FRIDAY FILMS
 

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Is It Too Much To Ask? by Leena Manimekalai
DOCUMENTARY| INDIA| 2016 |30min
English, Tamil with English subtitles

Is It Too Much To Ask? follows the journey of two friends Smiley and Glady - looking for a rental apartment in Chennai and the obstacles and social stigma they encounter in not just looking for a home but being single and the fact that they are transgender women. They face the caste ridden, feudal and patriarchal landlords of the city who by denying them their apartments, deny their existence too. But Smiley and Glady face every day as it comes with so much grace, humor and undying positivity.


Daaravatha/The Threshold by Nishant B. Roy
FICTIONAL SHORT | INDIA | 2015 | 30 min
Marathi with English subtitles

An adolescent Pankaj is discovering his sexuality. Torn between a patriarchal Indian upbringing full of gender-stereotypes and his natural urge to identify with the opposite gender, he finds an opportunity to express his desires within the bounds of cultural ethos.


Abu/Father by Arshad Khan
FEATURE DOCUMENTARY | PAKISTAN & CANADA | 2017
Urdu , English with English subtitles

Abu is a journey to the centre of a fragmented family while they grapple with religion, sexuality, colonialism and migration. Through a tapestry of narratives composed of family footage, observation and classic Bollywood films, gay-identifying Pakistani-Muslim filmmaker Arshad Khan takes viewers through the tense relationships between family and fate, conservatism and liberalism and modernity and familiarity. 

SATURDAY FILMS
 

 
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SUNDAY FILMS

 
 
 
 
 
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Desh Khojdai Janda/In Search of a Nation by Prakash Angdembe
NARRATIVE FEATURE | BHUTAN | 2015 | 109 min
Nepali with English subtitles

According to the UNHCR there are 51.2 million people forcibly displaced across the world. Among them, an estimated 100.000 – 120.000 refugees are from Bhutan, living in camps in Nepal.  Filmed in a refugee camp and based on true stories of Bhutanese refugees, Desh Kojdai Janda asks: how can the nation of Bhutan claim peace and happiness when it generated one of the highest amounts of refugees worldwide?


Sugarless Tea by Sai Selvarajan
ANIMATED SHORT | U.S. | 2015 | 5 min
English

Sugarless Tea takes viewers on a journey to India and Queens, NY, in a tale of separated brothers, chance meetings and identity. Sugarless Tea features watercolors paintings filmed using a stop motion technique that evokes travelogues and bedtime stories, and highlights the process of painting itself.

 

Tou-Tai/Seed by Ashok Veilou
NARRATIVE SHORT | INDIA | 2016 | 11 min
Nepali with English subtitles

Manipur in India's Northeast is affected by the armed struggles between Indian Security Forces and the insurgent groups. Vio is 24 years old and a militant. He comes home for a short vacation. The effect of the Indian army’s counterinsurgency operation in Manipur in his village is seen and felt is through the eyes of his younger sister, Saina.


Chandra by Fateme Ahmadi & Asmita Shrish
NARRATIVE SHORT | NEPAL | 2015 | 15 min
Nepali with English subtitles

Seven-year-old Chandra and his elderly grandfather have to travel on foot through earthquake-hit Kathmandu in order to get to hospital, where Chandra’s mother has just given birth. Chandra is oblivious to the scenes of misery on the streets, and is fascinated by the many curious and beautiful sights, and excited about meeting his new sibling. Grandfather, who knows the sheer scope of destruction, attempts to protect Chandra from the grim reality of it all, while gradually coming to terms with the fact that the city is no longer the same, and that the hospital may not even stand. What awaits them at the end of their journey? 


Three Brothers  by Aleem Khan
NARRATIVE SHORT | U.K. | 2016 |17 min
English

Three Brothers is a short allegorical drama about dealing with grief and responsibility for the first time. Inspired by true events, we follow fifteen year old Hamid as he struggles to care for his younger brothers after their father abandons them and returns to his native Pakistan. His only solace are his pet chickens and the three eggs he lovingly incubates.

Three Brothers was shot in the Medway Towns in Kent with street-casted non-professional actors.


 Fuck Me Or Destroy Me by Aisha Mirza
EXPERIMENTAL SHORT | U.K/U.S. | 2016 | 5 min
English

This film is an exploration of western body hair norms - how strange and oppressive they are, particularly for queer and trans people of colour whose bodies are already targeted, examined and laid thick with expectation from so many places. We follow Harnaam Kaur aka The Bearded Dame through the streets of London, and see how she works so hard to reject and restructure societal oppression, and is defined by her otherness. How her extraordinary personhood is so informed by something that never should have been extraordinary. How her story is imagined for the white gaze. How she feels when everyone is looking. How she feels when no-one is looking. How she looks back.


My Bicycle by Aung Rakhine
NARRATIVE FEATURE | BANGLADESH | 2015 | 61 min
Chakma with English subtitles

When Kamal returns to his remote hillside village from the city with a bicycle, his son is happy to have his father back, but his empty hands make his wife anxious. However, Kamal decides to not return to the city even though jobs are scarce. Instead, he invents himself a trade and offers to carry the villagers from place to place on his bicycle, who quickly welcome this change. But when one day an accident occurs, local hooligans threaten Kamal’s livelihood. “My Bicycle” is a subtle representation of Bangladesh's most marginalized ethnic population.

My Bicycle is the first feature film to be made in an indigenous language in Bangladesh.


