We love all of the films that are being screened at SSAFF 2016! If you just can’t watch all of them, here’s some help from the Programming Committee!
Memories of a Machine – Inspired by Lars Von Trier’s My sister soul, this film took my breath away. It is stark and honest revelation of the first sexual encounter captured on-camera by the subject. While we listen on it throws us in a dichotomy of whether to see her first encounter as a pleasure or abuse. The film is shot in a voyeuristic style and visually a treat. I instantly fell in love with the film and the actress Kani Kusruti. I think it was the first film selected for the festival.
Mina Walking – Watching Mina, gave me hope. The heroine Mina’s grit to stay in school, besides all the odda is inspiring to watch. The movie is the story triumph and victory over all the hardships, that is shot in a style hard it is hard to tell whether it is a narrative or a documentary.
The Farmer and I – I really liked the film The Farmer and I, as it is a rare to get a feature documentary from Bhutan. It took us deep into the struggles of Bhutan, behind the curtain of happiness GDR they claim through the life of the subject of the film.
Aynabaji – A visually stunning, dark comedy about an obsessive actor who gets paid well to impersonate the rich and powerful of Dhaka and serve their time in prison. It seems like a great gig until he falls for the girl of his dreams.
The Unnamed – A powerful film that gives a glimpse into the impact of worker migration to the Middle East from South Asia. It uncovers what people are willing to do to migrate for a better life, the corruption of immigration agents, and the danger workers face when they finally make it out of the country. Amazing character development and acting!
Erotic Shorts Program – Open discussion of sexuality is often tabooed in South Asian circles. We present a series of beautiful short films that explore the topic from different angles and are sure to spark a lively discussion!
Let Her Cry – Beautiful film explores the complexity of love and relationships with a young woman who falls in love with her older, married professor. What happens when the professor’s wife invites the young woman to live with them?
The Song Collector – In the 1960s, Morup Namgyal sparked a cultural movement that would bring about profound change in his homeland of Ladakh. What Morup could not imagine at that time was that he would ultimately embrace modernization. Inspired by the Buddhist concept of the ‘middle path’, The Song Collector seeks to find a lasting coexistence between tradition and modernization. Seattle-based filmmaker Erik Koto first discovered a love for the Himalayas on a 2,000-mile bike tour across Pakistan and Western Tibet in 2001. And through his lens, we are bound to fall in love with everything Himalayan.
Aynabaji – In this Bangladeshi satire political thriller, Ayna is an interchangeable man, gifted with the natural talent of acting. He can morph into anyone he wants. This is a story buried deep in Dhaka’s belly, and one that offers a unique perspective into the megacity capital. The cinematography, story, the performances- all in all, the perfect treat for cinephiles!
Jeewan Hathi – This film is a satirical dark comedy about Pakistani Reality TV driven by ratings and sensationalism. The unique filming style cracks you up while driving the point across about the ‘manufactured’ reality driven by such media. The film is being screened as part of the Zeal for Unity project, a peace initiative from Zee Cinema in which Indian and Pakistani filmmakers endeavor to bring together thought leaders from across the borders.
Unbroken Glass – It is a powerful story of 5 kids raising each other, having lost their mother to suicide stemming from schizophrenia, a month after losing their father to cancer. The youngest of them all, Dinesh Sabu, through his film explores the demons he is fighting about depression that might even be related to his family’s history of mental illness. This film makes the impact of mental health real.
Tashi and the Monk – If you know a wild and naughty kid, you will easily relate to this film. Tashi and the Monk revolves around, Tashi, Jamtse Gatsal’s newest arrival. Jamtse Gatsal is a children’s community started by a former Buddhist monk Lobsang, trained under His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Lobsang brought in Tashi after her mother passed away and is abandoned by her alcoholic father. Wild and troubled, Tashi is struggling to find her place amongst 84 new siblings. This film embodies our theme #LoveWins as we see the transformation in Tashi though the love and compassion in this community
Waiting – Anu Menon’s WAITING mesmerizes. Moments from the film linger long after the movie has ended. Sordid theme. Yet an air of hope and vivacity pervades. When a loved one is on the brink, should one let go or hang on? WAITING examines this existential question through the evolving relationship of two strangers from two different generations, bonding over their shared sorrow. Natural performances by Naseeruddin Shah and Kalki Koechlin add to the many merits of this sincerely crafted film.
Cities of Sleep – In the context of the housing/homelessness crisis in Seattle, this film provides a look into the struggle unknown numbers of people face finding a place to sleep at night by following a man looking for a bed at illegal outdoor ‘shelters’ and another who lives in a flourishing ‘unseen’ community under a busy bridge in New Delhi.
Cities of Sleep – It’s about homelessness, problem of urbanization in Indian cities; presents philosophy of sleep to commercialization of this basic human need.
Hellhole – Life of a sewer cleaner captured in a silent film that speaks loud and clear.
Unbroken Glass – Effects of mental illness in 2 generations of immigrant family; journey of orphaned siblings living with past and ongoing influences of mental illness. Important topic to discuss in public space to break the myth and taboo around mental disorders.