FSA 2009

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The seventh edition of the festival of Southasian documentaries, Film Southasia ’09, was held in Kathmandu from 17-20 September 2009. Veteran actor and social activist Shabana Azmi opened FSA ’09 together with Nepal’s Minister of Information and Communications Shankar Pokharel. Thirty-five films were screened, selected from 320 submitted. “Give me non-fiction” was the slogan of FSA ’09.

As with the previous two editions of the festival, FSA ’09 was held at a commercial duplex because of the ever-growing popularity of the festival. The response of the Kathmandu audience met the organisers’ expectations, with most of the screenings running to full houses. The success of FSA ’09 also confirmed our belief that the popularity of the Southasian documentary is registering a continuous upward swing and what is essential is the continuity in putting up festivals.

Jury Citation

Jury: Sadanand Menon (Chair), Lalsawmliani Tochhawng, Isa Daudpota

FSA ’09 has taken the Jury, as well the wonderful Kathmandu audience, on an amazing trip though Southasia these past few days. From Leh to Chittagong, from Afghan girls in headscarves kicking football to Maharashtrian girls in shorts boxing, from the unforgettable classical notes of M.D.Ramanathan to the inspiring celebration of Bob Dylan by Lou Majaw, from Kabir and Prahalad Tippanya to Kabir and the Indian Ocean, from transgender third sex communities in Tamil Nadu to uniformed enemies of love in Lucknow, from chroniclers of Dalit history like Bhagwandas the lone struggle of the tsunami-affected Mayomi in Sri Lanka to maintain her family’s dignity. Read more.

  • Afghan Girls Can Kick
    Year 2007  
    Length 50'  
    Directed by
    Bahareh Hosseini
    Language
    Dari

    Group of girls become players in Afghanistan's first ever women's national football team, as they envision a future in a country beset by insecurity and marked by suicide bombings.

  • All The World's A Stage
    Year 2008  
    Length 60'  
    Directed by
    Nirmal Chander
    Language
    Hindi,Gujarati,Swahili

    The Sidi are a small community, who migrated from East Africa about 800 years ago. Centuries of discrimination and indifference have pushed them down the socio-economic ladder, but their unique devotional music, in praise of the Sufi saints, has given them a strong sense of identity and stability.

  • Bhagwan Das: In Pursuit of Ambedkar
    Year 2009  
    Length 61'  
    Directed by
    S Anand
    Language
    English

    Das recalls the moment of Independence as 'Hindu Raj', a time when the untouchables were afraid; critiques Gandhi; and speaks of the 'Valmikisation' of the sweeper community following large-scale conversions to Christianity in the 1870s and 1880s.

  • Children of God
    Year 2008  
    Length 89'  
    Directed by
    Yi Seung-jun
    Language
    Nepali

    At the crematorium at the Pashupatinath temple in Kathmandu, there are many whose livelihoods depend on the ritual of death. Among them are the children who live off the food and money drifting in the water after being used as offerings for the funerals.

  • Children of The Pyre
    Year 2008  
    Length 74'  
    Directed by
    Rajesh S Jala
    Language
    Hindi

    Seven children spend their days and nights in the heat of the pyre, steal used coffin shrouds, sell them for petty amounts in order to ensure their own livelihoods and that of their families.

  • Chilika Bank$
    Year 2008  
    Length 60'  
    Directed by
    Akanksha Joshi
    Language
    Oriya,Hindi

    In a canvass spread over four decades, a banyan tree on the banks of the lake Chilika silently whispers tales of the lake and her fisher folk. Beginning from the times when there was no export bazaar, Chilika Bank$ takes us to the time when there may be no lake.

  • Come to My Country: Journeys with Kabir and Friends
    Year 2008  
    Length 98'  
    Directed by
    Shabnam Virmani
    Language
    Hindi,Malwi

    The stories of two people from two very different backgrounds: Indian folk singer Prahlad Tippanya and North American scholar Linda Hess

  • Delhi: Work In Progress
    Year 2008  
    Length 38'  
    Directed by
    Krishnendu Bose
    Language
    English

    Known as one of the greenest capitals in the world, Delhi may not hold this title for much longer. The city's 2500-year old history of gardens is rapidly being abandoned for a more 'globalised' look.

  • Encountered on Saffron Agenda?
    Year 2007  
    Length 90'  
    Directed by
    Shubhradeep Chakravorty
    Language
    English,Hindi

    An investigative documentation of four encounter killings in Gujarat - Sameer Khan Pathan, Sadik Jamal, Ishrat Jahan-Javed Seikh and Shorabuddin Seikh - allegedly on a mission to assassinate Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

  • Flying on One Engine
    Year 2008  
    Length 51'  
    Directed by
    Joshua Z Weinstein
    Language
    English,Marathi,Hindi

    Wheelchair bound, without a larynx, and diagnosed with a life-threatening aortic aneurysm, Dr Sharadkumar Dicksheet now lives only (and barely) so he can travel to India to perform free operations.

