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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, […]

Filming the ‘war without witness’

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As planned, Film Southasia organisers went ahead with screenings of three Sri Lankan films in spite of pressure from the Sri Lankan government. Hundreds of people packed the hall at Yala Mala Kendra near Patan Dhoka, a turnout that demonstrated how the censorship attempt completely backfired and actually drummed up audience interest. Simply watching the […]

Interfacing humans and ecology on screen

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Three began with short films on both screens, including two that focus on ecological issues and how humans relate to them. Gaur in My Garden provided a glimpse of increasing interactions between humans and animals, specifically bison, in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve in Kotagiri, Tamil Nadu. The opening scenes introduce the audience to one particular […]

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  • ‘Kairana, After the Headlines… (Kairana, Surkhiyon Ke Baad…)’: In a small town in western Uttar Pradesh's Shamli district in June 2016, the town’s MP, Hukum Singh, from the Bharatiya Janata Party, claimed that there was an exodus of Hindus from Muslim-majority Kairana because of harassment by Muslims. The film attempts to look at the town and its politics, and the issues that affect it, beyond the binaries of Hindu versus Muslim. #fsa2017 #film #festival #documentary #southasia

    filmsouthasia: "‘Kairana, After the Headlines… (Kairana, Surkhiyon Ke Baad…)’: In a small town in western Uttar Pradesh's Shamli district in June 2016, the town’s MP, Hukum Singh, from the Bharatiya Janata Party, claimed that there was an exodus of Hindus from Muslim-majority Kairana because of harassment by Muslims. The film attempts to look at the town and its politics, and the issues that affect it, beyond the binaries of Hindu versus Muslim. #fsa2017 #film #festival #documentary #southasia"
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  • 'K2 and the Invisible Footmen': Located on the border between Pakistan and China, K2 is the second-highest mountain on Earth. Nicknamed the 'Savage Mountain,' K2's peak juts unprotected into the atmosphere, regularly exposing climbers and porters to life-threatening weather conditions. Despite being paid at rates far below those received by international expedition leaders, such porters do some of the most difficult and dangerous work and these efforts make them worthy of recognition as the true heroes of mountaineering. #fsa2017 #film #documentary #festival #southasia

    filmsouthasia: "'K2 and the Invisible Footmen': Located on the border between Pakistan and China, K2 is the second-highest mountain on Earth. Nicknamed the 'Savage Mountain,' K2's peak juts unprotected into the atmosphere, regularly exposing climbers and porters to life-threatening weather conditions. Despite being paid at rates far below those received by international expedition leaders, such porters do some of the most difficult and dangerous work and these efforts make them worthy of recognition as the true heroes of mountaineering. #fsa2017 #film #documentary #festival #southasia"
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  • ‘Is it too much to ask’: The film follows the journey of two friends Smile and Glady – looking for a rental apartment in Chennai and the obstacles and social stigma they encounter in not just looking for a home but being single and the fact that they are transgender women. They turn their anger and frustrations into songs, dance, plays and their work of art continues to supply them the hope to live. #fsa2017 #film #festival #documentary #southasia

    filmsouthasia: "‘Is it too much to ask’: The film follows the journey of two friends Smile and Glady – looking for a rental apartment in Chennai and the obstacles and social stigma they encounter in not just looking for a home but being single and the fact that they are transgender women. They turn their anger and frustrations into songs, dance, plays and their work of art continues to supply them the hope to live. #fsa2017 #film #festival #documentary #southasia"
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  • ‘Ima Sabitri’: The film is an intimate portrayal of Sabitri – a household name among theatre enthusiasts. She is addressed as “Ima”, mother. The figure of the mother, who is a teacher, a partner, a daughter…a woman, weaves a range of events, on and off the stage. Shot over a period of three years, the film explores inspirations behind a vibrant and original theatre company. Moments of celebrations, crisis, and the desire for continuity are portrayed as they unfold. #fsa2017 #film #documentary #festival #southasia

    filmsouthasia: "‘Ima Sabitri’: The film is an intimate portrayal of Sabitri – a household name among theatre enthusiasts. She is addressed as “Ima”, mother. The figure of the mother, who is a teacher, a partner, a daughter…a woman, weaves a range of events, on and off the stage. Shot over a period of three years, the film explores inspirations behind a vibrant and original theatre company. Moments of celebrations, crisis, and the desire for continuity are portrayed as they unfold. #fsa2017 #film #documentary #festival #southasia"
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  • 'Hospital (Aaspatal)’: By renowned Nepali filmmaker Kesang Tseten, this is an intimate portrait of a state-run hospital in Kalikot, one of Nepal’s remotest and poorest districts. It’s the kind of posting that medical personnel usually avoid or from which they quickly make their escape. In addition to showing the doctors and nurses caring for the sick, the film offers a revealing glimpse into how ordinary Nepalis cope with their lot, without drama, and often with humanity and humour, while laying bare some grimmer fissures of Nepali society. #fsa2017 #film #festival #documentary #southasia

    filmsouthasia: "'Hospital (Aaspatal)’: By renowned Nepali filmmaker Kesang Tseten, this is an intimate portrait of a state-run hospital in Kalikot, one of Nepal’s remotest and poorest districts. It’s the kind of posting that medical personnel usually avoid or from which they quickly make their escape. In addition to showing the doctors and nurses caring for the sick, the film offers a revealing glimpse into how ordinary Nepalis cope with their lot, without drama, and often with humanity and humour, while laying bare some grimmer fissures of Nepali society. #fsa2017 #film #festival #documentary #southasia"
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  • ‘Himalayan Refugee’: Nepal, the land of Lord Buddha is also home to refugees from around the world. One such community is Ahmadi Muslim from Pakistan. Discrimination in their home country is sanctioned by the constitution and persecuted for following their sect they have migrated to 206 countries. The documentary explores the plight of refugees in general and of this community in particular. #fsa2017 #film #festival #documentary #southasia

    filmsouthasia: "‘Himalayan Refugee’: Nepal, the land of Lord Buddha is also home to refugees from around the world. One such community is Ahmadi Muslim from Pakistan. Discrimination in their home country is sanctioned by the constitution and persecuted for following their sect they have migrated to 206 countries. The documentary explores the plight of refugees in general and of this community in particular. #fsa2017 #film #festival #documentary #southasia"
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  • Have you heard? Film Southasia is less than 3 weeks away! We're so excited to showcase 60+ films from across #southasia, here in our very own #Patan Dhoka. Make sure to save the dates Nov 2-5 and stay tuned for the festival schedule coming soon. #fsa2017

    filmsouthasia: "Have you heard? Film Southasia is less than 3 weeks away! We're so excited to showcase 60+ films from across #southasia, here in our very own #Patan Dhoka. Make sure to save the dates Nov 2-5 and stay tuned for the festival schedule coming soon. #fsa2017"
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  • 'Fireflies in the Abyss’: In a narrow pit, 11-year-old Suraj, a Nepalese migrant, crawls through ‘ratholes’ or tunnels, scratching coal from rock in a northeastern Indian boomtown as the sole source of income for his livelihood. A transporting and immersive journey fostering deep emotional connectedness to its subjects, Fireflies in the Abyss illustrates how even seemingly insurmountable obstacles can help the human spirit grow. #fsa2017 #film #festival #documentary #southasia

    filmsouthasia: "'Fireflies in the Abyss’: In a narrow pit, 11-year-old Suraj, a Nepalese migrant, crawls through ‘ratholes’ or tunnels, scratching coal from rock in a northeastern Indian boomtown as the sole source of income for his livelihood. A transporting and immersive journey fostering deep emotional connectedness to its subjects, Fireflies in the Abyss illustrates how even seemingly insurmountable obstacles can help the human spirit grow. #fsa2017 #film #festival #documentary #southasia"
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  • 'Famous in Ahmedabad': Set during the kaleidoscopic backdrop of the biggest kite-flying festival in India, ‘Amdavad Ma Famous’, witnesses the transformation of an 11-year-old Zaid from a boy next door to an aggressive and a passionate kite-runner, till he comes across a challenge that threatens to keep him away from the one thing he loves. #fsa2017 #film #festival #documentary

    filmsouthasia: "'Famous in Ahmedabad': Set during the kaleidoscopic backdrop of the biggest kite-flying festival in India, ‘Amdavad Ma Famous’, witnesses the transformation of an 11-year-old Zaid from a boy next door to an aggressive and a passionate kite-runner, till he comes across a challenge that threatens to keep him away from the one thing he loves. #fsa2017 #film #festival #documentary"
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  • 'Even When I Fall’: The incredible story of Saraswoti and Sheetal, trafficking survivors who reclaim skills that once came at a high cost: they were slaves in Indian circuses – sold as children. Now freed, together they form Nepal’s first circus. An intimate, beautiful film that harnesses the visual power of circus to give a unique perspective into the complex world of human trafficking. #fsa2017 #film #documentary #festival #southasia

    filmsouthasia: "'Even When I Fall’: The incredible story of Saraswoti and Sheetal, trafficking survivors who reclaim skills that once came at a high cost: they were slaves in Indian circuses – sold as children. Now freed, together they form Nepal’s first circus. An intimate, beautiful film that harnesses the visual power of circus to give a unique perspective into the complex world of human trafficking. #fsa2017 #film #documentary #festival #southasia"
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