Memories Through Cinema Heritage Project

Memories Through Cinema Heritage Project

Call for Volunteers

What is your first memory of Asian cinema? Who were the childhood pin ups and heart throbs for your parents or friends’ parents? Have you heard stories from grandparents about their escapades and connection to film?

We’re excited to announce a heritage project Memories Through Cinema, looking at identity through the generations of the British Asian diaspora and how cinema and the culture of media has shaped it. We want interviews to collate oral histories of people’s memories of cinema and will produce a documentary and an exhibition to showcase the stories we uncover and we are looking for volunteers to join the team to work on it.

If you are interested in learning about the cultural past of British Asians, or want to gain an understanding of how to create an archive of oral histories, or curate for an exhibition and produce a documentary, then sign up to join the heritage team.

This project will run for seven months, with a screening event and exhibition at the UK Asian Film Festival next year in March. You will need to be available for team meetings, training sessions, and to complete work assignments, on a part time basis and travel expenses will be reimbursed. We have places for a team of 15 volunteers and offer a comprehensive training programme, support, experience of curating and producing a digital archive and networking opportunities within the film and heritage industry.

If you can commit your time, energy and brains to this exciting project and you want to gain some key skills and be part of documenting a piece of history, then please fill out this application form and email your CV to TOFEVENTS@tonguesonfire.com.

Deadlines for applications are 30 June 2017.

 

Embracing future talent and celebrating legends

Embracing future talent and celebrating legends

Returning to BAFTA 195 for a touch of glamour, the London Asian Film Festival (LAFF) ended its 19th edition with its annual awards, dinner and a special tribute to the respected, late Om Puri.London Asian Film Festival - Eternal Memories (91 of 157) Renowned British-Asian director, Gurinder Chadha reminded audiences of Puri’s legacy in film, with exclusive anecdotes of her personal experiences of working with the actor.

 

 

The festival gave a respectful salute to Pakistani-born IMG_1358British actor, Art Malik, who gave a hearty speech after being awarded with the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ for his contribution to the arts.

Alankrita Shrivastava’s, controversial feature film, Lipstick Under My Burkha won two awards including ‘Best Film’ after a well-deserved sell-out screening, complimented by attendance from actor Ratna Pathak Shah. ‘Best Director’ was awarded to Rahat Kazmi for Mantostaan, with Pakistani film Rahm hailing the ‘Best Adaptation’ award.

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With two record-breaking sell-out screenings, Caribbean title, Bazodee took away ‘Best Music’ and the ‘Audience Choice Award’ after creating a storm with its Soca music and carnival vibe.

 

 

Pushing boundaries and getting people talking about hot topics is always Tongues on Fire’s aim, and tongues have certainly been wagging in another successful year, not only in London, but in two other vibrant cities. Earlier this year, TOF announced its UK wide expansion and has proudly witnessed a successful first edition of the Leicester Asian Film Festival (LeAFF) with sell-out screenings and second edition at Edinburgh Asian Film festival (EAFF). Launching nationally as a UK Asian Film Festival is reflective of the festival’s passion and commitment to deliver important messages and unique storytelling to new audiences across the country, who have an appetite for these “made to be seen” films.

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With an array of entertaining film screenings, a dose of noteworthy film talent, in-depth discussions, the annual Short Film Competition and prestigious annual awards ceremony, LAFF explored a very important theme this year ‘Memories Beyond Borders’. The festival was home to Utopia, the first Afghani film to be presented at LAFF, a visit from distinguished actor Shabana Azmi, and a unique mushaira event, which swept audiences off to a magical realm of ghazals, music and Urdu poetry. Deepa Mehta’s Anatomy of Violence and Rahat Kazmi’s Mantostaan provoked deep audience engagement and LAFF’s first-time children’s event ‘Colour Club’, was a winner with young audiences.

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Closing Night hosted acclaimed Pakistani director Sabiha Sumar,IMG_1345 who spoke about her upcoming documentary, Azmaish: Trials of Life. Tongues on Fire are also proud to announce Sabiha Sumar as a new patron of the festival, making her an advocate and supporter, alongside the likes of Abhishek Bachchan and Meera Syal.

 

Festival director, Dr Pushpinder Chowdhry claims she is delighted with this year’s turnout in all three cities. “It feels fantastic to expand our festival into other cities this year, with an exceptional line up of films and film makers who honoured us by coming to share their journeys with all our audiences.”

TOF operations director Saba Syed “The festival just keeps getting better every year and female voices and story tellers are being heard. This year, we at Tongues on Fire are very proud to play a part in celebrating shared heritage without borders, joining the global movement defying current populist sentiment which is sweeping the sub-continent, Europe and the USA.”

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For full list of winners, interviews or images please call FNIK PR on 07831 556 952 or email: fnik@btconnect.com.

IS THERE SUCH A THING AS UTOPIA?

IS THERE SUCH A THING AS UTOPIA?