  • Forever Young
    Year 2008  
    Length 78'  
    Directed by
    Ranjan Palit
    Language
    English,Khasi

    For the last 30 years, 62-year old musician Lou Majaw has been performing a concert in Shillong every 24 May, celebrating Bob Dylan's birthday. Forever Young takes a look at this fan's life.

  • In Search of the Riyal
    Year 2009  
    Length 88'  
    Directed by
    Kesang Tseten
    Language
    Nepali

    Young Nepalis from disadvantaged communities who undergo minimal skills training to prepare for the Gulf. The disillusioning, sad, but at times empowering, experience of Nepalis in Qatar, rarely captured due to the Gulf's sensitivity to scrutiny of their labour practices.

  • In the Market Stands Kabir: Journeys with Sacred & Secular Kabir
    Year 2008  
    Length 94'  
    Directed by
    Shabnam Virmani
    Language
    Hindi,Malwi

    In 15th century north India, the mystic weaver Kabir spoke his poems in the market place, his spirituality firmly grounded in the public square. Some 600 years after his time, Kabir is found in both sacred and secular spaces.

  • Leaving Home - The Life and Music of Indian Ocean
    Year 2008  
    Length 114'  
    Directed by
    Jaideep Varma
    Language
    English,Hindi,Bengali

    One of most significant musical groups to come out of India, Indian Ocean has been doing path breaking, timeless work outside the mainstream, quietly, and with great integrity for the last 16 years.

  • Machis ko Sinka (Matchstick)
    Year 2008  
    Length 11'  
    Directed by
    Radhamohini Prasad
    Language
    Nepali

    A project which began as a search for the Nepali-Indian identity, Machis Ko Sinka (Matchstick) evolved into an attempt to understand the Gorkhaland Movement in Darjeeling and to represent it for mainland Indians. Acknowledging the multicultural mosaic of 'Gorkhaland', the filmmaker tries to make sense of why all the different communities in this geographical space have identified themselves with the Gorkhas...

  • Mayomi
    Year 2008  
    Length 50'  
    Directed by
    Carol Salter
    Language
    Sinhala

    An exploration of a young Sri Lankan woman's unconditional love of and obligation to her family, the film is an intimate portrait of the protagonist Mayomi's struggle to gain independence, while holding her troublesome family together in post-tsunami Sri Lanka.

  • Morality TV and Loving Jehad: A Thrilling Tale
    Year 2008  
    Length 31'  
    Directed by
    Paromita Vohra
    Language
    Hindi

    In the winter of 2005 Indians switched on their TV sets to watch yet another 'breaking news' story, one which shocked them. In the town of Meerut, police officers, mostly women, swooped down on lovers in a park and began to beat them up. These officers took photographers and news cameramen along, promising an exclusive sting operation...

  • Our Family
    Year 2007  
    Length 56'  
    Directed by
    Anjali Monteiro,K P Jayasankar
    Language
    Tamil

    Set in Tamil Nadu, Our Family brings together excerpts from Nirvanam, a one person performance, by Pritham K Chakravarthy about three generations of a family of trans-gendered women

  • Out Of Thin Air
    Year 2009  
    Length 50'  
    Directed by
    Samreen Farooqui,Shabani Hassanwalia
    Language
    Hindi,Ladakhi

    The Ladakhi film industry has been growing by leaps and bounds, making 28 films just in the last six years. But the lives of the locals involved in the films are not spent giving interviews and walking red carpets.

  • People's Leader - Last 72 Days
    Year 2008  
    Length 25'  
    Directed by
    Nargis Hashmi
    Language
    English,Urdu

    People's Leader is a film about different periods of Benazir Bhutto's political career, the struggle against military dictatorship and her two stints as prime minister of Pakistan. It provides a snapshot of the last 72 days of her tumultuous life.

  • Punches N Ponytails
    Year 2008  
    Length 74'  
    Directed by
    Pankaj Rishi Kumar
    Language
    Marathi,Hindi

    A journey into the science of boxing as practiced by two Indian women, the story unfolds as the women wrestle with their existence as boxers and the surrounding conflicts.

  • Saamam (The Music)
    Year 2009  
    Length 42'  
    Directed by
    Ramachandran K
    Language
    Malayalam

    An attempt to condense the huge body of memories about a Carnatic musical colossus, the late M D Ramanathan, Saaman (The Music) is a humble tribute to an unparallel musical genius.

  • Shores Far Away
    Year 2007  
    Length 49'  
    Directed by
    Savyasaachi Jain
    Language
    English,Hindi,Punjabi

    Shores Far Away is the true story of the thousands of Indians who attempt to smuggle themselves across borders into Europe every year. Some disappear without a trace, others face imprisonment and torture...

  • Super 30
    Year 2008  
    Length 59'  
    Directed by
    Christopher Mitchell
    Language
    English,Hindi

    Each year the Ramanujan School of Mathematics in Patna selects 30 teenagers and prepares them to compete for the Indian Institute of Technology. They come from low-caste backgrounds, they have a talent for mathematics. The film follows the most recent Super 30, from their initial selection in September 2006 to the moment when they receive their IIT results in May 2007.

  • Tareque Masud Award For Best Debut Film
    Supermen of Malegaon
    Year 2008  
    Length 79'  
    Directed by
    Faiza Ahmad Khan
    Language
    Urdu,Hindi

    Malegaon, a small town tucked away near the geographical heart of India, is fraught with communal tension and under severe economic depression. To escape the harsh reality of their world, its people seek refuge in the fantastical world of cinema.

  • Temples in the Clouds
    Year 2008  
    Length 56'  
    Directed by
    Jim Mallinson,Chicoo Patuzzi
    Language
    English

    ames (Jim) Mallinson and Enrico (Chicco) Patuzzi share two passions: paragliding and the religious culture of India. The men combine these interests together in an aerial pilgrimage to the ancient temple of Himani Chamunda, the presiding goddess of the Kangra Valley. Perched at 2,800 metres on a rocky spur, all previous pilgrims have had to make an arduous trek to reach the temple...

  • The Battle For Pakistan
    Year 2009  
    Length 40'  
    Directed by
    Maheen Zia
    Language
    English,Urdu

    Investigating the nexus between extremism and Pakistani madrassas, The Battle for Pakistan explores the factors behind the mushrooming of madrassas, government attempts at regulation and the socio-political dynamics at play.

  • The Forgotten Refugees
    Year 2009  
    Length 45'  
    Directed by
    Amanda Burrell
    Language
    English,Nepali

    Over a hundred thousand Bhutanese refugees are crowded into camps in south eastern Nepal, one of the biggest concentrations of refugees anywhere in the world. Expelled from Bhutan almost 20 years ago, they have barely been noticed by the international community since...

  • Ram Bahadur Trophy For Best Film
    The Last Rites
    Year 2008  
    Length 17'  
    Directed by
    Yasmine Kabir
    Language
    Silent

    A silent film depicting the ship-breaking yards of Chittagong, Bangladesh, a final destination for ships too old to ply the oceans. Every year, hundreds of ships are sent to these yards.

  • The Lengend of Shiva and Parvati
    Year 2008  
    Length 85'  
    Directed by
    Krishna Saraswati
    Language
    English,German

    The Legend of Shiva and Parvati is the journey of a hippie-girl from a small town in Germany and a yogi from the Himalaya. It speaks of love and hate, joy and grief, life and death, and, ultimately, the courage to go one's own way.

  • The Lightning Testimonies
    Year 2007  
    Length 113'  
    Directed by
    Amar Kanwar
    Language
    English

    A film that is a reflection on the history of conflict in the Indian Subcontinent through experiences of sexual violence. As the film explores this violence, multiple submerged narratives emerge, sometimes in people, images and memories, and, at other times, in objects from nature and everyday life standing as silent but surviving witnesses.

  • FSA Award for Second Best FIlm
    The Promised Land (Swapnabhumi)
    Year 2008  
    Length 90'  
    Directed by
    Tanvir Mokammel
    Language
    Bengali

    A tale of statelessness spanning six decades and three countries, The Promised Land is about the 160,000 strong Urdu-speaking community of Bangladesh, living isolated lives in 116 camps across the country.

  • FSA Award for Second Best FIlm
    The Salt Stories
    Year 2008  
    Length 84'  
    Directed by
    Lalit Vachani
    Language
    English,Hindi,Gujarati

    In 1930, a group of Indians led by a frail, elderly man marched 241 miles. They marched for salt. Mahatma Gandhi was able to craft an anti-colonial, nationalist movement around a basic issue of livelihood: the right of Indians to make and consume their own salt.

  • The Way of the Road
    Year 2009  
    Length 60'  
    Directed by
    Ben Campbell,Cosmo Campbell
    Language
    English,Tamang

    In 2012, a road through Nepal's Rasuwa District will reconnect an ancient Himalayan trade route with global traffic. The film looks through Tamang villagers' eyes at the cultural and economic flows through this border land, including a dramatic re-enactment of Tibetan and Nepali armies in conflict. But what do the villagers whose lives it is intended to benefit think about where the road will run?

  • Threadbare
    Year 2008  
    Length 40'  
    Directed by
    Arshad Khan
    Language
    English,Urdu,Hindi

    Threadbare tells the story of the victims of Canada's 'War on Terror': Twenty-four men who are falsely accused, imprisoned and deported just for having the word 'Mohammad' in their names.

 

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