UK Asian Film Festival to mark silver jubilee year with ‘Celebrating Our Stories’ theme

UK Asian Film Festival to mark silver jubilee year with ‘Celebrating Our Stories’ theme

The UK Asian Film Festival (UKAFF) by Tongues on Fire, among the world’s longest running South Asian film festivals, has unveiled its programme for its silver jubilee edition – which is themed around “Celebrating Our Stories”.

Over the last 25 years, UKAFF has been on a mission to champion South Asian female-centric cinema and celebrate women in film – both behind and in front of the camera. As a festival helmed by women and feminist allies, its programmes have annually sought to disrupt the patriarchal status quo and initiate challenging conversations in its mission to advocate and promote gender equality in cinema.

The ‘Celebrating Our Stories’ theme of the festival’s silver jubilee year will present a curation of film stories centring on the British South Asian experience – redefining and reimagining one’s roots and dreams in a foreign land – and will celebrate the individuality and uniqueness of trans generational migrant stories.

The Opening Gala will present the UK Premiere of ‘Sanaa’, directed by Sudhanshu Saria, on May 4 at the BFI Southbank in London. The biggest weekend of her professional life only gets more complicated when Sanaa (pictured above), a 28-year-old financial advisor working in Mumbai, finds out she is pregnant. Clear on her decision to terminate her pregnancy, the actual process of getting the abortion forces Sanaa to re-evaluate her life and if the choices she has been making have really been her own. The film is an observation of the choices and dilemmas facing women in the corporate workplace, highlighting gender disparities.

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UKAFF Founder and Director, Dr Pushpinder Chowdhry MBE, said: “When we set up Tongues on Fire, we wanted to create a platform for thought provoking stories that stimulate meaningful conversations, unpack uncomfortable truths and challenge patriarchy.  It fills us with great pride and joy to open our silver jubilee edition at NFT 1 BFI Southbank with a powerful screening of ‘Sanaa’.

“This unique film has a compelling story that celebrates the journey so far for women’s independence.  South Asian women are finally taking control to make their own decisions, be it their career, their bodies or their lives against a slow changing man’s world. ‘Sanaa’ carries a beautiful message of solidarity and sisterhood to challenge generations of gender conditioning and the subtleties of modern misogyny.”

The Closing Film on May 13 at Kiln Theatre in London is the world premiere of ‘Bhagwan Bharose’, directed by Shiladitya Bora. The film tells the story of Bhola and Shambhu, two village boys whose ideas about faith are constantly questioned as their little world expands and takes into its fold their country’s fast-changing socio-political landscape.

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UKAFF Creative Director Samir Bhamra said: “Our beloved festival strives to highlight new perspectives and shines the spotlight on acclaimed filmmakers. Our silver jubilee celebrations are rolling out the red carpet to welcome you back with an incredible line up of rich experiences. Join us for new discoveries and fan favourites at a cinema or theatre in London, Leicester or Scotland!”

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