Film Southasia

Background and History

Film Southasia (FSA) is a biennial festival that was set up in 1997 with the goal of popularising the documentary so that it entertains, informs and changes lives. In addition to the festival that takes place in Kathmandu every two years, FSA organizes screenings, discussions and workshops across Southasia to promote Southasian non-fiction within the Subcontinent and around the world. Film Southasia believes that film is a powerful medium that helps to not only in better represent the region internationally, but also contributes immensely in introspection and initiatives to bring change at the local level.

Ten editions of the festival have been held to date. At each festival, films are judged by a three-member Southasian jury and the best film is awarded the ‘Ram Bahadur Trophy’ for Best Film along with a citation and a cash prize of USD 2,000. The second best film is awarded a citation and cash prize of USD 1,000. The Best Debut Film is awarded the Tareque Masud Award and cash prize of USD 1,000. Past juries have been headed by well-known Southasian auteur filmmakers like Shyam Benegal, Goutam Ghose, Tareque Masud, Saeed Mirza and eminent journalist Mark Tully. Guests of honour at past festivals have included legendary poet and filmmaker Gulzar (FSA ’99), noted Indian filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt (FSA ’03) and the eminent actor and social activist Shabana Azmi (FSA ’09).

Travelling Film Southasia

After each FSA festival, about a dozen films are selected to travel across the Subcontinent and the world as the Travelling Film Southasia (TFSA) package. This mobile campaign to promote and popularise Southasian documentaries stops at more than 50 international venues between the parent FSA festivals that are held every two years in Kathmandu.


The FSA Secretariat hosts the Clearinghouse for Southasian Non-Fiction Films, which markets documentaries from the region for non-commercial and non-broadcast purposes. An increasing number of documentaries are being sold by the Clearinghouse since it was launched at FSA ’01. The Clearinghouse works on the basis of non-exclusive agreements with filmmakers, and thus far has limited itself to films entered for Film Southasia. The Clearinghouse also works continuously to bring filmmakers together with all interested parties and with each other. This facility created by Film Southasia, is providing added opportunity to the Southasian filmmakers to market their films and increase their radius of influence.

FSA Archive

The FSA Archive holds more than 1600 documentaries which have been submitted to FSA over the course of eight FSA festivals. With each festival, the FSA archive is expanding. The films we hold also forms the basis of the initial information fed into our online database. This database consists of details about the films in FSA archive, their makers, and other relevant information including contact information, year of production, and duration. Films in the FSA Archive can be made available in-house to researchers. Films in the FSA Archive will not be screened commercially.