Culture Dose: Tasveer South Asian Film Festival

Courtesy Tasveer South Asian Film Festival

A beautiful October event you won’t want to miss. 

At a time when building bridges between cultures and facilitating discussion has never felt more urgent, the Tasveer South Asian Film Festival returns to the greater Seattle area between October 6 and 15. Over the past decade, TSAFF has grown to become the country’s largest, longest and most diverse South Asian film festival in the country.

According to organizers, “it is the only one of its size with an emphasis on human rights and social justice, instigating vital and groundbreaking conversations about minority oppression, immigration, women’s issues and globalization engaged through the art of film from across the South Asian sub-continent.”

Courtesy Tasveer South Asian Film Festival

The concept launched in 2004, when founders decided that “instead of waiting for others to present the opportunity, we have to tell our own stories … we have to create our own platforms.” They express a commitment to “meaningful cinema” and their mission to engage community. (“Discussion is what drives us,” they explain.)

With more submissions than ever before (200-plus), this year’s festival will screen 56 films from 11 countries (with 18 being features and the rest shorts); all take place in South Asian countries or were filmed by South Asian filmmakers in spots around the globe (ranging from the US and UK to France and Canada).

This year’s festival focuses on Nepal, a country organizers feel often gets underrepresented, by showcasing 13 Nepalese films and a photo exhibit, too. The festival will also welcome 20-plus filmmakers to participate in Q+A sessions after the screenings; in addition, four virtual reality films join the lineup for the first time ever.

Courtesy Tasveer South Asian Film Festival

Dates to note include the Opening Night Gala on Friday, October 6 (7 p.m.) at the Seattle Art Museum and the Centerpiece Gala on Friday, October 13 (7 p.m.) at the Regal Bella Bottega Stadium Redmond. On Tuesday, October 10, in partnership with the South Asia Center at the University of Washington, faculty, students, TSAFF filmmakers and members of the public will convene for a one-day symposium titled “Boundaries and Belongings,” designed as an opportunity to dialogue on relevant cultural and political, national and intra-national issues currently plaguing the eight nation-states of South Asia.

Each year, TSAFF also selects a theme to weave throughout its programming. This year’s theme couldn’t seem more appropriate: #WeBelong. “We were moved to select #WeBelong as the theme of not only the Film Festival this year, but of all Tasveer events because of the recent upswing in incidents of hate and violence against immigrants,” explained Rita Meher, Tasveer Executive Director. “TSAFF will provide a much needed platform for both artistic expression and community discourse on the subject of belonging in this nation of immigrants.”

Find a full schedule of screenings and special events here. Single tickets cost $10-$12 general admission (with various discounts available). Special event ticket prices vary. Passes cost $100-$150 with full-fest, firs- weekend,and second-weekend passes available. All proceeds support Tasveer.