FSA 2011

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The eighth edition of the festival of Southasian documentaries, Film Southasia 2011, was held in Kathmandu from 29 September to 2 October 2011.  This year’s chief guest, the eminent Bangladeshi filmmaker, Catherine Masud, opened the festival.

From the nearly 400 films which were submitted for the festival, a total of 36 were screened, with 6 being premieres.  The films covered a range of subjects representative of the subcontinent with films from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burma, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and TAR.  In addition to the films, FSA also organised three exciting presentations as a part of the festival.  The first one was titled ‘Tareque Masud Memorial: A Dialogue’ and consisted of a panel discussion on documentary filmmaking in the YouTube age.  The panel tackled the paradox of the advancements in film technology and the lagging progress of filmmaking in Southasia.  The second presentation dealt with financing and distribution of Southasian documentaries with a special focus on marketing the films internationally.  Finally, there was also a special event titled ‘International Humanitarian Law and the Video as Witness’, which included the screening of the documentary Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields, followed by a discussion led by the Secretary General of the South Asia Forum for Human Rights.

This year’s festival slogan was ‘Documentary is Cinema!’; challenging the often limited perceptions of nonfiction films.  As with previous editions of the festival, FSA ’11 was held in a commercial duplex owing to the growing popularity of the festival.  The response of the Kathmandu audience met the organisers’ expectations with many of the screenings running to full houses.  The overwhelming response from the audience reaffirmed our belief that Southasian documentaries can and will continue its journey forward with full force.

FSA ’11 Jury Citation

The entries in this edition of Film Southasia have thrown up a rare chance to start a much-needed debate about Documentary in the digital age. A world where ideas of camera-mediated and singular truth are being seriously challenged by newer narrative forms.

The critique of the medium was contained in the films we saw and was expressed in many different ways by the documentary makers and by their subjects. The questioning present in some of the films pushed us into the idea of seeing documentary beyond its traditional politics/poetics duality and into an exploration of the many forms that will make the new duniya of the documentary. Read More

  • Moving to Mars
    Year 2011  
    Length 84'  
    Directed by
    Mat Whitecross
    Language
    Burmese,English

    A resettlement scheme offers two Burmese refugee families in Thailand the chance of a new life; but their new home, in the British city of Sheffield, will be different to everything they have ever known.

  • War and Love in Kabul
    Year 2009  
    Length 86'  
    Directed by
    Helga Reidemeister
    Language
    Pashto

    Afghan lovers Hossein and Shaima are separated by war, tribal laws, disability, a forced marriage, and of course the constant fear of vengeance.

  • Aadesh Baba, So Be It
    Year 2011  
    Length 77'  
    Directed by
    Adrien Viel,Aurore Laurent
    Language
    English,Nepali

    With a dark look, painted face and almost naked body, Tiger Baba fascinates some and frightens others. Aadesh Baba is the story of the sadhu’s quest for the divine.

  • Apour ti yapour. Na jang na aman. Yeti chu talukpeth
    Year 2011  
    Length 77'  
    Directed by
    Ajay Raina
    Language
    Kashmiri,Pahari,Urdu

    Twenty years of turmoil and the consequent Indian state response may have brought Kashmir to a point from which there is nowhere else to go.

  • Common Ground
    Year 2011  
    Length 52'  
    Directed by
    Philip Buccellato
    Language
    English

    What lies beneath the often-destructive consequences of human elephant conflict is a common story that both man and animal shares.

  • Cowboys in India
    Year 2009  
    Length 76'  
    Directed by
    Simon Chambers
    Language
    English,Oriya

    Long before the now-familiar mix of pollution, land-grabbing, false promises and thuggish ‘bodyguards’ hit the UK headlines, filmmaker Simon Chambers had relocated to Orissa for several years to try to understand the realities of development in the ‘third world’

  • Dharavi, Slum for Sale
    Year 2010  
    Length 79'  
    Directed by
    Lutz Konermann
    Language
    English,Gujrati,Hindi,Marathi

    Bombay, India’s gateway to the West, has reinvented itself –a modern, self-confident commercial metropolis. But with thousands of migrants pouring in every day, half of its almost 20 million inhabitants is forced to live in slums.

  • Director Painter Shri Baburao Laad Saheb
    Year 2010  
    Length 15'  
    Directed by
    Richa Hushing
    Language
    Hindi

    Bollywood aspirations permeate into the lowest layers of Mumbai where a failed actor has turned into a local icon.

