Traveling South Asia Film Festival comes to Colorado College - Colorado College

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For Immediate Release

Media contacts:
Jane Turnis
(719) 389-6138

Leslie Weddell
(719) 389-6038


Topics covered in 13 documentaries range from natural disasters to globalization to art

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Oct. 21, 2008 – A three-day film festival, featuring films from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, will be held at Colorado College on Nov. 1-3.  The Traveling Film South Asia Festival is composed of 13 documentaries covering such diverse topics as politics, art, culture, globalization, natural disasters, environment, gender, urbanization, labor relations, the Partition, entertainment and history.

The films, which are free and open to the public, will be shown in the Screening Room at the new Edith Kinney Gaylord Cornerstone Arts Center, 825 N. Cascade Ave., on the Colorado College campus.

The films were selected for the traveling festival from nearly 50 documentaries screened in the competitive section of Film South Asia ’07. A three-member jury, chaired by Bombay-based filmmaker Saeed Mirza, made the final selections. This year’s festival film’s includes five award winners from Film South Asia ’07, as well as other films selected to showcase the variety, treatment and intensity of today’s South Asian documentary films.

This year’s films are:

Saturday, Nov. 1:

  • 1 p.m., “Six Yards to Democracy”: At a political event in Lucknow (the capital of Uttar Pradesh, India) that was promising free saris, a gruesome stampede kills 22 women and injures many others. This seemingly stray incident hints at the sordid side of Indian democracy, but also goes deeper, to explore the daily humiliations forced upon these women and their families. As Lucknow’s boomtown dynamics pushes them further to the margins, the women struggle to keep their homes, hopes and dignity intact, all the while petitioning an apathetic state to pay heed to their needs. India, 2006, directed by Nishtha Jain and Smriti Nevatia; 55 minutes.
  • 2 p.m., “Ayodhya Gatha”: For two decades, the destruction of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya has influenced national events in India. But beyond the symbolism that the Uttar Pradesh town holds for the rest of the country, how has that event affected life in Ayodhya itself? Blocked and barricaded, the only access to the citizens is through memory: the telling of stories, the hearing of tales, the very gatha of Ayodhya’s people. India, 2007, directed by Vani Subramanian; 60 minutes.
  • 3:15 p.m., “Living Goddess”: Three Kumaris, living goddesses, of Katmandu Valley go about their ritualized lives against the backdrop of the agitations that marked the April 2006 People’s Movement. Long sought for annual blessings by Nepal’s monarchy, the Kumaris suddenly find themselves caught in a fight to define the country’s future. The film spends extra time with Sajani Sakya, the precocious, camera-friendly Kumari of Bhaktapur, who went on a trans-Atlantic visit that made news over the summer. Nepal, 2007, directed by Ishbel Whitaker; 96 minutes. Sponsored by International Programs, Asian Studies and the I.D.E.A. Space.
  • 6 p.m., “Chaama Deu! Tara Nabirsa!” (Forgive! Forget Not!): This experimental documentary is the narrated story of a journalist who was detained inside Katmandu’s infamous Bhairabnath Barracks for 15 months. It provides a mirror to the terrible times just past in Nepal, during the "people’s war" and the state’s reaction to the Maoist insurgency. Nepal, 2007, directed by Pranay Limbu; 59 minutes.
  • 7 p.m., “A Life with Slate”: In a mountain village east of Katmandu, the harsh lives of Thami slate miners take on almost poetic dimensions. We learn how to separate slate slabs from the precipitous rock faces. Women work alongside men, carrying heavy loads down to the village and distant markets. "A Life with Slate" emphasizes how cooperation between the laboring families ultimately makes a tough life bearable and depicts intimate scenes of village life. Nepal , 2006, directed by Dipesh Kharel; 59 minutes.
  • 8:15 p.m., “The Sky Below”: This documentary paints a contemporary portrait of the India-Pakistan "mind-frontier" six decades after the two were parted. Director Sara Singh explores the lingering commonalities, as well as the remaining possibilities for reconciliation based on the countries’ interwoven histories, cultures and faiths. The film features first-person recollections from the time of Partition, as well as the views of former militants, politicians, royalty, ordinary citizens, historians and others from both Pakistan and India. India/Pakistan 2006/07, directed by Sara Singh; 75 minutes.

