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UK Asian Film Festival comes to the Belgrade

Five South Asian films will be screened next month, including two world premieres

We’re delighted to be one of several venues across the country hosting the UK Asian Film Festival this year. From Thurs 27 – Sat 29 May, socially distanced screenings of five films will take place in B2.

Now in its 23rd year, UK Asian Film Festival is the world’s longest running South Asian film festival outside India. Produced by Tongues on Fire and presented in Coventry by Phizzical, the festival historically showcases South Asian feminist films and the work of pioneering female artists and auteurs.

The curation of this year’s festival is inspired by the theme of Ray of Hope. This year’s line-up highlights stories of resilience and bravery, celebrating those who take a stand against oppression and injustice.

Toofan Mail

Toofan Mail,

Passionate about providing learning opportunities, UK Asian Film Festival set up two days of online workshops for three Coventry-based film enthusiasts. Amisha Patel, Jess Goodwin, and Shabana Sarguro took part in workshops led by Dr Ashvin Immanuel Devasundaram (Queen Mary University of London) and Dr Monia Acciari (Demontfort University). They were taught valuable tools in curational excellence which they employed to select the Belgrade’s opening film.

Screenings open with the world premiere of Toofan Mail (India, 2021, Dir: Akriti Singh) on Thurs 27 May. Based on a true story, a woman lands at the New Delhi railway station claiming that she’s the Queen of Awadh. After asking to meet Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, she demands for her ancestral palace and wealth to be restored. With her head held high, she is the living answer to the question “How do you become a Queen?”

Zindagi Tamasha

Zindagi Tamasha,

Following this will be Zindagi Tamasha (Pakistan, 2019, Dir: Sarmad Khoosat) on Fri 28 May. The award-winning film has been caught up in a blasphemy controversy, with its theatrical release in Pakistan suspended. Despite the banned status in its country of origin, Zindagi Tamasha still went onto become Pakistan’s official entry for selection for the Best International Feature category at this year’s Academy Awards.

On Sat 29 May, Khape (India, 2021, Dir: Suchita Bhatia) will be screened at 2pm, followed by Fire of Teak, Flame of Chinar (India, 2021, Dir: Kumar Chowdhury) at 4:30pm.

In Khape, we meet Ali, the only child in his village who goes to school. The other children have jobs and don’t have the privilege of enjoying their childhood. Ali tries to bring education into their lives by setting up a school outside his hut.

Fire of Teak, Flame of Chinar is the first Indian film to explore the harrowing reality of the persecuted Rohingya Tribe who fled for their lives from Myanmar. A young refugee orphan girl and a young Kashmiri boy meet and form an unlikely bond, dreaming of a life beyond their countless hardships.

The Beatles and India

The Beatles and India,

Screenings will close with the world premiere of The Beatles and India (UK/ India, 2021, Dir: Ajoy Bose, Co-Director Peter Compton) on Sat 29 May. at 7:30pm. The documentary chronicles the enduring love affair between The Beatles and India, featuring rare archival footage, photographs and eye-witness accounts. See exclusive footage of The Beatles performing in Coventry as a support band before they hit the big time.

“Cinema has been a ray of hope for all of us during this pandemic. Its power to entertain, provide escapism and boost our wellbeing has held us all together during this pandemic. And just as characters in films go on a journey of growth, UKAFF has expanded to Coventry this year. Working in partnership with Belgrade Theatre, we are delighted to be one of the key headline events during the UK City of Culture to celebrate the best of South Asian culture, positivity and creativity.”

– Sâmir Bhamra, UK Asian Film Festival Creative Director and Senior Producer at the Belgrade

The festival will also run at venues in London and Leicester, with the opening and closing ceremonies taking place at the BFI Southbank.

UK Asian Film Festival is supported by the BFI and Arts Council England using funds from the National Lottery and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

Screenings of the UK Asian Fim Festival take place from Thurs 27 – Sat 29 May. Socially distanced screenings will take place in B2. Tickets are priced at £5 and are available here.