coalition fest

The marquee films at the Coalition of South Asian Film Festivals, the largest South Asian film festival in North America this year, included the Hindi-language film, “Mee Raqsam.” (Coalition of South Asian Film Festivals/Facebook photo)

MUMBAI — It was an unprecedented finish to an unprecedented festival. The Coalition of South Asian Film Festivals, the largest South Asian film festival in North America this year, concluded its 15-day-long event by announcing its jury awards and clocking in over 45,000 views of its virtual programming.

CoSAFF featured over 60 films, live programs, Q&As with filmmakers, panels with key industry insiders and more. The marquee films included the Hindi-language film, “Mee Raqsam,” which marked the opening night celebrations in partnership with Film Companion, the Nepali-language film, “Lato Kosero” as the centerpiece, and the Hindi-language film, “Eeb Allay Ooo,” on closing night Oct. 17.

The CoSAFF Jury Awards were presented and the winners were: Best Fiction Feature jointly to Achal Mishra’s debut feature, “Gamak Ghar” and Prateek Vats’ “Eeb Allay Ooo”; Best Documentary to Enver Samuel’s “Someone to Blame: The Ahmed Timol Inquest” and Best Short Film to Saim Sadiq’s “Darling.”

The CoSAFF Jury for Fiction Features comprised of Anu Menon, Meenakshi Shedde and Sangeeta Datta. Shahana Goswami, Tsering Rhitar Sherpa, Manu Chopra, Krishna Ramaswamy and Shirish Nene judged the documentaries and Mehreen Jabbar, Aruna Rao, Bim Narine, Rock Demers and Stutee Ghosh were jury for the shorts.

CoSAFF’s virtual platform, which was powered by Vimeo OTT, received over 45,000 total views. Audiences logged in to watch the free programming from all around the world, with the largest audience engagement from the U.S., India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Canada, Nepal, Bangladesh, the United Kingdom, Australia and France, proving that powerful South Asian storytelling is appreciated globally.

A joint statement by the CoSAFF organizers read, “What began seven months ago as just an idea, and a desire to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic, grew into this beautiful celebration of the best South Asian films and filmmakers. We didn’t imagine that our festival would grow to be this big and that our programming would be watched from all corners of the world with such enthusiasm. We’ve been really heartened by the warm and encouraging messages we’ve received from our audiences, and the excitement of our filmmakers. All seven festivals that came together to create CoSAFF feel honored and grateful for the incredible films we were able to screen, the vast experiences of all our panelists and guests, and the tremendous response of our audiences. Through CoSAFF, we wanted to show solidarity within the South Asian community in these difficult times, and we are proud to say we have been able to accomplish that. A big thank you to all our sponsors, partners and donors for their support and for making our festival possible.”

The entirely virtual festival took place from Oct. 3-17. CoSAFF is produced by Tasveer, a Seattle-based South Asian social justice arts non-profit organization, bringing together the following festivals as constituent members: Tasveer South Asian Film Festival, Seattle, Chicago South Asian Film Festival, Chicago, DC South Asian Film Festival, Washington, D.C., Mosaic International South Asian Film Festival, Mississauga/Toronto, Nepal America International Film Festival, Maryland, South Asian Film Festival of Montreal, Montreal, and Vancouver International South Asian Film Festival, Vancouver.

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