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3rd I's 2007 San Francisco International South Asian Film Festival

South Asian filmmakers are making their presence felt worldwide with Rajnesh Domalapalli’s Vanaja and Bollywood alum Shekhar Kapur’s upcoming feature Elizabeth: The Golden Age opening in mainstream theatres. But there are still many gems that do not make it to American screens.
3rd I fills that gap to bring you some of the best recent works by South Asians with shorts by local filmmakers, including art house classics, hard hitting social documentaries, Bollywood blockbusters and lots more. In our fifth incarnation this year, 3rd I is proud to announce in-person appearances by featured filmmakers Manish Acharya (Loins of Punjab Presents), Rituparno Ghosh (Dosar), Meena Nanji (View From A Grain of Sand) and several other local filmmakers.
About our featured directors: Kolkata-born Rituparno Ghosh gained serious critical acclaim with his films Crossfire (’97), The Lady of the House (’99) and The Festival (2000), all of which screened at the SF International Film Festival. Widely considered the inheritor of Satyajit Ray, Ghosh excels in intimate scenes of conflict and revelation between characters, and he has secured a position in the pantheon of great Bengali filmmakers. Manish Acharya is a graduate of the NYU Tisch School of the Arts and winner of Best Feature at the 65th First Run Film Festival in New York. Before his production days, he was the founder of a successful software company. Acclaimed filmmaker Meena Nanji’s films focus on diasporas of post-colonial peoples, and how migration affects their cultural norms. Nanji has been working in experimental & documentary film & video for the past 12 years and her films have been recognized by the Rockefeller Foundation, the NEA, Paul Robeson Fund, AFI and NAATA.
The 2007 festival opens on Friday, November 16th at the Victoria Theatre in the heart of San Francisco’s Mission District. At 7:00pm, is the consistently sold-out compilation of South Asian Shorts by local filmmakers, many of whom will be in attendance at the screening. At 9:00pm is Ashim Ahluwahlia’s surreal & singularly original documentary John and Jane - Toll Free. Official selection at the Toronto and Berlin Festivals, it examines the cultural & psychological impact of the “American dream” on six young call-center workers.
On Saturday, November 17th 3rd I moves to the famed Castro Theatre. The program begins with an 11:00am screening of the 1957 Guru Dutt classic, Pyaasa (Eternal Thirst), an emotionally charged indictment of the materialism of our times. With richly textured cinematography, stirring music and nuanced performances, this is pure celluloid poetry. At 2:00pm is Loins of Punjab Presents – Manish Acharya’s sidesplitting look at a Desi singing contest in a New Jersey town. Think Monsoon Wedding meets Annie Hall, at a diner in Queens, for a masala omelet. Meet Manish Acharya in person after the screening. At 5:00pm, there’s Rituparno Ghosh’s Dosar (The Companion). A beautiful B&W film set in contemporary Calcutta, it traces the infidelities of three couples and is unabashed in its representation of sexuality in India. Rituparno Ghosh will be available for a post-screening Q&A. We close the night at 8:30pm with Farhan Akhtar’s Bollywood blockbuster Don, starring Indian superstar Shah Rukh Khan, re-inventing the role that Amitabh Bachchan made famous in 1978. Stylized action sequences, dazzling dance numbers – this is Bollywood at its finest!
For the last day of the Festival, Sunday, November 18th, we move to yet another San Francisco landmark – the Roxie Theatre. At 12:00 noon, join us for View From a Grain of Sand, Meena Nanji’s powerful exploration of culture, tradition and migration over the last thirty years, seen through the eyes of three Afghan women. Meet Meena Nanji in person after the screening. At 2.30pm, there’s Unni (Another Story of an Indian Child) by Cannes award winner Murali Nair. This coming-of-age journey of four mischievous young friends from different social classes is the first of a trilogy, Life Is All About Friends. Sri Lankan director Prasanna Jayakody’s debut, Sankara, is at 4:30 pm. Official selection at the Rotterdam and London Festivals, this meditative film is about a Buddhist monk who finds a woman's hairpin while restoring a temple painting and sets him off on a reverie of worldly passion. The festival wraps at 7:00pm, with Anish Ahluwalia’s Kya Tum Ho? (Are You There?). Part of a new wave of ‘noir’ films from India, it examines the underbelly of urban isolation in this cyber-age, through the intersecting online lives of three alienated individuals.
Shows are $9 at the Roxie and Victoria Theatres and $10 at the Castro; passes are $65 for the entire festival and $32 for all films at the Castro. A pass will get you into the VIP Guest Reception. For more information please visit the festival website at or call (415) 835-4783.
If you would like press materials including screener tapes and photos, email or call (415) 513-6785.


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