TSAFF2019: She Persisted Shorts Package

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SIFF Film Center

305 Harrison Street

Seattle, WA 98109

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Short Film: Gaash

Danish Renzu | 14min | 2019 | India

Under a shroud of life, Fatima embarks on a journey in search of her beloved Gaash (light).

Filmmaker: Danish Renzu

Danish Renzu is a Kashmir born film director, whose work direction and writing have received critical acclaim, whilst his work in drama specifically has earned him an official selection at various film festivals and recognition in press and media. Danish Renzu grew up in the conflict-driven valley of Kashmir where he lived through frequent bombings, shutdowns and abuse of human rights, he realized early in life that true solution lies in investing our energies toward personal development, education and community growth. A graduate of the University of California Los Angeles, he came to America all by himself at a very young age to pursue his dreams. He also holds a Bachelors degree in Electrical Engineering.

Short Film: A for Apple

Sarah Aminuddin | 14 min | 2019 | Canada

Inside the home of an upper-class Pakistani family, teenage servant Humaira receives English lessons from her young mistress, Sabina. The classes awaken in Humaira the desire for an education of which she has been deprived as a maid. When Naseem, her mother, notices the lessons are distracting her from her work, she reprimands the girl for transgressing her social position and gender expectations. Despite constant discouragement from her mother and employers, Humaira continues to pursue her dream of learning English.

Filmmaker: Sarah Aminuddin

Sarah Aminuddin is a Pakistani-Canadian filmmaker and has completed her BA Honours in Film Production from York University. Her films focus on various social issues prevalent in Pakistan such as child marriage, female education, and homophobia. Her work has been screened at Regent Park Film Festival, International Film Festival of South Asia Toronto, and won 'Best Film' at York's Cinesiege. Currently, she runs the video department at a digital media company in Lahore while writing a mini-series about the class divide in Pakistan. She is passionate about bringing change to her country through her work, which pushes her to make content which leaves a long-lasting impact on the viewer.

Short Film: Nooreh

Ashish Pandey | 20min | 2019 | India

Nestled in Kashmir valley lives a small village on the India-Pakistan border always caught in the crossfire between the two warring nations. One night an eight-year-old girl ‘Nooreh’ discovers that the gun battle rages when she sleeps and the bloody duel stops
when she keeps her eyes open.

Filmmaker: Ashish Pandey

Ashish began his quest to find unheard marginal voices with his first short ‘The Cabin man’ (2007) which dealt with the loneliness of a cabin man guarding an abandoned railway cabin. In ‘Open Doors’ (2010) he reflected upon the apathy of a son towards her fragile mother; who hopes to return home, till her last breath. ‘Nooreh’ (2018) portrays an innocent belief of a young Kashmiri girl, growing up in a conflict-ridden village on the
India-Pakistan border. The years in between are devoted to earning money to fund the next truth-seeking venture; Truth which is not definite. He is a graduate from Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute, Kolkata with specialization in sound.

Short Film: The Stitch

Asiya Zahor | 8min | 2019 | India

The Stitch is set near the LOC Line of Control – not a recognized international boundary but a de facto border between India and Pakistan in Baramulla/Uri, towards the extreme north of Kashmir. The film takes us into the life of a nine-year-old girl, who takes respite in drawing even though to fulfill her little aspirations like going to school, she has to navigate difficult geographical terrains and occasionally a curfew or a crossfire. By zooming into the microcosm of the girl’s life, this short film endeavors to portray the larger story of Kashmir and the negotiations the people in any contested territory have to make to deal with fissures in their geographical and personal identities. As a conscious act of resistance against the infidelity of language, there are no dialogues in the film.

Filmmaker: Asiya Zahor

Asiya Zahoor, the director of the film teaches literature in Baramulla. She writes poetry and occasionally experiments with the visual medium. The film has brought together a group of people with an urge to tell their story. These are mostly students from Baramulla with an exception of the musician, Ghulam Hassan, who plays rabab after a day’s toil of sweeping the Baramulla college.

Short Film: Kamali

Sasha Rainbow | 24 min | 2019 | United Kingdom

Kamali is the only girl skateboarder in a fishing village. Her timorous mother, Suganthi takes a pilgrimage in a quest for self-discovery. Separated for the first time, they must find freedom in a man’s world.

Filmmaker: Sasha Rainbow

Sasha Rainbow is a director who has worked across multiple disciplines including film, art direction, photography and costume. Sasha believes storytelling can throw light onto communities to showcase heroic role models, which is just what the world needs.

Short Film: Aguan – Sun Behind the Horizon

Novera Hasan Nikkon | 9 min | 2019 | Bangladesh

Bangladesh’s socio-cultural environment always stands on gender discrimination. Girls are often considered to be financial burdens on their family from the time of birth. Empowering women is still a dream from generation to generation. This is the story of Ms Rahela Begum a 22-year-old single unfortunate mother becoming a female rickshaw-puller, who is breaking traditional gender roles while supporting her two children when her husband left her. Muslim-majority Bangladesh is one of Asia’s most conservative societies where the concept of a woman doing such a job is unheard of before Rahela hit the road three years ago in the capital city Dhaka. Barring all senseless conventions and stereotypes from consideration, Ms Rahela is surely giving everyone in the sub-continent women-empowerment goals. From being a hapless mother her journey, undoubtedly has been an uphill as well as an inspiring one. Her actions have proved that nothing could be the barrier if anyone could believe himself.

Filmmaker: Novera Hasan Nikkon

Novera Hasan Nikkon is a student film-maker, born on February 04 1998 Dhaka Bangladesh. She is now an undergraduate 3rd-year student of Fine Arts Dept. of the Jagannath University, Dhaka. She has made 3 short documentary films focusing on women’s right. Her first fully individual debut film is “Let me Breath with my Dream’’ made in 2017 which has received inspiring awards and official nominations. Her second and third films are ‘We could be Champion too’ and ‘Aguan’ respectively. These films have recieved prestigious awards. Ms Nikon’s proposed production proposal “The Girls are not Brides” got the world’s most prestigious “The Hoso Bunka Foundation Award” in the NHK Japan Prize competition-2016. In the 56 years history of Japan Prize, she is the first woman as well as the first Bangladeshi citizen who won this prize at the age of 19. This is also her first jointly directed international film. She did the research, production planning and scripting of that film. Ms Nikkon visited India, Japan, Nepal, Malaysia, and Japan for film-related issues.

Short Film: Passage

Asavari Kumar | 6min | 2019 | US/India

Passage is an animated short film that recounts the journey of a young immigrant woman from India in the aftermath of the US Presidential Elections of 2016. The film unfolds like an animated essay, portraying the woman's personal journey through a quagmire of memories, changing identities, and the idea of belonging. Amidst rising global anti-immigrant sentiments and divisive discourses within the immigrant communities, Passage hopes to explore overlapping narratives across varied immigrant experiences.

Filmmaker: Asavari Kumar

Asavari is an Animation Director from New Delhi, India currently based in Los Angeles. She owns and operates the collective Supernova Design through which she creates commercial and personal projects while collaborating with POC and women artists. Asavari’s films, installations and graphic narratives have been showcased at national and international film festivals and exhibition spaces. She uses character-driven storytelling to parse her evolving cultural and political identity and aims to generate a discourse surrounding ideas of ‘home’ and ‘belonging’ and find where her narratives intersect with those around her.

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SIFF Film Center

305 Harrison Street

Seattle, WA 98109

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