18th Annual SF International South Asian Film Festival to Pay Homage to Irrfan Khan

3rd i Films announced that from Oct. 23 through Oct. 25, it will hold its 18th annual San Francisco International South Asian Film Festival by way of a virtual event. From art-house classics to documentaries, from innovative and experimental visions to cutting-edge Bollywood, 3rd i Films is committed to promoting diverse images of South Asians through independent film, the company said in a news release. To keep connected and support the South Asian community, 3rd i’s film festival, “Bollywood and Beyond,” will be offered for free this year as a completely virtual experience.

Festival attendees can access scheduled screenings and filmmaker discussions from the safety of their homes, after registering online. The three-day festival will screen a select program of narrative features and shorts by independent filmmakers from South Asia and its diaspora, including stories from India, South Africa and the Pakistani and Sikh communities in the U.S., the release notes.

This year’s festival presents an homage to one of the greats of Indian cinema, Irrfan Khan, who lost his battle with cancer in early 2020. Khan made the crossover from Bollywood films to international acclaim, starring in some of the most memorable films of the last few decades, including “The Lunchbox,” “The Namesake,” “Slumdog Millionaire,” “Spiderman,” “Life of Pi,” “The Warrior,” “Paan Singh Tomar” and “Maqbool,” the film company notes.

For this year’s festival, 3rd i Films brings back “Road to Ladakh” (which premiered at 3rd i’s inaugural festival in 2003) – a sensual suspenseful love story revolving around an encounter between two strangers thrown together by chance into the magnificent wilderness of Ladakh, near the borders of India and Pakistan.

Ladakh has recently been in the news as it was annexed by India’s central government after having been an independent union territory since the country’s independence, noted the release. A post-screening discussion will follow with Oscar nominee director Ashvin Kumar. It is free with registration, the release added.

Another film from the 3rd i archives this year is Avie Luthra’s “Lucky,” a narrative based on a short of the same name, which was nominated for an Oscar award in 2005. 3rd i has been bringing Bay Area audiences some of the best indie narratives on the circuit for nearly two decades, and this year is no different in that regard, the release said.

In this year’s offering, a crossword puzzle master and a young student develop a “cat and mouse” relationship in an enigmatic and engrossing psychological thriller set against the stunning locales of the hill-station Darjeeling.

“Knock, Knock, Knock” (2019) is the latest film from the director of “Love” (which 3rd i copresented at Frameline41), debuting at the Busan International Film Festival 2019. In addition to winning Best Screenplay at the New York Indian Film Festival, it has received the Gold Remi at WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival, a prize previously awarded to Stephen Spielberg, Ang Lee and the Coen Brothers.

A post-screening discussion will follow with director Sudhanshu Saria, free with registration, the film company adds. 3rd i’s spotlight on performing artists focuses on two who have been honing their craft with our audiences for years, and are now at the peak of their form.

Queer actress, director, and creator Fawzia Mirza was born in Canada, but now calls the U.S. her home, and uses comedy to tackle divisive stereotypes. She has been hailed a White House “Champion of Change” in Asian American Art & Storytelling, a “Top 10 Creative” (Indiewire), and “10 Filmmakers to Watch” (Independent Magazine).

The 3rd i evening ‘Levity and Artivism’ with Fawzia Mirza will showcase her short films from 2012-2019 including “Queen of My Dreams” (2012) and “I Know Her” (2019), which recently made the rounds of the Cannes Film Festival. 

Additionally, the second performing artist, Seti X, will present “Word to Your Motherland,” a short film followed by a performance by the co-founder of Slumgods, India’s first All Hip-Hop Collective, and a 3rd i artist alum.

Born in Los Angeles, Seti X has toured internationally representing South Asian American Hip-Hop, sharing the stage with the likes of Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Public Enemy, Ziggy Marley and more. He has appeared on CNN’s Emmy Award winning show, “United Shades of America,” with W. Kamau Bell. Seti X will explore the trajectory of artists who have pioneered this space, as well as the current musical landscapes of South Asian American artists reclaiming their culture and expressing themselves through Hip-Hop Music.

More information about the festival is available on their website at: www.thirdi.org

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