The Chicago South Asian Film Festival is back this September 20th to the 23rd, 2012! It’s the only South Asian Film Festival in the entire mid western united states with over 3000 attendees, film enthusiasts, industry experts and artists. Featuring 5 world premiers, 8 US premieres in this year’s line up. The festival will include 24 films (features + docs + shorts) over 4 days and the North American Premiere of Madhur Bhandarkar’s Heroine featuring Kareena Kapoor!
Raveena Tandon, Lilette Dubey, Farooque Sheikh, Nila Madhab Panda ( director of award winning film – I am Kalaam ), Adil Hussain ( from English Vinglish) will be part of this year’s festival. The films will be screened at Showplace ICON Theatres and Film Row Cinema – Columbia College.
Films are selected by a programming committee headed by programming director – Mili Ghosh, based on the kinds of stories that are told, overall production value, individual as well as ensemble performances and anticipated response by our audiences. Two key factors that all programming coordinators took into account while reviewing films were: One, the impact factor: For every feature or short or documentary that we reviewed, they looked at the impact the film would have on the audience. One of the key missions of the festival is to generate awareness through screening films. Therefore, “impact” was a major factor in a film being reviewed positively (or not). Coordinators chose two very high-impact factor films, “Jalpari” and “Lessons In Forgetting,” both of which touch upon the issue of female feticide in India.
Programming films like Jalpari and Lessons in Forgetting and a panel on female feticide is a small step towards creating awareness amongst film enthusiasts and audience. Female feticide is a big concern in India and gender ratios swaying further away from already low numbers are causing alarms in certain pockets of India. With the festival screenings and promotion of Anita Nair’s US edition of “Lessons in Forgetting,” festival creators hope to jump start some sort of an awareness group in Chicago. Aamir Khan shooting in Chicago for Dhoom 3 has shown a personal interest in Jalpari and has contacted Nila Madhab Panda about the possibility of watching the film at the festival!
“Listen Amaya,” directed by Avinash Singh and starring Deepti Naval and Farooq Sheikh is another beautiful film being featured at the festival. The onscreen chemistry between Farooq Sheikh and Deepti Naval was inspiring and captivating, and felt nostalgic after 26 years. The acting was spot-on and that led to the film being screened as the centerpiece film for this year! The production design of the film, which was shot using Arri Alexa, was minimal with a color palette dominated by “white” and a minimalistic set design. The visuals of old Delhi are stunning. The festival is sure to be a big hit this year with all the amazing stars and talented filmmakers in attendence!
“We hope to be much bigger and better in 2013. The festival has been growing at a very fast pace over the last two years with some excellent teamwork. Its exciting to be part of such a dynamic organization. The festival is branding itself as a festival very different from other south asian festivals in the US and other parts of the world. We are working towards a marketplace for distributors, artists and filmmakers,” said organizers of the film festival.
Be sure to check out the Chicago film festival this week!