8th annual Chicago South Asian Film Festival focuses on women in cinema

Chicago South Asian Film Festival

The eighth annual Chicago South Asian Film Festival features a diverse schedule, including a pre-festival screening of “Signature Move” and an exclusive Q&A with acclaimed actor Shabana Azmi (pictured), Fawzia Mirza and director Jennifer Reeder as well as a “carefully curated collection of independent films, shorts, documentaries, events and discussions will create the Red Carpet performances.” Photo courtesy of YouTube.

CHICAGO (Diya TV) — The eighth annual Chicago South Asian Film Festival features a diverse schedule, including a pre-festival screening of “Signature Move” and an exclusive Q&A with acclaimed actor Shabana Azmi, Fawzia Mirza and director Jennifer Reeder as well as a “carefully curated collection of independent films, shorts, documentaries, events and discussions will create the Red Carpet performances.”

“Signature Move” is a hilarious and heartfelt look at modern families and the complexities of love in its many forms,” telling the story of Zaynab (Mirza), a 30-something Pakistani, Muslim, lesbian lawyer living in Chicago who begins a new romance with Alma (Sari Sanchez), a confident Mexican-American woman. Zaynab’s recently widowed mother Parveen (Azmi) has moved in and spends her days watching Pakistani TV dramas while searching for a potential husband for her only daughter. Alma’s mother, Rosa (Charin Alvarez), is a former professional Luchadora which Zaynab finds fascinating as she has recently taken up lucha-style wrestling training with a former pro wrestler, Jayde. Zaynab tries to keep both her love life and her wrestling a secret from her Muslim mother, who knows more than she lets on.

The three-day festival takes place September 20 through October 1 and is the largest of it’s type in the Midwest. Over 25 films will be presented in downtown Chicago, at the Showplace ICON Theater in the South Loop, at DePaul University’s School of Cinematic Arts in the loop, and in Oakbrook, at the Oakbrook AMC Theater.

The central festival theme is “Women in Cinema”. Shabana Azmi and Rajkummar Rao will walk the Red Carpet qith Azmi will be presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Opening Night will close with the Chicago premiere of Newton by director Amit Masurkar and includes performances by Rajkummar Rao. Newton premiered at the Berlin Film Festival to rave reviews earlier this year.

“The Festival creates an innovative cultural and cinematic experience for Chicagoans and visitors alike. Through the gift of film, the Chicago South Asian Film Festival invites all to share and enjoy the magic of cinema and true cultural exchange. The City is proud to host this extraordinary partnership between the South Asian community and the arts and entertainment industry,” says Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on the event website.

The Festival features films from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Iran, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Tibet. Films from Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam have also received a platform at CSAFF.

The Festival was founded in 2010 by Amit Rana, Mileen Patel and Ketki Parikh with the support of Vachikam Inc. and the Network of Indian Professionals. The inaugural event attracted over 1,300 attendees including filmmakers Aparna Sen, Deepti Naval and Ajay Naidu.

Additional South Asian film talent participating include Askhay Oberoi, Fawzia Mirza, Shahana Goswami, Barun Sobti, Adeel Hussain, Mehreen Jabbar and Aparna Sen.

Visit http://www.csaff.org for more information.

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