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The fiction of nonfiction

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The Film Southasia 2017 festival held in Kathmandu, a curation of 63 of the best documentaries made in South Asia over the last couple of years, tellingly demonstrated the conflation of the personal and the universal, of fiction and nonfiction. IN his Charles Eliot Norton lectures delivered in the early 1990s at Harvard University, subsequently […]

‘Ralfa’ and the People’s Anthem

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‘Ralfa’ and the People’s Anthem by Pranay Limbu and Dambar Krishna Shrestha on the making Satisaal in the Inferno
Saatisal in the Inferno is the untold history of ‘Ralfa’, the group that breathed fire against the autocratic Panchayat system by echoing the villages of Nepal with songs of people. The troubadours sang for social transformation and political emancipation from the regime, which had held sway since 1960.

THE MAKING OF PERWEEN REHMAN: THE REBEL OPTIMIST

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I ran into Perween Rahman at the Karachi Literature Festival in 2013. She met me so warmly that afternoon that it is forever etched in my memory. We spoke briefly about the feature length documentary I wanted to make with her about Karachiʼs sewage system. She was glowing, and since several people around her were vying for her attention, I told her I would visit her at her office in Orangi to discuss the documentary in detail.

Experiments with Truth: The Documentary Crisis

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Documentaries are like birds, with feathers and wings. They fly, they cross borders, they migrate, they rest in strange places. These are particularly exciting times for docs with wings when images are being produced by just about everyone and let loose at a scale that was unimaginable two decades back when Film South Asia was born. And these are challenging times too for documentary film makers because everyone is a film maker today. Images that made films, that made heroes and heroines of film makers are now being made by everyone.

Documentary Bears Witness

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There is a nip in the air as the November weather clothes Kathmandu in its charming best. It’s time again for FSA – the 11th edition in its 20th year! We greet you – our audience – hoping you will enjoy the smorgasbord of films put together for you.

A haven for non-fiction!

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FSA became a movement where journalists, activists and filmmakers from the far reaches of the Subcontinent and beyond found safe haven in Kathmandu every two years.

Representing silence

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In countries in Southasia, where the space for dissent is shrinking rapidly before our eyes, the political documentary may stand out as the form par excellence.

A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness

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Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, a famous Pakistani filmmaker, has won her second Academy Award, making her the first Pakistani to win two Oscars. During the 88th Academy Awards ceremony, she was awarded in the category of Documentary (short subject) for her film, A Girl in the River: The price of Forgiveness. The film presents the story of […]

Film Southasia’15

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Nitesh Pradhan  It was quite serendipitously that I came across a poster of Film South Asia 2015 (hereafter referred to as FSA15). But that is a story for another time. Right now we’re going to talk about the Festival. Firstly, I have to admit; FSA15 was my first exclusively Documentary screening film festival. Barring FSA09 I […]

A glimpse of hardship

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Taran Khan Three documentaries offer moving and intimate portraits of the rural poor.   In the documentary My Name is Salt (directed by Farida Pacha), set in the saline desert of Little Rann of Kutch in India, a sequence shows the middle-aged protagonist fretting over the quality of salt crystals forming in his fields. “Leave […]

A road well travelled

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Taran N Khan The road in Yirmiyan Arthur Yhome’s documentary, This Road I know, carries the weight of many metaphors. At the beginning of the film, it takes us into the memories of the director’s idyllic childhood. As the narrative unfolds, it turns into a device to explore ethnic divisions and the history of violence […]

FSA panel discussion challenges censorship

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Film Southasia 2013 delivered a swift rebuke to the Sri Lankan government’s attempted censorship by organizing a panel on how freedom of expression is restricted in Southasia. The discussion, which could be informally titled ‘Censorship without borders’, featured Kunda Dixit, editor of the Nepali Times; Shahidul Alam, eminent photographer, writer and activist from Bangladesh; Narayan […]

Hall 1, Day 3

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Day 3 of FSA ’13, on a rainy Kathmandu Saturday ideal for curling up with a movie, presented more superb documentary amid the buzz surrounding No Fire Zone, a powerful documentary on the atrocities committed against non-combatants in the final days of Sri Lanka’s war against the Tamil Tigers that has been banned along with […]

Invitation: Impromptu panel discussion on CENSORSHIP

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Film Southasia 2013 invites you to a panel discussion on CENSORSHIP with editor of Nepali Times Kunda Dixit, journalist Naryan Wagle, photographer and activist from Bangladesh Shahidul Alam and film maker from Burma Thet Oo Maung. Saturday, 5 October, 1PM at QFX Kumari, Hall 1. This panel discussion has been arranged impromptu, in response to […]

Friday Afternoon

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You can’t always be expected to know what you don’t know, and one of the most important things about documentary films is to let you into worlds that you didn’t know existed. “The Human Factor” tells the story of the father and two sons of the Lord family, behind-the-scenes Hindi film musicians who are estimated […]

Why Poverty?

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The final session of day one presented a series of short films curated as “Why Poverty”—some very short at under a minute, and others around five minutes long. All were produced with the assistance of South African based NGO Steps International, and looked at different manifestations of poverty. The session got off to a great […]

Challenging the sighted what it means to see

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Day two kicked off with “Algorithms”, a ninety-minute documentary on the world of blind chess. Chess is a game of the mind, one of the proponents of blind chess featured in the film comments. Therefore, it is the only game where, potentially, blind players are on an equal footing to sighted players. There is no […]

Afghan Eyes: Films from Afghanistan

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FSA has two special curated packages this year. The first, from Ahmedabad-based under-30 film festival Alpavirama was shown at a special preview session at Yala Maya Kendra at Patan Dhoka on Monday 1st October. Alpavirama has only held one festival, in 2011, but has another in the works for 2014, and the films shown in Kathmandu on […]

More than ‘earnest’ and ‘real’

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By Gargi Sen Documentary filmmaking is under-resourced, but film festivals in India and other parts of Southasia provide a boost for the genre. In a recently concluded documentary film screening in New Delhi, a section of the audience, mostly college students, wanted to know what the message of the film was. I have more than […]

“Let’s get together: it’s stupid to fight, and lovely to be friends”: Film Southasia 2013 launch

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The official Film Southasia 2013 opening had it all: intelligent speeches, beautiful music, and some serious political controversy. Three addresses started the proceedings, from Kanak Mani Dixit (FSA Chair and editor of Himal Southasian magazine), Sadanand Menon (the FSA Jury Chair) and Mani Shankar Aiyar (Indian Politician and Writer). One theme ran through all addresses, […]

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  • Some photos from the #fsa2017 closing ceremony on Sunday. Photos by: Katha Haru

    filmsouthasia: "Some photos from the #fsa2017 closing ceremony on Sunday. Photos by: Katha Haru"
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  • Congratulations to all the winners from #fsa2017!

    filmsouthasia: "Congratulations to all the winners from #fsa2017!"
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  • We are grateful to ALL who made Film Southasia 2017 happen. It was a mighty, collaborative and transformative experience for all involved, staff, volunteers, partners, filmmakers and audience members. Thank you, thank you, thank you! #fsa2017

    filmsouthasia: "We are grateful to ALL who made Film Southasia 2017 happen. It was a mighty, collaborative and transformative experience for all involved, staff, volunteers, partners, filmmakers and audience members. Thank you, thank you, thank you! #fsa2017"
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  • Getting ready for the closing show and ceremony! Only one hour left...get your ticket before the run out. #fsa2017

    filmsouthasia: "Getting ready for the closing show and ceremony! Only one hour left...get your ticket before the run out. #fsa2017"
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  • Young minds keep us young! Delighted to have students from Kindergarten Secondary School at #FSA2017 today

    filmsouthasia: "Young minds keep us young! Delighted to have students from Kindergarten Secondary School at #FSA2017 today"
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  • The Ram Bahadur Award for outstanding film of #fsa2017 is up for show! Have you taken a pic with the award yet?

    filmsouthasia: "The Ram Bahadur Award for outstanding film of #fsa2017 is up for show! Have you taken a pic with the award yet?"
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  • Don't miss out on 17 films on our last day today! Thank you to all those who've attended so far. Vid by @garywornell #fsa2017

    filmsouthasia: "Don't miss out on 17 films on our last day today! Thank you to all those who've attended so far. Vid by @garywornell #fsa2017"
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  • Documentary watching is serious business! Line up today to watch today’s screenings, the last day of #fsa2017.

    filmsouthasia: "Documentary watching is serious business! Line up today to watch today’s screenings, the last day of #fsa2017."
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  • Didn’t think this room could fit anymore people...but I guess it could! A super packed room and rapt audience listening to Director Kesang Tseten answer questions from the audience about his film ‘Trembling Mountain’. #fsa2017

    filmsouthasia: "Didn’t think this room could fit anymore people...but I guess it could! A super packed room and rapt audience listening to Director Kesang Tseten answer questions from the audience about his film ‘Trembling Mountain’. #fsa2017"
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  • The day isn’t over just yet! Bring your friends and family to see Cannes Film Festival special mention (and 15 other awards!) film ‘Cinema Travellers’ this evening at 7pm in the Yala Maya Kendra courtyard. #fsa2017

    filmsouthasia: "The day isn’t over just yet! Bring your friends and family to see Cannes Film Festival special mention (and 15 other awards!) film ‘Cinema Travellers’ this evening at 7pm in the Yala Maya Kendra courtyard. #fsa2017"
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