Sunday, Nov. 2:

  • 1 p.m. “Eisenfresser” (Ironeaters): The annual famine in Northern Bangladesh forces two farmers, Kholil and Gadu, along with several of their relatives, to leave their homes and go to work as seasonal laborers in the ship-breaking yards far to the south. Here, on the beaches of Chittagong, they dismantle the discards of the Western world – decrepit oil tankers and enormous container ships, many of which harbor a vast range of perils, toxic and otherwise. These yards also trap their workers, as the seasonal workers who do the most dangerous work are forced into an endless cycle of debt. Bangladesh, 2007, directed by Shaheen Dill; 85 minutes.
  • 2:45 p.m., "Every Good Marriage Begins with Tears": A moving account of two rebellious Bangladeshi sisters, born and raised in London, who are forced to go back to their parents’ homeland for arranged marriages. Through footage of some of their most personal moments, the film explores the conflicts between migrants to the West and their children. It also dispels some myths about Islam’s treatment of women, and puts a human face on one of the communities that is being targeted as a result of the U.S.-led war on terror. UK/Bangladesh, 2006, directed by Simon Chambers; 62 minutes.
  • 4 p.m., "From Dust": Filmed following the devastating 2004 tsunami, this is a damning expose of the Colombo government’s ulterior motives during the course of disaster relief. The local survivors have been prevented from rebuilding their homes along the coastline, while developers eye the lucrative beaches. Told through the stories of two survivors and an aid worker, "From Dust" is a sensitive depiction of lives that waited in tents while the tourism industry repositioned itself on their properties. Sri Lanka, 2005, directed by Dhruv Dhawan; 60 minutes.
  •  6 p.m., "Remembrance of Things Present": How is a teenager supposed to deal with an arranged marriage? How does one resolve the conflict of a displaced life after years of nomadic existence abroad? In "Remembrance of Things Present," the filmmaker, now living in Canada, returns to Bangalore to confront her parents with the former question, while she tries to resolve the latter. Long-divorced and newly remarried, she records some profoundly touching conversations with her parents – while also finding her past being repeated in the life of her parents’ household help. India, 2007, directed by Chandra Siddan; 81 minutes.
  • 7:30 p.m., "The Miseducation of Pakistan": Schools with no teachers, no buildings, no drinking water, no electricity and overflowing with garbage – this is what many students of public schools in Pakistan look forward to. Little wonder that a vast majority of the country’s primary-school graduates are not even considered literate by international standards. All the while, a corrupt hierarchy of officials and school staff line their pockets with funds meant for the children’s education – and no one is held accountable. This is the story of a generation lost and of a country where basic education remains a distant dream for millions. Pakistan, 2005, directed by Syed Ali Nasir; 30 minutes.

Monday, Nov. 3:

  • 7 p.m., "Motherland Afghanistan": The filmmaker follows her father, who specializes in women’s medicine, back to Afghanistan, where one in seven women dies during childbirth. "Motherland Afghanistan" takes in two different trips, one to a maternity ward in Kabul, the other to a rural hospital in Ghazni. In the juxtaposition of these two situations, the film finds and highlights the inspiring grace and courage of Afghanistan’s women. Afghanistan , 2006, directed by Sedika Mojadidi; 74 minutes.
  • 8:30 p.m., "Rabba Hun Kee Kariye" (Thus Departed our Neighbors): "Rabba Hun Kee Kariye" (Thus Departed our Neighbors) tracks a shared history of Punjab –  a sub-continental culture, language and a way of life –  that was torn asunder in the fateful year of 1947. It captures the documentary filmmaker’s unexpected encounter with feelings of guilt and remorse about the genocidal violence of the Partition. These informal tales, almost like folklore, are strewn across the memory-scape of the Punjabi countryside and invoked in the public domain for the first time in this documentary. India, 2007, directed by Ajay Bhardwaj; 65 minutes.


The festival is sponsored by CC’s International Programs, Asian Studies and the I.D.E.A. Space.

For information, directions or disability accommodation at the event, members of the public may call (719) 389-6607.

About Colorado College
Colorado College is a nationally prominent, four-year liberal arts college that was founded in Colorado Springs in 1874. The college operates on the innovative Block Plan, in which its 1,985 undergraduate students study one course at a time in intensive 3½-week blocks. The college also offers a master of arts in teaching degree. For more information, visit <>.

NOTE TO EDITORS: Digital high-resolution photos of the festival’s films are available for download at: