3rd i’s San Francisco International South Asian Film Festival 2019
November 7-10, New People Cinema and Castro Theatre, San Francisco
November 16, Palo Alto Arts Center, Palo Alto
Come celebrate 3rd i's seventeenth annual SF International South Asian Film Festival (Bollywood and Beyond) with some of the best cinema from India, Sri Lanka, UK and the USA. This year’s festival lends an ear to Young voices, capturing both intergenerational relationships, and stories of youth coming-of-age in rural areas and in megacities. Humor takes centerstage in stories of stand-up comics, and in our signature shorts program which uses satire to address pressing social issues from the border wall to colorism. This year’s festival is brimming with cutting-edge indie narratives: from gripping and compassionate stories of addiction, to up-and-coming filmmakers of Bengali cinema and the Assamese New Wave, to a searing and masterful period drama on caste conflict from Sri Lanka. As always, California filmmakers and Women’s stories shine bright!
Thursday, November 7 @ New People Cinema
Bulbul Can Sing
Rima Das (2018, India, 95mins, Assamese with English Subtitles)
Following on the heels of last year's magical Village Rockstars, Rima Das takes us back to the timeless beauty of the Assamese countryside in this bittersweet narrative. Three friends struggle to find their own identities, and to fight back against age-old traditions and parental expectations. This is no simple rural idyll however; in Das' deft hands, it’s a deeply compelling exploration of love, loss, and adolescence.
Friday, November 8 @ New People Cinema
Laura Asherman (USA, 2019, 74mins, English and Hindi with English subtitles)
Equal parts comedy and self-discovery, this refreshing doc is a portrait of Indian-American comedian Tushar Singh. In an attempt to accelerate his career, Singh maps out a tour in India (with his mom in tow), taking part in India’s flourishing stand-up scene. He discovers the challenges of cross-cultural comedy and confronts his hybrid identity head-on. Interviews with influential comics such as Mindy Kaling and Russell Peters.
Ronny Sen (2019, India, 94 mins, Bengali and Hindi with English subtitles)
Hailed as one of the “most gorgeous and affecting films” presented at Slamdance Film Fest in recent years, this haunting film follows the stories of several heroin addicts over the course of one rain drenched night in Kolkata. The film's bewitching score works in tandem with its mesmerizing B&W imagery, to create a work that is a must-see on the big screen!
Saturday, November 9 @ Castro Theatre
Bhaskar Hazarika (2019, India, 108mins, Assamese with English subtitles)
A quietly shocking film blends gentle romance and body horror into a unique cinematic experience. A doctor and a doctoral student find common ground in their shared love for unconventional meat-eating traditions. Hazarika masterfully concocts a tale of love and addiction, that builds slowly – from a lilting rhythm to a pounding finale.
Namdev Bhau: In Search of Silence
Dar Gai (India, 2018, 84mins, Marathi and Hindi with English subtitles)
A magical and witty, off-beat take on the road movie, this meditative film journeys through the breathtaking landscapes of Ladakh. Driven to the end of his wits by the cacophony of Mumbai – the noisiest city in the world – Chauffeur Namdev sets off in search of the fabled Silent Valley. A clever heart-warming odyssey with an unforeseeable twist.
Children of the Sun (Gaadi)
Prasanna Vithanage (2019, Sri Lanka, 103mins, Sinhalese with English subtitles)
Filmmaker in person! Vithanage's searing masterpiece is a period drama that takes on caste conflict and British colonial influences in Sri Lanka in the early 1800s. Drawing from a wide palette that ranges from historical drama to nuanced and exceptional storytelling, his camera work is transfixing as he crafts a deeply empathetic film that is simultaneously heart-wrenching and hopeful.
Bollywood at the Castro - Animated Tribute: Bombay Rose
Gitanjali Rao (India/UK/France/Qatar, 2019, 96mins, Hindi with English subtitles)
In this gorgeous and evocative hand-painted animated feature Bombay Rose, a single red rose weaves together three fantastical tales of unsung heroes and impossible loves. In the sensual animation, there is an ethereal brightness to the chaotic Mumbai streetscapes where Bollywood cinema is both satirized and romanticized. Fresh from rave reviews at the Venice and Toronto Film Festivals, this captivating jewel will entrance you and should not be missed.
Sunday, November 10 @ New People Cinema
Nishtha Jain: A Master Class
Gifted documentary filmmaker Nishtha Jain returns to 3rd i to talk about her filmmaking process in a free class, and to present excerpts from past work and her current work-in-progress, The Golden Thread, and her first narrative short Saboot. Jain’s work holds up a mirror to some of the most pressing concerns in India today. She will address social and political issues, including India’s #metoo women’s movement.
Safdar Rahman (India, 2018, 90mins, Hindi, Bengali, and Bhojpuri with English subtitles)
This humorous and entertaining film is the touching story of Chippa who, on his tenth birthday, sets out into night-time Calcutta looking for a father he has never seen. Filled with humor, hope, and curiosity, he encounters a “marvelous realism” that is evoked in the works of literary giants such as Salman Rushdie.
Sivaranjani and Two Other Women (Sivaranjaniyum Innum Sila Penngal)
Vasanth S. Sai (2018, India, 123mins, Tamil with English subtitles)
This cinematic homage to the “everyday” woman is a deeply moving work that focuses a critical lens on patriarchy, with outstanding performances by each of the lead actresses. The film captures the micro awakenings of identity and self-worth when family dynamics, early marriage, and pregnancy threaten to usurp the individuality of three women, unfolding across three different time periods.
Coast to Coast: Mumbai to the Mission
Various (USA/UK/India, 2016-19, 72mins, Various languages with English subtitles)
Bay Area Filmmakers in Person! 3rd i's signature shorts program brings genres ranging from comedy to contemporary music, and short-form documentaries to dramatic narratives. This year's edition tackles stories of relationships, identity, environment, and social justice, with compassion and humor.
Saturday, November 16 @ Palo Alto Art Center, Palo Alto
THE MISEDUCATION OF BINDU
Filmmaker in Person!! This coming-of-age comedy follows a day in the life of formerly homeschooled Bindu as she endures high school and tries to graduate early. Paying homage to Bollywood rock with one fantastical Bollywood dance number, the film shines a light on the immigrant experience of a teenager caught between girlhood and womanhood, and India’s traditional past and the promise of a global future where she can blend in to be whomever she wants to be.
In this playful romantic comedy, "Bangla," an awkwardly charming 22-year-old Italian-Bengali panics when he falls in love with an impulsive and spirited Italian girl. The attraction between them is immediate, and Phaim will have to figure out how to reconcile his love with his life full of rules. Highlighted in Rotterdam’s International Film Festival in the Big screen competition section.
This beautifully nuanced, sensual and insightful feature film, which premiered at Cannes this year, explores the forbidden attraction between a maid and her wealthy employer, whilst thwarting the expectations of a typical Indian love story.