3rd I

Press Release

For Immediate Release
October 1, 2009

Media contact:  Larsen Associates-Karen Larsen

3rd i South Asian Films Presents:
The Seventh Annual South Asian Film Festival, San Francisco (SFISAFF)

SAN FRANCISCO, CA -3rd i Films is very pleased to present the premiere showcase for South Asian cinema in the Bay Area — 3rd i Seventh Annual San Francisco International South Asian Film Festival (SFISAFF) unspools November 5-8, 2009. Opening Night will be at the Roxie Theater on Thursday, November 5, continuing there on Friday, November 6, and then moving to the Castro Theater for the weekend (November 7-8). For tickets or more information, please contact us at 415-835-4783 or www.thirdi.org.

From art-house classics to documentary films to innovative and experimental visions to cutting-edge Bollywood, 3rd i is committed to promoting diverse images of South Asians through independent film. The 2009 festival includes films from South Asia and the South Asian Diaspora including: India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Australia, Canada, Germany, UK and the USA.

Opening Night spotlights the hilarious documentary SUPERMEN OF MALEGAON (Faiza Ahmed Khan, India, 2008) which follows the making of the micro-budget Superman in the dusty textile town of Malegaon. Also on Opening Night—in keeping with our tradition—3rd i features local talent in a program of shorts (FOCUS::LOCAL) but this time with a performance twist provided by the local neo-benshi poet/writers Neela Banerjee and Summi Kaipa.

Special attention should be paid to 3rd i’s Closing Night film and guests.  The award-winning documentary YES MADAM, SIR (Megan Donegan, Australia/India, 2008) is already being touted as a contender for the Academy Awards. YES MADAM, SIR chronicles the trials, tribulations and ultimate transcendence of India's first female police officer Kiran Bedi, a tireless reformer for change. The film is narrated by Helen Mirren. Filmmaker Megan Donegan (from Australia) and Kiran Bedi, the inspiration for the documentary, will attend that night.

Sunday at the Castro Theater also showcases filmmaker Tariq Tapa’s debut feature ZERO BRIDGE (USA/India, 2008), about a petty thief who dreams of escaping his tumultuous life in Kashmir. This neo-realist-inspired film was a runaway success at both the Venice Film Festival (2008) and the recent Los Angeles Film Festival (2009). Tapa counts Italian master Ermanno Olmi (currently on screen at the PFA) amongst his biggest influences for this film.

This year's festival has a special focus on documentaries. Seven docs will showcase a variety of styles and themes, ranging from the comic Opener SUPERMEN OF MALEGAON to personal essays like LOVE IN INDIA (Kaushik Mukherjee aka Q, 2009, India/Germany), a film that explores the contradictions of India’s repressive sexual attitudes against the sensual overtones of the Radha/Krishna mythology. Cinema-verité is represented by CHILDREN OF THE PYRE (Rajesh S. Jala, India, 2008), the story of seven extraordinary children who make their living out of the dead at the busiest cremation ground in India, and IRON EATERS (LOHAKHOR/ EISSENFRESSER, 2008, Bangladesh/Germany) a stunning documentary by Germany-based filmmaker Shaheen Dill-Riaz about migrant workers who risk their lives dismantling behemoth ships in Bangladesh. Other doc selections include WARRIOR BOYZ (Baljit Sangra, Canada, 2008) about the toll of gang violence in Vancouver's South Asian community and the refreshing, lesbian love-story SEARCHING FOR SANDEEP (Poppy Stockwell, Australia, 2007) about the filmmaker’s internet love affair with UK-based Sandeep Virdi. Closing Night’s YES MADAM, SIR rounds out the documentary showcase.

As always, 3rd i highlights the best independent narrative features from voices emerging in the South Asian Diaspora–filmmakers with strident, distinct points-of-view both in terms of aesthetics and content. Aside from Tapa’s ZERO BRIDGE on Sunday, New York-based filmmaker Joseph Mathew’s sensuous and emotionally-packed story of love and betrayal BOMBAY SUMMER (USA/India, 2009) is not to be missed. UK-based Punjabi filmmaker Avie Luthra (whose shorts have been well received at previous 3rd i’s) presents his first feature MAD, SAD & BAD (UK, 2009), a dark comedy about three idiosyncratic siblings in London struggling to find direction. Other films include the late-night curiosity QUICK GUN MURUGUN (Shashank Ghosh, 2009, India), an outrageously stylish film about a vegetarian cowboy whose mission is to save cows from the beef-eating masses.

3rd i’s 2009 festival also shines a light on the Sikh experience: WARRIOR BOYZ, set in Canada; LOCATION/SITUATEDNESS IN MEMORY, a meditative short about Sikh identity by San Francisco-born filmmaker Kamalpreet Kaur (FOCUS::LOCAL); the LGBT-friendly SEARCHING FOR SANDEEP, set in London; YES MADAM, SIR, our closing night doc about Kiran Bedi (who is from the Sikh community); and our Bollywood extravanganza (which had a gala presentation at the recent Toronto International Film Festival) MY HEART GOES HOORAY! (DIL BOLE HADIPPA!), about a feisty Sikh woman who dons a mustache and turban so she can play on her town’s cricket team. Leading lady Rani Mukherjee steals the show in this gender-bending melodrama, full of music, camp and romance!

3rd i reaches into the archives to illustrate where all this Bollywood glamour began,presenting the Guru Dutt B&W classic FULL MOON (CHAUDHVIN KA CHAND, India, 1960)—straight from the Masterworks section of this year’s New York Film Festival. FULL MOON is renowned for its exquisite attention to sets and costumes, capturing the sophistication and richness of the Muslim, literary upper-class in Lucknow. The film, which starts off as a comedy and slowly descends into tragedy, centers around a case of mistaken identities in a love triangle. Produced by and starring the legendary Guru Dutt, this is a rare opportunity to see a masterpiece on the Castro screen by a filmmaker who is slowly being discovered by the West.

The following filmmakers and guests to be in attendance at the festival:
•  Bay Area filmmakers for FOCUS::LOCAL
•  Baljit Sangra (with WARRIOR BOYZ)
•  filmmaker Q (with LOVE IN INDIA)
•  Joseph Mathew (with BOMBAY SUMMER)
•  Avie Luthra (with MAD, SAD & BAD)
•  Tariq Tapa (with ZERO BRIDGE)
•  Megan Donegan and special guest Kiran Bedi (with YES MADAM, SIR).

Please call 415-835-4783 visit the festival website www.thirdi.org/festival for the latest updates and information on films, guests and special programs. Information about passes and tickets will also be available on the website.

[Back to Press Main Page]