iSAFF 2023 Unveils Vibrant Pathbreaking Lineup
iSAFF 2023 Unveils Vibrant Pathbreaking Lineup
The vibrant world of South Asian cinema is set to take center stage at the upcoming International South Asian Film Festival (iSAFF), which runs from September 28th to October 1st in Surrey, BC, Canada.
With ‘Pathbreakers’ as this year’s theme, iSAFF 2023 will showcase six feature films, four documentaries and over 30 short films, as well as dynamic industry events and innovative new initiatives.
“Our goal while watching hundreds of great submissions this year was to give thorough consideration to every film on how it might fit the Pathbreakers theme,” said directors of programming Pallavi Sastry and Keertana Sastry. “That allowed us to get creative while assembling our program, and cover a wide variety of genres and themes which showcase South Asian talent in ways that have historically been inaccessible.”
iSAFF’s opening film kick off is on September 28th with LORD CURZON KI HAVELI, a directorial debut by actor Anshuman Jha, starring Arjun Mathur (Amazon Prime’s Made in Heaven) and Rasika Dugal (Netflix’s Delhi Crime and Amazon Prime’s Mirzapur). Making its Canadian premiere, this dark comedy is about four South Asians in London who meet for a thoroughly unplanned dinner party that ends in chaos, and serves as commentary on the range of immigrant experiences in the UK. It is also the first mainstream Indian feature film to be shot on a single lens.
iSAFF 2023’s exciting lineup also includes:
Special Closing Night Film
IN FLAMES: A Pakistani-Canadian supernatural thriller by Zarrar Kahn. In Flames is only the second Pakistani film to premiere at Cannes Film Festival. It is also screening at the 2023 Toronto International Film Festival in the Centerpiece programme.
PINE CONE: Trailblazing queer Indian filmmaker, Onir, brings his buzzy feature Pine Cone, starring Vidur Sethi, which also opened South Asia’s largest queer film festival, Kashish.
THE LUNCHBOX: iSAFF is celebrating the 10th anniversary of Ritesh Batra’s 2013 film The Lunchbox, with a special Q&A with the director. With an incredible leading performance from the late Irrfan Khan – co-starring Nimrat Kaur and Nawazuddin Siddiqui – The Lunchbox reached worldwide acclaim, leading to a nomination for Best Film Not in the English Language at the 2015 British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA).
CALL ME DANCER: Dancer Manish Chauhan’s journey from Mumbai slums to the Kennedy Center stage is captured in this documentary that brought on global music star Jay Sean as the Executive Producer, and world premiered at Santa Barbara Film Fest.
COMPLEXION: An intimate dissection of colorism conceived by the first and only South Asian Miss America winner, Nina Davuluri.
AGAINST THE TIDE: Sarvnik Kaur’s moving documentary, which won the Special Jury Prize at Sundance Film Festival, tells the story of Indigenous fishermen in Mumbai who are driven to desperation by a dying sea. The film takes a humanistic and intimate approach towards addressing key issues around climate change and rapid urban development.
YOUR LOVE: Queer non-binary writer, actor, activist, Sundeep Morrison makes their directorial debut with Your Love. A LGBTQ love story that is set to the backdrop of DJ Khanvict’s remixed imaginings of iconic Punjabi folk song Ik Tera Pyaar, originally sung by Noor Jahan.
MY MOTHER’S GIRLFRIEND: Writer/Director Arun Fulara’s award winning short film about finding love at any age, comes to iSAFF following a showing at OutFest.
TO THE DEATH: Written by and starring Menik Gooneratne (Lion) and Yasmin Kassim (Jungle) and directed by actor/director Rose McIver (Ghosts, iZombie). This darkly comedic short follows two actresses in the audition room, who might literally kill to get an upcoming role.
LEVELED: ReelWorld Institute Emerging Filmmaker, Sara Rangooni’s sophomore short film Leveled comes to iSAFF this year.
STARCH: A short film by multi-disciplinary Australian writer/director, Ajai Vishwanath, and starring Gayatri Patel Bahl and Vandit Bhatt, is a rare and must-see Tamil diaspora story.
FOREIGNERS ONLY: Pioneering Bangladeshi filmmaker Nuhash Humayun’s latest award-winning short is a horror commentary on the skin-based preference of landlords for foreigners in his home country.
iSAFF will also host a series of exciting events, including Q&A sessions with filmmakers and social media influencers, industry panels, workshops, and networking opportunities for attendees to engage with the creative minds behind these remarkable films.
The festival’s glamorous, entertaining, and well-attended Opening Gala is to be held on September 29th at Surrey City Hall.
Tickets for the Gala can be purchased at: GALA iSAFF