Chicago South Asian Film Festival (CSAFF) announces their film selection for its second year. Starting on September 30, this three-day festival hosted by Chicago Cultural Center and Columbia College Chicago, is proud to showcase 28 films, including 2 world premieres, 7 US premieres and 15 Chicago premieres. The 2011 CSAFF theme is “Art, Life, Respect” which applies not only to the films, but also to our own personal worlds.
Kicking off the festival is Rang Rasiya, from director Ketan Mehta. This Randeep Hooda- Nandana Sen starrer offers a compelling look at the life and work of 19th century Indian painter, Raja Ravi Verma. The opening night red carpet event and gala will be held on Friday, September 29, 2011, at the Chicago Cultural Center and will be adorned by the film’s cast along with many other prominent South Asian and Bollywood celebrities.
The centerpiece film, I Am Kalam, celebrates the human spirit, specifically that of a child’s struggle against all odds to receive an education. The closing night film, I Am, is a very personal story of lesbian filmmaker Sonali Gulati, who returns home to confront the loss of her mother whom she never came out to, showing us the true meaning of family by interviewing the parents of other gay and lesbian Indians.
The lineup cuts across a variety of genres, such as comedy, drama, romance, fantasy, and yes, reality. While pieces such as XXWhy and Jason touch upon LGBT issues, shorts like Do I? and Have I Shared Too Much? provide a fresh perspective on how a lot of us “connect” with each other these days. Made in Pakistan gives audiences a view of the country’s citizens that may not quite fit with what we’re used to seeing in the media, while Ring Laila, from local filmmaker Anu Rana, profiles aspiring female boxers in India. While In the Name of the Family will give you a chilling account of honor killings in the Western hemisphere, the team from Pennywise Films shows us about inspiration, in Shuttlecock Boys, and Still Standing. Finally, stories and concepts like Return Address and The Eggie Files remind us that being a South Asian artist doesn’t necessarily require you to create something about only that culture. The carefully handpicked films for CSAFF 2011 will have something everyone can either relate to, or at least learn from.
“We were extremely happy with our lineup when we selected these films, and we’re even more excited for you to see them. It’s time to get inspired!” said Mileen Patel, Programming Director.
The festival has added another day of free movies and audiences can watch even more free films at the Chicago Cultural Center. Keeping in tune with the goals of the festival to create a film market place, the special panels and workshops open for both moviegoers and moviemakers will be soon announced.