Monday, October 27, 2008

3rd I: San Francisco International South Asian Film Festival - Press Release

Buried deep within this press release from Larsen Associates is a little nugget of gory preciousness!! HELL'S GROUND (dir. Omar Khan, Pakistan, 2007, 77 mins.) will be projected on the Castro's BIG Screen!! I was fortunate enough to screen TLA Releasing's DVD release of the film earlier this summer, and I LOVE IT!! I'll repost the review as it's screening comes closer...

3rd I: San Francisco International South Asian Film Festival (SFISAFF)
Ready for its Sixth Run in 2008
Brava Theater o November 13 & 14, 2008
Castro Theater o November 15 & 16, 2008

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - 3rd I, the Bay Area's premiere showcase for South Asian film, proudly announces the program for 3rd I: San Francisco International South Asian Film Festival.
This year the festival expands to four days and two venues: Opening at Brava Theater Center, 2789 24th Street Thursday and Friday, November 13 and 14; and moving to the historic
Castro Theater, 429 Castro Street on Saturday & Sunday, November 15 and 16.

From art-house classics to documentary films, innovative and experimental visions to next- level Bollywood, 3rd I is committed to promoting diverse images of South Asians through independent film. This year's festival will showcase films from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan, the Maldives, the global South Asian Diaspora, United Kingdom and the Unites States.

As always, the focus of Opening Night (Brava Theater Center) is on homegrown talent and this year 3rd I features two California-based filmmakers. Bay Area filmmaker Saqib Mausoof's film KALA PUL (Black Bridge) (USA/Pakistan) weaves a tale along the fault lines that separate Pakistan's urban modernity from its fundamentalism. It is preceded by the insightful short, MIDNIGHT LOST AND FOUND (USA), directed by Amit Sabharwal, about the lonely nights of a Mumbai pharmacy worker.

Screening later on Opening Night is KISSING COUSINS (USA) by Amyn Kaderali (Bay Area-born, now Los Angeles based), a funny, sassy romantic comedy, about a man employed as a "relationship termination specialist" who enjoys his single life in Los Angeles amidst his newly engaged friends. But when his gorgeous British cousin visits, she tells everyone that she's his girlfriend to help him fit in…until he falls for her.

The Closing Night film at the Castro Theater is SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE (UK/USA) Danny Boyle's (TRAINSPOTTING) sensational roller-coaster ride, the story of Jamal, a poor mischievous boy from the slums of Bombay who rises to TV game show millionaire. The film won the 2008 Audience Award at the Toronto Film Festival.

Other highlights include: RAMCHAND PAKISTANI (Pakistan) by Mehreen Jabbar which screened to much acclaim at the Tribeca Film Festival. The film is based on a true event, about a Pakistani Hindu boy and his father who accidentally cross the border into India from their village in Pakistan and spend five years in an Indian prison.

Paying homage to early cinema is BIOSCOPE (India), K.M. Madhusudhanan's directorial debut about a traveling bioscope show that comes to the villagers of Kerala. Fever dreams, memories, and moving pictures combine in this hallucinatory ode to the power of superstition. Also screening is KING SIRI (SIRI RAJA SIRI - Sri Lanka), an award-winning children's film inspired in part by director Somaratne Dissanayake's own experiences. The story about a gifted boy from a Sri Lankan village wins a scholarship to an elite school in Colombo and must prove himself by drawing upon the strengths of his rural traditions.

Bombay-based documentarian Nishtha Jain returns to the festival with her latest offering, LAKSHMI AND ME (India/USA/Denmark/Finland), a candid look at class issues in a rapidly modernizing India. Another sensational documentary is THE SKY BELOW, which follows filmmaker Sara Singh as she travels through dangerous territory in India and Pakistan while examining whether recognition of a shared past and common culture can bring about peace between the two countries sixty years after the brutal partition of the subcontinent.

Also screening is Vishal Bhardwaj's MAQBOOL (India), a masterful reworking of Shakespeare's Macbeth set in the Bombay underworld, starring Irfan Khan (NAMESAKE, WARRIOR). Bhardwaj also directed the dark drama OMKARA (OTHELLO) that moved audiences in 2006 at the festival.

Each year 3rd I pays tribute to the magical world of Bollywood and this year is no exception. From India comes OM SHANTI OM (India), a film about romance, reincarnation, and revenge. Shah Rukh Khan breaks out his disco moves (and flexes his 6-pack abs) in this spectacular, star-studded tribute to filmmaking and the swinging 70s'

In addition the festival has several co-productions with the United States, Denmark, France and Germany, including a screening of the stunning newly restored print (by the BFI) of the 1929 film A THROW OF THE DICE (India/Germany/UK) with an remarkable new score by Nitin Sawhney. 3rd I has featured other films by Franz Osten at previous festivals: SHIRAZ (3rd I; 2003) and PREM SANYAS (co-presented at the 2004 Silent Film festival). In addition, FLOW: FOR LOVE OF WATER (USA) examines how the world's primary resource is being hijacked by corporate greed. Documentarian Irene Salina travels across the world documenting how dedicated activists are challenging the big corporations and offers creative, sustainable solutions from the ground-up. On a more macabre note is HELL'S GROUND (Pakistan/UK), Director Omar Ali Khan's fright fest about five Pakistani teenagers who pile into a van and head to a rock concert, only to run out of gas in the zombie-infested habitat of a mace-swinging, burkha-clad butcher. This delightfully gory film is co-presented by Midnight for Maniacs

The festival website includes the full festival lineup and information on tickets and passes. For more information about the festival, please call 415/835-4738.

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