Largest South Asian film festival in US from Thursday

New York, Oct 14 (IANS) The 10-day 10th Seattle South Asian Film Festival (SSAFF) will kickstart on October 15 and will be held in five US cities, a media report said on Wednesday.

The SSAFF, the largest South Asian Film Festival in the US presented by non-profit, community-based organisation Tasveer, will screen films from South Asian countries like India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh. The authorities posted the schedule of the festival on its official website on Wednesday.

“These films touch on themes of upholding cultural identity and love in the face of extreme challenges,” Redmond Reporter quoted Rita Meher, artistic director of the festival, as saying.

The festival includes 32 feature films and 27 shorts representing nine countries.

The distinctive feature of this year’s festival is that it will be celebrated in Redmond for the first time. Other cities — Seattle, Bothell, Bellevue and Renton — will also host the festival.

“Social issues like these are on the minds of South Asians everywhere, even here in Redmond. We came to Redmond because we want to be closer to our community,” Meher said.

“I live in Sammamish, work in Redmond, in a cultural office space generously donated by Redmond. By adding Redmond as our new city, Tasveer can help promote it as a new cultural hub,” Meher, who is also the executive director of Tasveer, added.

Sponsor of the festival in Redmond, Tasveer’s mission is to cultivate the artistic work of South Asians through films, forums, visual art and performances that engage and empower the community.

“One in 10 people in Redmond is of Indian descent, said Jessica Rubenacker, the Arts Season grant programme coordinator.

“Supporting organisations like Tasveer not only serves this community but bringing projects like the Seattle South Asian Film Festival to Redmond helps to build bridges across cultural communities. It has been a great partnership,” she added.

The Arts Season, Redmond is a grant programme that administers the city’s arts events with the goal of ensuring that residents have access to a robust season of high quality arts and cultural programmes all year long.

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