  • I Am
    Year 2011  
    Length 71'  
    Directed by
    Sonali Gulati
    Language
    English,Hindi

    I Am chronicles the journey of an Indian lesbian filmmaker who returns to Delhi, eleven years after she left, to reopen what was once home.

  • I Was Worth 50 Sheep
    Year 2010  
    Length 72'  
    Directed by
    Nima Sarvestani
    Language
    Dari

    Sabere has a price on her head. When she was just ten years old, she was sold to a man forty years her senior. After seven years of confinement and abuse she escaped to find temporary refuge in a women’s sanctuary.

  • Inshallah, Football!
    Year 2010  
    Length 83'  
    Directed by
    Ashvin Kumar
    Language
    English,Kashmiri,Urdu

    Basharat Baba belongs to a new generation of Kashmiris. He has grown up under the shadow of a silent war. Yet, within it, football is his passion and fuel.

  • Ishpata
    Year 2011  
    Length 70'  
    Directed by
    Afsheen Sajid Ali,Irfan Ali Shah
    Language
    English,Urdu

    The indigenous people of the Kalash region of Pakistan are fighting for survival because their age-old culture is unique and differs drastically from the various ethnic groups surrounding them.

  • Ram Bahadur Trophy For Best Film
    Jai Bhim Comrade
    Year 2011  
    Length 207'  
    Directed by
    Anand Patwardhan
    Language
    Not listed

    In 1997, the police shot dead 10 unarmed Dalits in Mumbai. Vilas Ghogre, a poet and musician hung himself in protest. This film covers that moment and goes on to explore events that unfolded in the aftermath.

  • Jharu Katha
    Year 2011  
    Length 64'  
    Directed by
    Navroze Contractor
    Language
    Hindi,Rajasthani

    An illuminating story of brooms in conversation with and about the makers, traders, and users of the tool.

  • Tareque Masud Award For Best Debut Film
    Journey to Yarsa
    Year 2011  
    Length 65'  
    Directed by
    Dipendra Bhandari
    Language
    Nepali

    A journey of a man in search of yarsagumba, a fungus that grows out of caterpillars in the high Himalaya, and is much prized for its medicinal properties.

  • Kerosene
    Year 2011  
    Length 16'  
    Directed by
    Kannan Arunasalam
    Language
    Tamil

    During its war with the Tamil Tigers, Jaffna was particularly affected. Jaffna’s taxi drivers and newspaper men had to adapt to scarcity and hardship, and face violence up close.

  • Made In India
    Year 2010  
    Length India  USA  
    Directed by
    Rebecca Halmowitz,Vaishali Sinha
    Language
    English,Hindi

    The journey of an infertile American couple, an Indian surrogate, and the reproductive outsourcing business that brings them together.

  • Nargis: When Time Stopped Breathing
    Year 2010  
    Length 90'  
    Directed by
    Kyaw Kyaw Oo,Maung Myint Aung
    Language
    Burmese

    In May 2008, Cyclone Nargis raged for hours in Myanmar’s Ayeyarwaddy Delta, killing 140,000 people. Life was goes on, somehow, in the most fragile of settings and yet time feels like its standing still.

  • Nero’s Guests
    Year 2009  
    Length 56'  
    Directed by
    Deepa Bhatia
    Language
    English,Hindi,Marathi

    India’s agrarian crisis and the growing inequality seen through the work of a rural-affairs editor of The Hindu. Through sustained coverage of the farm crisis, Sainath and his colleagues created the national agenda, compelling a government in denial to take notice and act.

  • Out of the Darkness
    Year 2010  
    Length 73'  
    Directed by
    Stefano Levi
    Language
    English,Nepali

    In developing countries like Nepal, cataracts is not only a personal tragedy, but can devastate the economy of entire communities. Fortunately, it is also easy to cure.

  • Partners in Crime
    Year 2011  
    Length 94'  
    Directed by
    Paromita Vohra
    Language
    English,Hindi

    Is piracy organized crime or class struggle? Are alternative artists who want to hold rights over their art and go it alone in the market, visionaries or nutcases?

  • Pink Saris
    Year 2011  
    Length 96'  
    Directed by
    Kim Longinotto
    Language
    Hindi

    Sampat Pal like many other, was married as a young girl into a family who made her work hard and beat her often. Unusually, she fought back, leaving her in-laws and eventually becoming famous as a champion for beleaguered women throughout Uttar Pradesh.

  • Platform No. 5
    Year 2010  
    Length 26'  
    Directed by
    Vanaja C
    Language
    Telegu

    In the world of street children how do their personalities evolve? what becomes of their ‘education’ and other agents of socialization, in the absence of formal institutions such as home and school?

