#WeBelong: Welcome to the 12th Tasveer South Asian Film Festival

Guest Contributor September 25, 2017 0

Rita Meher

This year at the Tasveer South Asian Film Festival, we take on the theme “We Belong” and our country focus is Nepal. #WeBelong here regardless of whether we are third generation, second, first, or newly-arrived immigrants simply because this is where we live and experience our day-to-day lives. #WeBelong is reflected throughout this year’s festival programming. This is our counter to the hate rhetoric as well as the xenophobic attacks on South Asians and people of color in the country that have led to an unsettling fear among our communities. We hope to be part of the healing process when we come together, speak up, tell our own stories, and celebrate our South Asian solidarity.

Keeping the tradition of focusing on a South Asian country through our festival, we picked Nepal this year. I am personally excited about this festival because I love Nepal, especially because of its wonderful people. This year through our stunning artwork, films, panels, and programs, we bring out the intricacies and diversity in the culture and people of Nepal. Last year, we celebrated Bangladesh and this year we focus on its neighboring country. It has been a couple of years since the tragic earthquake in Nepal; in that time, much change has occurred there. The country has gotten back on its feet, with tourism growing and new art flourishing, so the timing feels right for Tasveer to play a role in bringing an update to our Seattle community by telling those stories through the work of the filmmakers who will be part of this Festival.

Founded as a grassroots art organization, Tasveer provides a platform for South Asian voices through films, workshops, monologues, talks, and panel discussions. The Festival aims to initiate a dialogue that bridges ideas, individuals, and communities by creating a deeper understanding of self in relation to the society. The organization employs films as a powerful tool to highlight marginalized communities, clarify misconceptions, and broaden perspectives, thereby leading to happier and healthier communities.

Rita Meher
Festival Director 

* * *

Kiran Dhillon

TSAFF 2017 is almost here and you’re going to love what you see! We received a record number of film submissions this year—more than 180 features, shorts, and documentaries. Once the films were in, the programming committee set to work to create a spectacular program with over 50 films, representing 11 countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Canada, France, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tibet, United Kingdom, and the United States. Among our selections, you’ll find stories that will make you laugh, cry, and think, and move you to appreciate the world in new ways.

We invite you to join us on a journey to Nepal, as we focus on this beautiful country and its people with 13 films. We’ll open the festival with Bijuli Machine, directed by Navin Awal, an optimistic, coming-of-age story of young engineering students putting their minds together to solve important problems in their community.

#WeBelong, the theme of our festival, is not a question but a proud statement. As we began planning this year’s festival, our country was just starting to grapple with the aftermath of a very divisive election. Immigrants once again find their sense of belonging challenged, amid a climate of hate and fear. Tasveer was born during a similar wave of palpable hate after the attacks of 9/11. We knew we needed to create a platform to explore the experiences of immigrants, especially the struggle to belong. As part of TSAFF, we have a special program that brings four films telling the stories of different struggles and triumphs in the quest to belong. We know the program and discussion after will serve as a much-needed vehicle to explore our personal and collective experiences as a community.

We’ve taken the festival program to a new level this year thanks to partnerships with film and community organizations. Members of Trikone NW joined the programming committee to help select queer and other films. We’re extremely proud of our outstanding line-up of 10 LGBTQ films that include stories of love, empowerment, pride, and perseverance. We also partnered with the Himalayan International Film Festival to bring two films from Tibet for the first time at TSAFF. We also joined forces with the Chicago South Asian Film Festival to leverage the resources of two nonprofit film organizations with a similar focus and limited resources to bring more and better South Asian films and artists for Seattle and Chicago audiences!

New this year, aspiring local film makers will have the opportunity to participate in an intensive two-day film making workshop with Nepali filmmaker Subarna Thapa. We’re especially excited about a first ever Virtual Reality Experience Booth at TSAFF, which will push the boundaries of traditional film programming. Continuing the TSAFF tradition, festival goers will be able rub elbows with over 20+ filmmakers and film cast members who will be in attendance. So get your VR headsets on and join us on this seven-city film adventure this October 6th–15th!

Kiran Dhillon
Director of Programming

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