Field Notes  by Vashti Harrison
EXPERIMENTAL SHORT| TRINIDAD| 2015 | 18 min
English with subtitles
 

Field Notes is an experimental documentary about the ghosts embedded in the culture of Trinidad and Tobago. The film is structured as a visual and aural field guide to the soucouyants, lagahoos and jumbies found throughout the islands.

 

A Thin Wall by Mara Ahmed
FEATURE DOCUMENTARY | PAKISTAN | 2015 | 65 min
Urdu, Hindi, English with English subtitles

A Thin Wall is a documentary about memory, history and the possibility of reconciliation. It focuses on the Partition of India in 1947, but derives lessons that remain urgently relevant today. Shot on both sides of the border, in India and Pakistan, A THIN WALL is a personal take on Partition rooted in stories passed down from one generation to another. It is written and directed by Mara Ahmed and co-produced by Surbhi Dewan. Both filmmakers are descendants of families torn apart by Partition. The film is also a work of art infused with original animation, music and literary writing.


Statement After My Poet Husband’s Death by Tasmiah Afrin Mou
NARRATIVE SHORT | BANGLADESH | 2016 |15 min
Bengali with English subtitles

The film is a psychological journey of a woman named Rubi. Sitting beside her husband’s dead body, she doesn’t feel any grief or any other emotion whatsoever for this man she once loved devotedly. She remembers her life with this man, and discovers that her once beloved husband died to her long before his actual demise.


S i s a k by Faraz Arif Ansari
NARRATIVE SHORT | INDIA | 2017 | 16 min
Silent Film

A first-of-its-kind silent LGBTQ film in India. Sisak is set in the fast-paced environs of the usually bustling Mumbai local train system. The film details a romance that develops slowly and intoxicatingly, nestled in the silences and quiet comforts of the end-of-day train journeys.


Brother Oman Mateen by Saad Khan
DOCUMENTARY SHORT | USA | 2016 | 5 min
English with subtitles

 

A Muslim, queer, Pashtun Pakistani immigrant and poet in the US talks about the Pulse Nightclub shooter, Omar Mateen, drawing parallels between his own identity and that of the Orlando shooter. The speaker divulges his hopes, his fears, who he is, and what he stands for.

 


Seeds of the Past by Aisha Jamal
DOCUMENTARY SHORT | CANADA | 2016 | 7 min
Pashtun with English subtitles

Influenced by their love of the gardens of Afghanistan, the Jamals have turned the backyard of their Canadian home into a vibrant link to their past. Through their love for gardening and nostalgia for their homeland they create a beautiful oasis, where each flower and shrub evoke a memory; a closeness to history, family, childhood and homeland.


While You Slept (Mata Nam Ahuna) by Nadya Perera
NARRATIVE SHORT |SRI LANKA | 2015 | 23 min
Sinhalese with English subtitles

When the Civil War ended in Sri Lanka, Chinese investments and immigration increased in the country. Hambanthota, in the South of the island, was seen as a strategic centre and witnessed a sudden influx of Chinese male migrant labour. At a "massage palour" in arid Hambantota, Pinky, a local girl, tends to Chinese customers. She makes herself up to look ‘Chinese’ in order to appear more authentic in the eyes of her clients. When without a warning, the management hires a Chinese woman to work there, Pinky fears being made redundant. She grows obsessed with trying to imitate her competition and soon the obsession takes on a life of its own. 


Bhuban Majhi by Fakhrul Arefeen Khan
NARRATIVE FEATURE | BANGLADESH | 2017 | 83 min
Bengali with English subtitles

The story of the film Bhuban Majhi revolves around a spiritual man, Baul Nohor Majhi living in Kushtia.  A journalist goes to Kushtia making a documentary on Baul and comes into contact with him. Gradually the truth opens up and the journalist discovers that Nohor Baul was an active freedom fighter in the Liberation War of 1971. The story quickly becomes about a young woman named Farida,  and how she inspired him to take lead in the war and free the country.

 


Radhe Radhe: Rites of Holi by Prashant Bhargava, music by Vijay Iyer
EXPERIMENTAL/MUSICAL SHORT | INDIA/U.S. | 2014 | 35 min 

A vivid multimedia collaboration by composer-pianist Vijay Iyer and filmmaker Prashant Bhargava, who were inspired by the centennial of the Stravinsky-Nijinsky Le Sacre du Printemps to explore another of rite of spring: the Hindu festival of Holi, famous for its revelry of color in celebration of the love between the divine Krishna and Radha. In northern India, Bhargava filmed the ravishing images of an eight-day Holi festival held in the city of Mathura, mythic birthplace of Krishna. Iyer then composed his score as the musical complement to Bhargava’s beautiful visual ballet, drawing at times on the rhythms and chants of the Holi festival.


Killa by Avinash Arun
NARRATIVE FEATURE | INDIA | 2015 | 78 min
Marathi with English subtitles

After his father's death, 11-year-old Chinmay moves from Pune to a Konkan village with his mother. Arriving with aching grief for his lost parent and lost home, things takes a turn for the better when Chinmay finds a new group of friends and, after a rough incident, embarks on a journey at a deserted fort.


Friday location: Asian Arts Initiative, Reading Viaduct Tunnel, 1150 Pearl St. 
Saturday locations: Twelve Gates Arts, 106 N 2nd St. // Lightbox Film Center 3701 Chestnut St
Sunday locations: William Street Common, 3900 Chestnut St // Headlong Dance// Asian Arts Initiative