3rd i’s 13th Annual San Francisco International South Asian Film Festival: Bollywood and Beyond launches at the New People and Castro Theaters in San Francisco from Oct. 22 to 25. The festival’s South Bay edition unfolds a week later Nov. 1, at the CineArts Theater in Palo Alto, Calif., according to a press release.
The five-day festival will screen nearly 15 programs of narrative and documentary features and shorts by independent filmmakers from South Asia and the South Asian Diaspora, including stories from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, U.K. and U.S.
Taking a cue from last year’s focus on music, the opening night film this year documents the inspiring musical border-crossings of the “Mozart of Madras.”
Umesh Aggarwal’s “Jai Ho” examines the spectacular career of Bollywood’s living legend A.R. Rahman — from his first collaborations with director Mani Ratnam in the Tamil film industry to working with Andrew Lloyd Webber in London. This film premiered earlier this year at the American Museum of the Moving Image, and most recently found its way to a screening inside the White House.
One of the major thematic spotlights at this year’s festival is a focus on freedoms that provides opportunity for reflection and dialogue around important community issues. Two short documentaries, Harjant Gill’s “Mardistan” from India and Prasanna Vithanage’s “Silence in the Courts” from Sri Lanka, take a gender-integrated approach to the issue of sexual violence by examining how men and masculinities are embedded in this problem.
Another program is a joint presentation of oral histories with the “1947 Partition Archive” that examines the legacy of the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947.
As always, indie narratives find a place on the program with a restored print of Kamal Swaroop’s 1988 cult classic “Om-dar-ba-dar,” which has been described as the “great Indian LSD trip”; Vikram Sengupta’s tour-de-force “Labor of Love,” which won him the Best Young Director award at the 2014 Venice Film Festival; and M. Manikandan’s energetic and entertaining Tamil-language feature “The Crow’s Egg,” about the adventures of two mischievous young brothers on their quest for pizza.
Also featured are some of the usual suspects: a program of shorts featuring some of the best local, national and international talent, and a raucous, fun-filled Bollywood at the Castro screening on the evening of Oct. 24.
More information about the festival, including expanded program and ticketing information, will be available on the 3rd i Web site (http://www.thirdi.org/) in early September.