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 announce the dates of the 3rd i Seventh Annual San Francisco International South Asian Film Festival (SFISAFF), the premiere showcase for South Asian cinema in the Bay Area: November 5-8, 2009. The festival will open at the Roxie Theater on Thursday, November 5 (continuing there on Friday, November 6) and move to the Castro Theater for Saturday and Sunday (November 7 – 8).

From art-house classics to documentary films, innovative and experimental visions to cutting-edge Bollywood, 3rd i (http://www.thirdi.org/) 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.

3rd i is very proud to announce its Closing Night film and guests: Award-winning documentary YES MADAM, SIR (Megan Doneman, Australia/India, 2008) chornicles the trials, tribulations and ultimate transcendence of India's first female police officer (and tireless reformist) – Kiran Bedi. The film is narrated by Helen Mirren and is already being touted as a contender for the Academy Awards. Filmmaker Megan Doneman (from Australia), and the inspiration for the documentary – Kiran Bedi herself, will be in attendance for the festival.

Local talent abounds at this year's festival. Opening Night, in keeping with 3rd i tradition, is a program of local shorts (FOCUS::LOCAL) but with a performance twist – there will be two neo-benshi performances by local poet/writers Neela Banerjee and Summi Kaipa. (Please visit our website on Monday, October 5 for more details on the shorts program). Sunday at the Castro Theater showcases the debut feature by El Cerrito-based filmmaker Tariq Tapa, 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 (now being showcased at the PFA) amongst his biggest influences for this film.

Opening Night programs include 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. The Opening Night Party, co-hosted by the Center for Asian American Media, will unfold at Bollyhood Cafe starting at 10pm.

This year's festival has a special focus on documentaries. Seven docs that showcase a variety of styles and themes, ranging from the comic (SUPERMEN OF MALEGAON, see above), 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, to cinema-verite in CHILDREN OF THE PYRE (Rajesh S. Jala, India, 2008), the story of seven extraordinary children who make their living out of the dead at Manikarnika, 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 docs 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 (Australia, 2007) by Sydney-based filmmaker Poppy Stockwell, about her internet love affair with UK-based Sandeep Virdi. YES MADAM, SIR, (see above for details), our closing night biopic, rounds out the documentary showcase.

As always, 3rd i brings the best independent narrative features by emerging voices in the South Asian Diaspora – filmmakers with strident, distinct points-of-view, both aesthetically and in terms of content: New York-based filmmaker Joseph Mathew’s sensuous and emotionally-packed art-house offering BOMBAY SUMMER (USA/India, 2009) is not to be missed; UK-based Punjabi filmmaker Avie Luthra (whose brilliant shorts have been showcased at 3rd i in previous years) will present his first feature MAD, SAD & BAD (UK, 2009) – a dark comedy about three idiosyncratic siblings in London, struggling to find direction in their lives. Other films include the late night curiosity QUICK GUN MURUGAN (Shashank Ghosh, 2009, India) - a preposterously stylish film, with excellent art design, about a vegetarian cowboy come to save the cows from the beef-eating masses, and ZERO BRIDGE (see above for details).

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 (in the FOCAL::LOCAL program); 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 was 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!

And if you’d like to see where all this Bollywood glamour began,join us for a special screening going back to the Golden Age of Hindi Cinema. 3rd i reaches into the archives to showcase a B&W classic (straight from the Masterworks section of this year’s New York Film Festival) – Guru Dutt's FULL MOON (CHAUDHVIN KA CHAND, India, 1960). The film 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, the film bears his unmistakable directorial influences as well. This is a rare opportunity to see a masterpiece on the Castro screen by a filmmaker who is slowly being discovered by the West.

3rd i expects 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), and filmmaker Megan Donegan and special guest Kiran Bedi (with YES MADAM, SIR).

Please visit the festival website at: www.thirdi.org/festival, for the latest updates and information on films, guests and special programs. The entire lineup will go live on 3rd i’s website late on Monday, October 5. Information about passes and tickets will also be available on the website then.

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