Close
Barber of Bangalore

Barber of Bangalore

Canada 6 min 30 s

Roger Sinha, Artistic Director of Sinha Danse, has presented his works both nationally and internationally. His inspiration stems from an intense need to reclaim his Indian heritage and use this tradition to shape a modern expression of his reality.

MONITOR
The Art of Archery in East London

The Art of Archery in East London

UK 7 min

Khaldoon Ahmed is a filmmaker born in London to Pakistani parents. He has studied anthropology and works as a psychiatrist. He is currently developing a number of documentary films based on his two areas of interest: Islam in Europe, and medicine and society.

MONITOR
A Story of Nida Known as Pasha Ali

A Story of Nida Known as Pasha Ali

Pakistan 7 min 30 s

Athar Ahmed is an award winning documentary filmmaker based in Pakistan. Since 2004 he has been working with the Interactive Resource Centre, Lahore, and has been involved in various social movements, human rights, peace coalitions, and advocacy campaigns in the social service sector since 1999.

MONITOR
Tapestry

Tapestry

Canada 6 min 30 s

Sharlene Bamboat is a film and video artist who recently graduated with a Masters Degree in Cinema and Media Studies from York University. She currently lives and works in the UK where she continues to create experimental works exploring themes of diaspora, queerness and the body.

MONITOR
Love Song

Love Song

Pakistan 1 min

Asma Mundrawala received her BFA degree from the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture in Karachi, and an MA in Contemporary Art and Theory from the Wimbledon School of Art, in the UK. In addition to her visual art practice, she is a performer with the Karachi based theatre group Tehrik e Niswan.

MONITOR
There is a Spider Living Between Us

There is a Spider Living Between Us

India 6 min

Tejal Shah works in video, photography and installation. Her work, like herself, is feminist, queer and political. She has exhibited widely internationally, and is co-founder of Larzish, India’s First International Film Festival of Sexuality and Gender Plurality. She has studied in Australia and the United States and currently works in Bombay.

MONITOR
The Importance of Being Earnest

The Importance of Being Earnest

Canada 3 min

Divya Mehra holds a BFA degree from the University of Manitoba and an MFA from Columbia University. In her practice she explores issues of cultural displacement and hybridization, deploying a humorous perspective in the execution of the works. She divides her time between Winnipeg and New York.

MONITOR
Forgive, Forget Not!

Forgive, Forget Not!

Nepal 20 min

Pranay Limbu is a Kathmandu based filmmaker, who started his career with commissioned documentary films for grassroots movements and organizations. His work is characterized by experimentation with film form and content. Forgive, Forget Not! is his second major documentary.

MONITOR
Let’s Drink

Let’s Drink

Bangladesh 1 min

Ashim Halder Sagor is in the process of completing a Master of Fine Arts degree in ceramics at the Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Dhaka. He has participated in numerous workshops and exhibitions in Bangladesh and Nepal.

MONITOR
Partition

Partition

USA 8 min

Holly Rodricks was born and raised in Chicago, and she received her BFA from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is currently an MFA candidate in the Department of Transmedia at Syracuse University. She regularly works with her parents and grandparents, investigating their experiences, reasoning and values, and how they influence her position.

MONITOR

Meandering Currents

2010 67 min

by Richard Fung

These ten short films and videos from South Asia and its diaspora meander like a river through ever-shifting landscapes. Along the way, new aesthetic contours are revealed. Familiar thematic territory is viewed from fresh angles. Currents mix in unusual ways.

Born in England of an Armenian mother and an Indian father, Montreal-based choreographer Roger Sinha draws from diverse dance traditions. In the Barber of Bangalore, Rossini’s familiar opera is transported from Seville to the eponymous south Indian metropolis where three bharata natyam dancers interpret the music through a lexicon of facial expression known as abhinaya. The results are surprising, at times amusing, and thoroughly enthralling.

Cultures also comingle in The Art of Archery in East London. Yassar Ali Sadiq imparts concentration, discipline and self-confidence by way of instruction in the bow and arrow. Sadiq runs an archery club at an all-boys English high school where most of the students are Asian. His poetic musings on the history and spirituality at the core of this martial art set the tone for the stillness and focus inside the practice hall, in sharp contrast to the boisterousness of life outside.

