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.
Twelveth 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. There is also a UNICEF Nepal Award for the film that best portrays social/children’s issues, with a cash prize of USD 1,000. A Best Student Film Award (instituted in 2015) with a citation and cash prize of USD 500 will also be given for entries sent in through film schools. 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).
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 20 international venues between the parent FSA festivals that are held every two years in Kathmandu.
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.