With the theme of “Breaking Cinematic Barriers,” the 18th edition of Tasveer South Asian Film Festival (TSAFF) from Oct 12 to 22 in Seattle, Washington, showcases 83 selected films spanning diverse genres and captivating themes.
This year, TSAFF achieves a momentous milestone as the first and only South Asian film festival whose winning films will qualify for submission to the esteemed Oscars, according to a media release.
The significance of a South Asian film festival qualifying for the Oscars illustrates the importance of representation and inclusivity in media as it challenges historically limited narratives and promotes cross-cultural understanding.
Farar premieres at Chicago South Asian Film Festival 2023 (September 13, 2023)
With the theme of “Breaking Cinematic Barriers,” this year’s lineup unveils an impressive collection of 83 selected films spanning diverse genres and captivating themes.
The carefully curated selection includes 23 features, 60 shorts, 20 documentaries, and 63 narratives; 25 World Premieres, 36 North America Premiere, with 33 Female identified directors. These films, presented in 26 languages, promise an unparalleled global cinematic journey reflecting the rich tapestry of South Asian stories.
“As the only Oscar-qualifying South Asian festival, we are committed to presenting a program of unparalleled depth and significance,” said Tasveer co-founder Rita Meher.
“Our festival winners can directly compete in the Academy Awards run, allowing authentic South Asian narratives to shine on the grandest stage, unfiltered and unmediated.”
The 18th Annual Tasveer Festival kicks off with in-person screenings from Oct 12 to 15 at premier venues, including the Paccar IMAX Theater at Pacific Science Center.
The festival will continue in a virtual format on TasveerTV from Oct 16 to 22, offering audiences the flexibility to engage with the content from the comfort of their homes.
The opening night will feature the gripping drama of “Munnel (Sand in Tamil)” from Sri Lanka. The film skillfully weaves together themes of love, loss, faith, and desperation that immerse us in the post-war landscape of Sri Lanka, where Rudran, an ex-Tamil militant, returns home in search of his vanished lover, Vaani. The film won a jury award at the 2023 International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR).
Centerpiece: “Pasang: In the Shadow of Everest” presents an inspiring tale from Nepal, chronicling the remarkable journey of mountaineer Pasang Lhamu Sherpa as she challenges racism, gender bias, and political opposition to become the first Nepali woman to conquer Mount Everest.
Washington State/Climate Change Film: “Between Earth and Sky” delves into the life of ecologist Nalini Nadkarni as she explores the effects of disturbance and recovery of rainforest canopies, with a special local focus on the Olympic National Park in Washington state.
LGBTQIA+ Focus: “Blue Sunshine” is a groundbreaking film by and about a Transgender woman, based on the real-life events of Samyuktha Vijayan, who wrote, directed, produced, and acted in it.
Tasveer Youth Collective Focus: “Alone Alone Alone on a Wide Wide Sea” is a creation, in collaboration with Tasveer, from NYU Tisch School of the Arts.
Documentary Focus: “Tortoise Under the Earth” presents an Indigenous Tribal Rights docu-feature, co-presented in collaboration with the University of Washington South Asia Center.
Local Focus: “Alien” poignantly portrays the struggles of Indian immigrants on H1B visas, exposing the dichotomy between America’s dependence on foreign talent and its treatment of these individuals.
Bangladeshi Film: “Pett Kata Shaw” breathes life into ancient South Asian folktales through a supernatural anthology, embracing the burgeoning popularity of the horror genre in contemporary Bengali films.
Closing Night Film: “Catfish,” World Premiere, explores themes of prohibiting queer love, longing, and loneliness in the digital age as a lonely office worker from Pakistan engages in a desperate online attempt at companionship.
Special Partnership: South Asian House hosts a Happy Hour at Tasveer to celebrate the screening of three films produced and executive produced by co-founders Rohi Mirza Pandya (14 Years & Eid Mubarak) and Jitin Hingorani (Call Me Dancer), featuring lead protagonist and dancer Manish Chauhan on Oct 14 at Paccar IMAX Theater.
The Happy Hour will take place right after the Call Me Dancer screening and will take place at The Masonry 20 Roy St, Seattle, WA 98109 from 5 to 7pm.