The recently concluded Tasveer South Asian Film Festival (TSAFF) 2018 that ran from September 28 till October 7 hosted a number of artists and screened over 65 films. With Pakistan as the focus country this year, more than 30 per cent of the programming was dedicated to Pakistani content while women took center stage at the event this time.
A special event was held on September 13, prior to the festival, to officially launch the proceedings with two-time Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy in attendance. Her Oscar-winning documentary, A Girl In the River: The Price of Forgiveness, was screened at the launch, followed by a conversation about her work with Tasveer programming director and Seattle-based producer Laila Kazmi. Honoured with the 2018 Tasveer Emerald Award, Sharmeen engaged with the audience in a Q & A session during which she spoke about working as a documentary filmmaker in Pakistan and her passion for journalistic inquiry into important issues of equity in Pakistan and around the world.
The 13th TSAFF opened with Asim Abbasi’s directorial debut Cake that features Aamina Sheikh, Sanam Saeed and Adnan Malik in key roles and highlights the love-hate relations of two 30-something sisters, Zareen and Zara. Director Asim Abbasi and Sanam Saeed were present on the occasion and were joined by filmmaker Mehreen Jabbar whose film Lala Begum was also screened as part of the festival.
Speaking of the festival this year, Tasveer’s guest programming director Laila Kazmi noted in a statement, “With Pakistan being the focus country for TSAFF 2018 and #KnowMe the festival theme, we wanted to show Pakistan as it has never before been seen by audiences in the Pacific Northwest, meaning go beyond the headlines of conflicts and present nuanced stories of people. With a total of 19 films from Pakistani filmmakers – surely a first for any international film festival – we believe that we achieved this goal.”
“Two remarkable feature films in the festival, Cake and My Pure Land are indicative that Pakistani cinema has arrived, albeit one film at a time,” she added. “Both stories of family drama boast high quality of production, acting, and character development, while drawing you in and keeping you on edge as the stories unfold.”
The festival that is touted as the largest South Asian film festival in the United States, came to an end with the screening of Vishal Bhardwaj’s most recent cinematic outing Pataakha while the director was also present on the occasion.