A Story of Nida Known as Pasha Ali, a poignant documentary about resilience and everyday courage, continues the program’s exploration of performing gender while beginning a short detour about families. Nida describes her move from Hyderabad in southern Pakistan to Multan, hundreds of kilometers to the north. In Multan, Nida lives as a young man and is known to everyone as Pasha. With his earnings running a public call centre, Pasha sends money home to help support his mother. He misses her greatly, but savours the freedom to be himself.

In Tapestry, a Parsi family maintains tradition and identity through the fertility ceremonies preceding a marriage. But the performance of the rituals is unpracticed, self-conscious and clumsy, and a stubborn coconut symbolizes the challenges of cultural continuity for this small and widely dispersed community.

Despite its sober message, Tapestry is gently humorous. The tone takes a darker turn, however, with Love Song, a terse commentary on the city of Karachi in which laughing vultures haunt an opulent mansion. In the next film, There is a spider living between us, Tejal Shah further peels back the skin of romanticism surrounding the family. This experimental tour de force butts up a mix of animation styles with poetic and diaristic voiceover narrations. Subjects pondered include the intricacies of queer female desire, the sexual position known as tribadism, and the distress of overhearing one’s parents making love.

Divya Mehra also fuses the incongruous, and in many works juxtaposes a low-tech aesthetic with a political critique of mass culture. Using her own body as performing subject, she exploits the internal contradiction of the Youtube era in which private moments garner mass circulation. In The Importance of Being Earnest, her choice of images to illustrate her karaoke take on “A Whole New World,” the hit song from Disney’s 1992 version of Aladdin, is both bitingly funny and devastating.

As Nepal emerges from near-absolute monarchy and years of civil war, it is witnessing a cultural rebirth. Filmmaker Pranay Limbu helps clear the way for a peaceful future by confronting the recent past. Forgive, Forget Not! is a stunningly rendered account of one journalist’s experience of incarceration and torture by the Nepali military during the dying days of the ancien régime. Bhaikaji recounts in detail the fifteen months he spent blindfolded, detained without charge on suspicion of being a Maoist. On his release, he calls for reconciliation rather than revenge. Limbu illustrates Bhaikaji’s tale with a concision and restraint that maximizes the emotional impact.

Merging another account of upheaval with the family chronicle, American artist Holly Rodricks interviews her grandparents about their escape from Lahore to India during the violent partition of the subcontinent. At the dissolution of the British Indian Empire in 1947, Muslims fled to the newly created state of Pakistan, while Hindus took flight in the opposite direction, towards India. 12.5 million people were displaced and up to a million people killed in communal rioting. Rodrick eschews historical documents or archival images, but instead emphasizes the particularity and individuality of her grandparents’ testimony. We contemplate a black and white photograph of the young couple, but she denies us any establishing shot of what they look like today. Rather, her camera peruses their wrinkled, sagging skin, her grandfather’s shorn yet overgrown grey beard, her grandmother’s slippers and walker. Partition has no agenda. Among its many small lessons it reminds us of the fragility of the peace we may take for granted, and how trauma endures in the memories of the survivors.

Across religion, across language, across class, one thing that unites people across a huge swath of the Indian subcontinent is a love of hot, sweet tea, served milky or plain, with or without spices. Bangladeshi filmmaker Ashim Halder celebrates this beloved beverage with a short that is bound to make you thirsty. Let’s Drink captures the chaiwalla’s consummate skill and the trance-like pleasure with which his customers imbibe their brew.

Richard Fung is a Trinidad-born, Toronto-based video artist and cultural critic whose work deals with the intersection of race and queer sexuality, and with issues of post-colonialism, diaspora, and family.



Suite 450
401 Richmond St. W.
Toronto, ON M5V 3A8
Canada

1 (416) 542-1661
info@savac.net

Monday - Thursday
10am - 5pm
or by appointment

SUBSCRIBE

Stay up to date about upcoming submission deadlines, workshops,
exhibitions, and events at SAVAC.

Canada Council for the Arts Ontario Arts Council Toronto Arts Council Ontario Trillium Foundation