  • Saving Dolma
    Year 2010  
    Length 62'  
    Directed by
    Kesang Tseten
    Language
    Arabic,Nepali

    The case of Dolma, a Nepali maid sentenced to death for allegedly killing a fellow Filipino domestic worker in Kuwait provides a rare insight into the fractured lives of ill-prepared women migrant workers in the Gulf States.

  • So Heddan So Hoddan
    Year 2011  
    Length 53'  
    Directed by
    Anjali Monteiro,K P Jayasankar
    Language
    Hindi,Kutchi,Sindhi

    A look into the rich, idiosyncratic legacy of Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai, a medieval Sufi poet. Whose works are celebrations of eternal love and suffering and transcendence through the act of love.

  • Summer Pasture
    Year 2010  
    Length 85'  
    Directed by
    Lynn True,Nelson Walker
    Language
    Tibetan

    Locho, a yak herder, his wife Yama, and their infant daughter, nicknamed Jiatomah (‘pale chubby girl’), spend the summer months in eastern Tibet’s Zachukha grasslands, an area known as Wu-Zui or ‘5-Most’ – the highest, coldest, poorest, largest, and the most remote county in Sichuan province.

  • The Boy Mir: Ten Years in Afghanistan
    Year 2010  
    Length 90'  
    Directed by
    Phil Grabsky
    Language
    Dari

    A journey into early adulthood in one of the toughest places on earth, and a journey that mirrors the vitally important story of Afghanistan

  • The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway
    Year 2010  
    Length 59'  
    Directed by
    Tarun Bhartiya
    Language
    English,Hindi,Nepali

    The charming trains of Darjeeling chug up and down the end of the Himalaya. They support a vast infrastructure of life along the course of their two-foot-wide tracks.

  • The Dreaming Vendors
    Year 2010  
    Length 51'  
    Directed by
    Ahmed Abid
    Language
    Bangla,English

    An extraordinary and horrific journey of human suffering and the struggle for survival by people who were only searing for a better life.

  • The Market
    Year 2010  
    Length 70'  
    Directed by
    Rama Rau
    Language
    English,Tamil

    In India, the fishermen who witnessed the 2004 tsunami refuse to go back to the sea and their wives are now selling their kidneys to feed their families. Hema wants to sell her kidney to pay off family debts but there is no guarantee she will get paid...

  • The Nine Months
    Year 2010  
    Length 77'  
    Directed by
    Merajur Rahman Baruah
    Language
    Assamese

    In Assam dwells a form of entertainment called ‘mobile theatre’ that tours towns and villages, with the 120+ people strong troupe carrying their own stage equipment, generators and even the auditorium in trucks…

  • The Other Song
    Year 2009  
    Length 120'  
    Directed by
    Saba Dewan
    Language
    English,Hindi

    In 1935, Rasoolan Bai, a well-known singer from Varanasi, recorded a love song that she would never sing again. This lost song today is linked to the making of a modern India and the transitions around the control and censorship of female sexualities and cultural expression.

  • The Search for Justice
    Year 2011  
    Length 28'  
    Directed by
    Tehmina Ahmed
    Language
    Urdu

    Investigating the state of labour laws and courts in Pakistan, to expose flaws in the system and recommend possible solutions.

  • FSA Award for Second Best FIlm
    The Truth That Wasn’t There
    Year 2011  
    Length 84'  
    Directed by
    Guy Gunaratne
    Language
    English,Sinhala,Tamil

    In 2009, three student journalists crossed the frontlines in the wake of Sri Lanka’s civil war, the only independent journalists to have done so. They witnessed the trail of destruction and documented everything they saw on 30 hours of tape and over 4000 photographs.

  • This Prison Where I Live
    Year 2010  
    Length 91'  
    Directed by
    Rex Bloomstein
    Language
    Burmese,English,German

    Maung Thura, better known as Zarganar, Burma’s greatest living comedian, and Michael Mittermeier, a stand-up comedian from Germany are tied by humor but separated by repression...

  • Tres Tristes Tigres
    Year 2010  
    Length 15'  
    Directed by
    David Munoz
    Language
    Bangla

    Three men from Rajbari, Bangladesh travel to Dubai to escape poverty. But leaving behind their homes and families, submits them to the mercy of middlemen and employers in a distant country.

 

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  • ‘The Running Hawker’: Shot over a period of three years, the film follows the lives of running hawkers on the trains of South Bengal in India. These hawkers belong to that overwhelming majority of India’s working population (over 90%) who are frequently described as ‘informal’. This informality is constituted by a state of suspension in the zone between legality and illegality. The film attempts a presentation of the question of the hawkers’ livelihood at a time when the world of commodity trade is increasingly moving to bigger sites of supermarkets and malls in India. #fsa2017 #film #documentary #festival #southasia

    filmsouthasia: "‘The Running Hawker’: Shot over a period of three years, the film follows the lives of running hawkers on the trains of South Bengal in India. These hawkers belong to that overwhelming majority of India’s working population (over 90%) who are frequently described as ‘informal’. This informality is constituted by a state of suspension in the zone between legality and illegality. The film attempts a presentation of the question of the hawkers’ livelihood at a time when the world of commodity trade is increasingly moving to bigger sites of supermarkets and malls in India. #fsa2017 #film #documentary #festival #southasia"
    13
    0
  • The festival is getting closer! Film Southasia Director Mitu Varma was interviewed today on the upcoming event and the soon-to-be-released schedule. Stay tuned. #fsa2017

    filmsouthasia: "The festival is getting closer! Film Southasia Director Mitu Varma was interviewed today on the upcoming event and the soon-to-be-released schedule. Stay tuned. #fsa2017"
    8
    0
  • ‘The Colour of My Home’: No sting, no expose', no scoop on why/how/who engineered the pogrom…just an attempt to understand what it means to be uprooted and then "rehabilitated". What does it take to "move on" after a violent displacement? How do you explain a new home to your child? To live with the tag, "IDP" or "Internally Displaced Person", as described in official parlance? How do you reclaim citizenship in times such as these? #fsa2017 #festival #film #documentary #southasia

    filmsouthasia: "‘The Colour of My Home’: No sting, no expose', no scoop on why/how/who engineered the pogrom…just an attempt to understand what it means to be uprooted and then "rehabilitated". What does it take to "move on" after a violent displacement? How do you explain a new home to your child? To live with the tag, "IDP" or "Internally Displaced Person", as described in official parlance? How do you reclaim citizenship in times such as these? #fsa2017 #festival #film #documentary #southasia"
    3
    0
  • ‘The Cinema Travellers’: A Cannes prize-winning film, this is a journey with the traveling cinemas of India, which bring the wonder of the movies to faraway villages annually. Seven decades on, as their lorries and cinema projectors crumble and film reels become scarce, their audiences are lured by slick digital technology. Filmed over five years, The Cinema Travellers accompanies a shrewd exhibitor, a benevolent showman and a maverick projector mechanic who bear a beautiful burden – to keep the last traveling cinemas of the world running. The film has won ten national and international awards. #fsa2017 #film #festival #documentary #southasia #cannes

    filmsouthasia: "‘The Cinema Travellers’: A Cannes prize-winning film, this is a journey with the traveling cinemas of India, which bring the wonder of the movies to faraway villages annually. Seven decades on, as their lorries and cinema projectors crumble and film reels become scarce, their audiences are lured by slick digital technology. Filmed over five years, The Cinema Travellers accompanies a shrewd exhibitor, a benevolent showman and a maverick projector mechanic who bear a beautiful burden – to keep the last traveling cinemas of the world running. The film has won ten national and international awards. #fsa2017 #film #festival #documentary #southasia #cannes"
    18
    0
  • ‘The Books We Made’: Inspired by the work of Urvashi Butalia and Ritu Menon, who co-founded the first feminist publishing house in India: Kali for Women, the film is about the joy and pain of surviving in two non-lucrative professions: that of writing for small, discerning audiences, and that of publishing, translating and promoting work barely known outside its own linguistic region in India. It looks back on thirty years in publishing and focuses on the feminist politics and friendships that make this survival possible. #fsa2017 #film #documentary #southasia #festival

    filmsouthasia: "‘The Books We Made’: Inspired by the work of Urvashi Butalia and Ritu Menon, who co-founded the first feminist publishing house in India: Kali for Women, the film is about the joy and pain of surviving in two non-lucrative professions: that of writing for small, discerning audiences, and that of publishing, translating and promoting work barely known outside its own linguistic region in India. It looks back on thirty years in publishing and focuses on the feminist politics and friendships that make this survival possible. #fsa2017 #film #documentary #southasia #festival"
    12
    0
  • ‘Sri Lanka, ghosts of war (Sri Lanka, les fantômes de la guerre)’: Seven years after the end of the civil war in Sri Lanka, French journalist Vanessa Dougnac travels through the North of the country searching for testimonies and remains of the conflict. Thousands of civilians were estimated killed in the last months, when the Sri Lankan army launched its final offensive to crush the Tamil Tigers. The documentary tells about the mechanism of a so-called war on terror. It offers the victims the possibility to go against the official version of a perfectly-led military operation, and speak about their own dreadful experiences. #fsa2017 #film #documentary #festival #southasia

    filmsouthasia: "‘Sri Lanka, ghosts of war (Sri Lanka, les fantômes de la guerre)’: Seven years after the end of the civil war in Sri Lanka, French journalist Vanessa Dougnac travels through the North of the country searching for testimonies and remains of the conflict. Thousands of civilians were estimated killed in the last months, when the Sri Lankan army launched its final offensive to crush the Tamil Tigers. The documentary tells about the mechanism of a so-called war on terror. It offers the victims the possibility to go against the official version of a perfectly-led military operation, and speak about their own dreadful experiences. #fsa2017 #film #documentary #festival #southasia"
    5
    0
  • ‘Soz - A Ballad of Maladies’: Of folk, rock and hip-hop, this documentary captures the rhythm and blues of resistance in Kashmir valley. It is a portrait of those musicians and artists who have turned their art into weapons of resistance during periods of heightened state repression and violence in the region. #fsa2017 #festival #film #documentary #southasia

    filmsouthasia: "‘Soz - A Ballad of Maladies’: Of folk, rock and hip-hop, this documentary captures the rhythm and blues of resistance in Kashmir valley. It is a portrait of those musicians and artists who have turned their art into weapons of resistance during periods of heightened state repression and violence in the region. #fsa2017 #festival #film #documentary #southasia"
    14
    0
  • ‘Shepherdess of the Glaciers (La Bergere Des Glaces)’: Way up in Ladakh—at 16,500 feet, somewhere in the Gya-Miru Valley—lives a shepherdess with a flock of 250 sheep and pashmina goats on a huge deserted rock-strewn mountain. Over a year, Tsering shares with us her lonely life among animals in an extreme environment. In spite of these tough conditions, she shows an astonishingly strong spirit. She preserves a traditional ecological way of living. But for how long ? #fsa2017 #festival #documentary #southasia #film

    filmsouthasia: "‘Shepherdess of the Glaciers (La Bergere Des Glaces)’: Way up in Ladakh—at 16,500 feet, somewhere in the Gya-Miru Valley—lives a shepherdess with a flock of 250 sheep and pashmina goats on a huge deserted rock-strewn mountain. Over a year, Tsering shares with us her lonely life among animals in an extreme environment. In spite of these tough conditions, she shows an astonishingly strong spirit. She preserves a traditional ecological way of living. But for how long ? #fsa2017 #festival #documentary #southasia #film"
    8
    0
  • ‘Save Gangamaya’: Ms. Gangamaya Adhikari and Mr. Nanda Prasad Adhikari, a couple from Gorkha (Nepal) sat on a hunger protest in front of the Prime Minister’s residence, demanding justice for the 2004 murder of their teenage son Krishna Prasad Adhikari. They were forcefully admitted at Bir Hospital, however on September 22, 2014, Nanda Prasad breathed his last at his 333 days of hunger protest. On October 19, 2014, the Nepali government promised justice to Gangamaya and ended her 359 days of fast-unto-death. However, justice has not yet been served, and despite her very weak and deteriorating health Gangamaya once again begins her indefinite hunger protest. #fsa2017 #festival #film #documentary #southasia

    filmsouthasia: "‘Save Gangamaya’: Ms. Gangamaya Adhikari and Mr. Nanda Prasad Adhikari, a couple from Gorkha (Nepal) sat on a hunger protest in front of the Prime Minister’s residence, demanding justice for the 2004 murder of their teenage son Krishna Prasad Adhikari. They were forcefully admitted at Bir Hospital, however on September 22, 2014, Nanda Prasad breathed his last at his 333 days of hunger protest. On October 19, 2014, the Nepali government promised justice to Gangamaya and ended her 359 days of fast-unto-death. However, justice has not yet been served, and despite her very weak and deteriorating health Gangamaya once again begins her indefinite hunger protest. #fsa2017 #festival #film #documentary #southasia"
    14
    0
  • ‘Satisal In Inferno (Dadelo Bhitra ka Satisaal)’: A tribute to singers, who, against all odds, have been lending their voices to marginalized underdogs in Nepal for over 50 years. #fsa2017 #film #documentary #festival #southasia

    filmsouthasia: "‘Satisal In Inferno (Dadelo Bhitra ka Satisaal)’: A tribute to singers, who, against all odds, have been lending their voices to marginalized underdogs in Nepal for over 50 years. #fsa2017 #film #documentary #festival #southasia"
    14
    0