The Bay Area South Asian Film Festival, BASAFF, inaugurates its debut season, September 21-23, with Sony Pictures International Productions French-Indian-Belgian co-production The Extraordinary Journey Of The Fakir starring Bérénice Béjo, Barkhad Abdi, Erin Moriarty and Abel Jafri, and Tamil superstar, Dhanush.
BASAFF is designed as a film festival and cultural event that goes beyond films to address storytelling in all performing arts forms: feature films, short films, documentaries, small screen productions, theater, music, and any other medium storytellers choose to present their creative work. BASAFF mission is to bring together all visual and performing art forms and audiences from South Asia and those interested in South Asia. The festival provides a platform for innovative films, bringing the best and established filmmakers and also independent, unique, emerging voices. BASAFF provides opportunities for the local community, film aficionados, visitors, filmmakers, and the greater South Asian film community to celebrate the power of film, art, technology and storytelling in an environment that fosters creativity and innovation.
The opening presentation The Extraordinary Journey Of The Fakir is based on Puértolas’ best-selling novel which sees the death of a hustler’s mother lead him from Mumbai on an extraordinary voyage in search of his estranged father. He finds love in a Swedish furniture store in Paris, danger with Somalian migrants in England in what ultimately becomes an unexpected journey of self-discovery. Dhanush plays the protagonist.
BASAFF comes together with one of the leading theater production houses of the Bay Area, ENACTE ARTS, to showcase the premiere presentation of their latest production Queen. Vinita Sud Belani directs Madhuri Shekhar’s second script after A Nice Indian Boy.
MIT, Stanford and a host of other top-notch universities are racing to be the first to discover the cause of a disturbing phenomenon. Bees are dying everywhere.Governments are worried. The significant economic losses that the world faces due to systemic Colony Collapse Disorder are just the tip of the iceberg in the impact on humanity. Deep in the heart of UC Santa Cruz, two scientists are days away from publishing a paper on the cause of bee extinction that will rock the research world. But when a 0.03% deviation shows up in the last batch of data, Sanam and Ariel must confront the ethics of scientific veracity and the consequences of their choices. The two performances will be staged at the Visual and Performing Arts Center, De Anza College, in Cupertino, California, on Friday, September 28 at 8:00 PM and Saturday, September 29, 2018 at 2:00 PM and 6:00 PM. Theater is at a different venue from film screenings.
Famous Writer-Director Mike Reiss is likely to deliver the keynote speech for the festival. Among the numerous celebrities at the festival, well-known actress from film-television and theater, Ms. Ashvini Bhave, will open and Actor-Director Parambrata Chatterjee will close the festival. A prominent personality, actor and director, of the Kolkata Tollywood film community, Parambrata’s film Sonar Pahar will be screened on Sunday, September 23. Sonar Pahar, is a critically acclaimed film about the relationship between an aging mother and her son and the rift that comes about between the two after he marries a woman of whom she disapproves. The film stars Tanuja.
The filmmakers and scriptwriter panel on “Enter Tech and Script-to-Screen” has panelists Ken Scott, Vikram Chandra, Saskia Vischer, Ajay Jain Bhutoria and Kireet Khurana. Saturday 22, 3:00 PM.
Opening night performance “Kaleidoscope – A Journey through India” blends traditional folk music with popular Bollywood songs and dance by Xpressions artistic director Srividya Eashwar. Performance will feature a special dance tribute to Sridevi superstar of Bollywood who passed away this year. The closing night performance features a classical dance performance by Samhara.
The documentary section includes Bird of Dusk, a fascinating look by director Sangeeta Datta at the life of Rituparno Ghosh. Rituparno Ghosh, with one of the most creative and fascinating body of work in recent Bengali film industry. He also was extremely controversial in his personal life. He came out as not only gay but also very publicly attempted to surgically change his gender. He died of complications from the surgery, its after effects and his attempts to reverse the procedure. Dutta’s documentary is based on Rituparno’s memoirs and interviews with those who knew him well in Tollywood. The film will be screened on Sunday 23, 3:45 PM.
Also featured will be the world premiere of Director Sriram Dalton’s Spring Thunder. A hard-hitting film on Uranium Mafia, Spring Thunder narrates the story of a Uranium mining tender at the highest plateau of India, enriched with thick forests where various native communities are living, Showcasing the tussle between sustainability and development in the context of rural India. Sunday 23, 11:00 AM
Closing night screening features the US premiere of T For Taj Mahal. Six time President’s award winner director Kireet Khurana’s film is about an illiterate man’s journey to bring literacy to his village through a unique social enterprise. The protagonist starts a wayside dhaba in his village where there are no schools. He asks the customers in the dhaba to teach the village children instead of paying for the food. Sunday 23, 8:45 PM
The sport focus feature film 22 Yards shows the rise and fall of a sports agent amid the backdrop of a professional league. The film is directed by sports journalist Mitali Ghosh who has made a documentary on India’s crickets icon Saurav Ganguly. Saturday 22, 9:30 PM.
Director Anup Singh casts Irrfan Khan, Waheeda Rehman, and Golshifteh Farahani in the Song of Scorpions. According to an ancient Rajasthani myth, sure death from the sting of a scorpion can be cured by the song sung by a scorpion singer. A tribal woman Nooran takes lessons from her grandmother Zubaida. Nooran marries Aadam, a camel trader but soon after receives a setback which sets her on a path of vengeance. Saturday 22, 6:45 PM.
Kunal Kapoor, Ali Haji star in Director Vandana Kataria’s Noblemen, a thematic representation of The Merchant of Venice. A young student Shay is picked on by other kids at a boarding house when he lands a coveted role in a play. The bullies brutally victimize Shay hoping to break him so he willingly relents his role. Events take a sinister turn when Murali notices Shay’s condition and intervenes to help him out. Saturday 22, 11:00 AM.
Short films (see program details for screening venues and times):
Pashi, Director Siddharth Chauhan. A young boy Chetan who learns about the hunting technique from his old grandmother Savitri. The film was an Oscar finalist in the short film section.
Everything is Fine, Director Mansi Jain. A 58 year-old oppressed housewife from a small town in India wants to leave her deeply patriarchal marriage but is met with knee jerk reaction of shock and anger from her daughter.
Soundproof, Director Aditya Kelgaonkar and starring Soha Ali Khan. In a society filled with noise, the only way to live is in silence.
Doitto, Director Tathagata Ghosh. Psychological thriller about a morally flawed homicide detective who must interrogate a suspect before a serial killer takes down his next victim.
Majaal Hai, Director Umang Vyas. One night events of Pandey, a diligent and earnest security guard and a series of multiple events lead that land him in an unpredictable, precarious situation
7 Rounds, Director George Savvidis. During the Muslim ban in 2017, two young Indian engineers go to their local bar only to encounter a series of challenges related to perceptions of their ethnicity.
Films will be screened at the following venues:
Day 1: 4:30 PM – 12 midnight: Schultz Cultural Arts Hall, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto, CA 94303
Day 2: 11:00 am to 12 midnight: Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St, Mountain View, CA 94041
Day 3: 11 am to 12 midnight: Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St, Mountain View, CA 94041
Festival and Press Contact:
Aniruddha Dasgupta: (650) 740-8463
Aparna Dasgupta: (650) 534-4502
For Programs and Ticket Information: