Film South Asia is a competitive biennial festival of documentary films on South Asian subjects that provides a quality platform to exhibit new works and to promote a sense of community among independent filmmakers. It is organized by Himal Association, a not-for-profit institution dedicated to spreading knowledge and information in Nepal and South Asia. In the nine years of its establishment, Film South Asia, the only such event that is solely dedicated to showcasing contemporary South Asian non-fiction film, has gained a deserving recognition within the region and globally as a world-class festival. This is evident from the ever-increasing number of filmmakers interested in having their films screened at this festival, the high percentage of participation of filmmakers at the festival at their own cost and the increasing interest of institutions in South Asia and beyond to bring a part of the festival to their towns by hosting the Travelling Film South Asia festival. In Autumn 2005, in an effort to continue providing a platform for a defined South Asian culture for quality documentary production and viewer-ship, Film South Asia is presenting the fifth edition of its biennial festival of South Asian documentaries.
For more information or for booking TFSA, please contact:
Patan Dhoka, PO Box 166, Lalitpur, Nepal
Tel: +977-1-5542544/ 5541196
A Night of Prophecy
77 mins | India | 2002 | Directed by Amar Kanwar
This documentary travels through the states of Maharashta, Andhra Pradesh, Nagaland, and Kashmir. Through poetry, you see where all the territories are heading towards, where you belong, and where to intervene, if you want to. The narratives merge, allowing us to see a more universal language of symbols and meanings. This moment of merger is the simple moment of prophecy.
“We selected this special film to open the festival. Join us for a night of poetic and artistic expression through film, with a reception afterwards with wholesome Himlayan food, chai, and soothing lounge music.” -za, TFSA Coordinator
DJ gLoRy B! B Danielle DeCarlo will spin Asian Underground lounge beats during the reception.
With Special Guest, Independent Filmmaker Rakesh Sharma from Mumbai, India
Aftershocks, by Rakesh Sharma
68 mins | India | 2002 | Directed by Rakesh Sharma
On January 26, 2001 a devastating earthquake struck Gujarat and left an estimated 20,000 people dead and over 100,000 homes destroyed. Filmmaker Rakesh Sharma was working as a relief volunteer in the quake-effected zone, when he accidentally bumped into Gujarat Mineral Development Company’s (GMDC) acquisition survey team in the village of Umarasar – and unexpected story began to reveal itself.
Godhra Tak: The Terror Trail by Shubradeep Chakravorty
60 mins | India | 2003 | Directed Shubradeep Chakravorty
The film investigates the Godhra train burning and subsequent rioting that killed 3,500 Muslims in Gujarat, India in February, 2002. It retraces the route of the first batch of karsevaks from Gujarat to Ayodhya (where Hindu fundamentalists want to build a Ram temple) and back, and documents the terror they unleashed en route, and the incident at Godhra railway station.
88 mins | India | 2004 | Directed by Rakesh Sharma
Final Solution is a study of the politics of hate. Set in Gujarat during the period February/March 2002 – July 2003, the film examines the genocidal violence of the Hindutva right-wing by exploiting the Godhra train incident and then goes on to document the various acts of brutality that marked the violence that followed. It travels with the election campaign during the Assembly elections in Gujarat in late 2002, and documents the spread of hate and fascism that accompanied it. It traces the process of ghettoization and the calls for economic boycott of Muslims.
“FINAL SOLUTION has been banned in the filmmaker’s home country, but Truth knows no borders. Rakesh Sharma’s powerful documentary exposes the enduring indignity of cultural prejudice and religious intolerance. Though the film is specific to India’s Muslim-Hindu divide, the lessons and ramifications of the conflict are applicable to those suffering the violent vagaries of “terrorism” worldwide. — Warren Etheredge, TheWarrenReport; Curator of The 1 Reel Film Festival”
Wolfgang Staudte award (Best film at the International Forum for New Cinema) and Special Jury Award (Netpac), Berlin International film fest (2004). Humanitarian Award for Outstanding Documentary, Hong Kong International film festival (2004) Best Film, Freedom of Expression awards (2005) by Index on Censorship Best Feature-length Documentary, Big MiniDV (USA; 2004)
Sand and Water
105 mins | Bangladesh | 2002 | Directed by Shaheen Dill-Riaz
The middle section of the Jamuna, one of the three main rivers in Bangladesh, is called “the deadly paradise”. Sand and Water shows how the people of the islands here live in the most extreme natural conditions and cope with the “moods” of Jamuna, which also provides them with their livelihood and fertile islands.
“This is a not-to-miss film about the amphibious lives of these mystical people. Since the film is almost two hours, we’ll have an intermission with Bengali food and chai.” – za, TFSA Coordinator
Buru Sengal (The Fire Within) 9:00PM Winner of the Grand Jury Award at FSA ’03
57 mins | Jharkhand/India | 2002 | Directed by Shriprakash
The land of the Tana Bhagats in Jharkhand, India, is a peaceful sect of the Oraon tribe who follow a Gandhian lifestyle and philosophy, is today besieged by Naxalite violence. The film touches upon corruption, the mafia, energy politics and displacement of villages, and tribal identity in an area where coal has been mined for the last 150 years.
Quote to the left translated by Tasveer:
down with August 15! damnation to this fake independence! this freedom is a lie! our country’s people are still hungry, just look at aftermath of the lies, while politicians eat all the pie!
Shei Rater Kotha Bolte Eshechi (Tale of the Darkest Night
43 mins | Bangladesh | 2001 | Directed by Kawsar Chowdhury
Shei Rater Kotha Bolte Eshechi (Tale of the Darkest Night)
Winner of the Second Best Film Award at FSA ’03 The film tells the story of the killings by the Pakistani army in Dhaka University. Surviving members and witnesses speak, and bring alive the havoc of that night. The documentary also includes the wireless messages the Pakistani army exchanged that night.
“I am very interested in learning more about this issue. The two speakers, Fauzia from Pakistan and Shamsuddin from Bangladesh, have both lived through this historical event. Plus having the PSA and BSA could create a fascinating discussion that I am sure we will all grow from. ” – Ali Taqi, Tasveer
Post screening discussion facilitated by: Fauzia Timberlake and Kwaja Shamsuddin
Swara – A Bridge over Troubled Water
40 mins | Pakistan | 2003 | Directed by Samar Minallah
Swara examines and comments on the Pakhtun practice, in northwest Pakistan, of giving minor girls in marriage as reparation for serious crimes such as murder committed by their fathers, brother, or uncles.
19 mins | Maharashta,India | 2003 | Directed by Manisha Dwivedi
This film is a journey with men who call themselves kothi. They are men for their families and society, but for themselves they are women, and wives of other “macho” men. They walk two tightropes, both of fear and disgrace of and for their families and ‘husbands’. And yet, they celebrate womanhood in their world of disguises.
Hunting Down Water
32 mins | India | 2003 | Directed by Sanjaya Barnela & Vasant Saberwal
India’s present water crisis is of its own making. The patterns of water use are changing, with increased cultivation of water-intensive cash crops. But there are other changes that defy logic, such as the growing number of private swimming pools in cities, rain dances and water amusement parks. As a consequence more and more of the rural poor are now forced to migrate.
The Battle for Blue Gold
21 mins | Kerala, India | 2004 | Directed by Jaya Sumtra Ramesh who will be present!
This documentary is about the struggle of an indigenous community against the multi-national company Coca-Cola in the small village of Plachimada, Kerala. It only focuses on women as they are connected to the retrieval and usage of water.
Post screening discussion facilitated by filmmaker Jaya Sumtra Ramesh
Vikas Bandook Ki Naal Se (Development Flows from the Barrel of the Gun)
54 mins | India | 2003 | Directed by Biju Toppo & Meghnath
The film gives voice to people affected by development projects-and repressed by the state for speaking out. The film asks why most of these incidents have taken place in areas where indigenous Adivasi people are majorities, and leaves us to ask why, in the age of globalization, the state has turned from protector to predator.
64 mins | India | 2002 | Directed by Gopal Menon
India’s caste system places nearly 160 million people, the dalits, at the outskirts of society. It exploits their services but at the same time denies them acceptance as human beings. Resilient Rhythms deals with a range of dalit responses to their marginalia, from armed struggle to electoral politics.
The 18th Elephant-3 Monologues
Winner of Ram Bahadur Trophy for the Best Film at FSA ’03
64 mins | Kerala, India | 2003 | Directed by P. Balan
This film is a critique of modern man’s mercenary attitude towards nature and his anthropocentric conception of development. The sad plight of the elephant in both its wild and domesticated states exposes how such behavior brings death and wreaks havoc on the lives and habitats of other species.
“I love elephants…I was waiting for a documentary to come out about their plight and I am glad to see that it won first place.” – Rita Meher, 2nd ISAFF Festival Director
Bhedako Oon Jasto – In Search of a Song …
55 mins | Nepal | 2003 | Directed Kiran Krishna Shrestha
Winner of the Special Mention at FSA ’03
For eight years, a well-known Nepali journalist, would sing an unknown folk song he’d heard in the highlands north of Katmandu to his friends and to strangers. Since no one had heard the song, he traveled up the mountains north of Katmandu with members of a popular Nepali band and a friend, the filmmaker, in search of the source of this song.
Itihaas Jitneharuka Laagi (History for Winners)
55 mins | Nepal | 2003 | Directed by Pranay Limbu
An award-winning singer makes a desperate but unsuccessful attempt to make a comeback after being in musical hibernation for seven years. Itihaas Jitneharuka Laagi portrays the changes in the Nepali music scene, as represented by Kuber Rai and Dhiraj Rai. The two singers are a study in contrasts, with their diametrically opposing personalities and attitude towards music.