for the entire festival (11 programs). Tickets can be purchased online or at the theatre box office on the day of the festival 45 minutes before screening time. The San Francisco International South Asian Film Festival plays on November 11 at the Roxie theatre and on November 12 at the Castro Theatre, 429 Castro Street in San Francisco; and November 13 again at the Roxie Cinema, 3117 16th Street at Valencia in San Francisco. For more information about the festival and films visit the festival website at OR CALL 415.835.4783. If you would like press materials including screener tapes and photos, email or call 510.482.4350/ 415.835.4783.

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