In 2015, Director Hassan Nazer and writer Amir Aghee gave birth to a sophisticated, well-written tale that I can describe best as haunting; or as Der Spiegel puts it, “An elegant and thrilling journey between two very different worlds”. Afghan drama film Utopia is a tragic tale of a woman whose pursuit for happiness is infected from start to end, and leaves the question of whether Utopia exists or not, open to the audience.

Utopia -Martine Malalai Zikria (3)The films portrayal of social realism during a fragile period, post-war in Afghanistan, is one of praise, bringing the experience of tragedy and heartache to the forefront. Utopia deals with the nature of migration: what is means to be an immigrant and how it feels, which the film’s protagonist, Janan, embodies. Director Nazer aimed to express just how courageous it is to be an immigrant and the difficulties that may come with that, which are issues that remain widely relatable till today. On the back of this, the film also tackling different cultural, religious and moral complications around the issue of artificial insemination and human liberty, making it a must-see during such a progressive day and age.

The narrative of Utopia is made up of three intersecting stories of loneliness and isolation Utopia -Hannah Spearritt (3)that seamlessly weave together the very different lives of characters based in Afghanistan, India and Scotland. You will be thrown into states of both hope and hopelessness, feeling compelled to route for the protagonist, Janan’s, happiness; a woman from Afghanistan who travels to the UK for artificial insemination. After William, a medical sciences student working at a clinic that Janan is registered at, switches the donor’s semen for his own, Janan’s courageous decision to bear a child takes a complicated turn. What she is left with is the painful truth of what William has done and the added pain of finding out that the unintended father of her child comes from a family with a long standing connection to the forces that have served in wars in her homeland. What will happen following these revelations is dark and heart-rending, and given the film’s title, shocking, but definitely worth the watch!

Utopia- Arun Bali (1)Throughout the film, we beg for Janan’s bliss but instead, we are left as empty and hurt as she is, and this is the power of cinema. Utopia’s ability to stir its audience proves just how compelling the combined works of Nazer and Aghee are in creating a milestone tale. But with all the suffering and unfortunate events that the character’s face in mind, all the unhappy ever afters we witness in the film, where everything seems to be going downhill and where silver linings do not exist, the question still stands: Is there such a thing as Utopia?

Gaining high praise, Utopia won Best Film and Best Director at the Triangle Film Festival, Utopia (2)the Golden Camera award at the Nashik film festival and the Best Feature Film at the Toronto film and video awards. The success of the film alone speaks volumes so make sure you bring along friends and family to Regents Street Cinema on March 11th 2017, 5:00pm -7:00pm to witness a powerful, thought-provoking story unravel before your very own eyes! Book by clicking here.

RimBy LAFF2017 Blogger Rim Karama ~

Rim Karama is a 3rd year English and Film Studies student from Queen Mary University, published author, poet and film enthusiast.

 

Book Here

Utopia Final Poster

A Death in the Gunj – Family, relationships, conflicts and murder

A Death in the Gunj – Family, relationships, conflicts and murder

Family, relationships, conflicts and a murder. Actor turned director Konkana Sen Sharma’s feature debut A Death in the Gunj weaves all of these factors together to construct a thriller to keep you guessing till the very end. Set in the late 1970’s

A Death in the Gunj takes the viewer away from the routine big-city life to a colonial Anglo-Indian settlement, McCluskieganj in the state of Jharkhand, India. An extended family with cousins, aunts and uncles is on vacation. They chatter, eat, drink, play games, invite spirits and sing songs.

At the centre of this tale is Shutu (Vikrant Massey), a quiet young boy who has just failed in his semester exams and takes this vacation as an escape trip. Struggling to come to terms with his father’s death, Shutu is unable to meet the expectations of his family and society. Shy and vulnerable Shutu is a mirror holder to the insensitivity and inability of the majority to understand those who do not confirm to walk the trodden path.

Sharma brings together and extract intricately fine performance from her ensemble cast including Om Puri, Tanuja Mukherjee, Vikrant Massey, Kalki Koechlin, Ranvir Shorey, Tillotama Shome, Jim Sarbh and Gulshan Devaiya.

There is an engaging drama of marital tensions, affairs and arguments. But there is much more to come, an unexplained dead body, a missing child and an unexpected implosion of violence. The retro ambience invites you to immerse in the experience of family fun, fear, frustrations, love, hate and death. See you at the screening on 17 March at Watermans Cinema. Click here for more details. Don’t forget LAFF 2017 and director Gurinder Chadha will be paying tribute to Om Puri at the Closing Gala, don’t miss out book your tickets here!

 

By LAFF2017 Blogger Sagar Chhatwani

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After working at The Times of India & The Hindustan Times, Sagar quit the corporate life to pursue his interest in cinema. He is currently studying an MA in films at Westminster University.

 

Spoiled by Power: A Cultural Twist on Shakespeare’s ‘Measure for Measure’

Spoiled by Power: A Cultural Twist on Shakespeare’s ‘Measure for Measure’

“Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall” – Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure.

DirectStillsed by Ahmed A. Jamal and written and produced by Mahmood Jamal, Rahm (Mercy) is a Pakistani drama-thriller film that (I’ll admit, I didn’t expect!) has Shakespeare written all over it: identities are swapped, lies and deceit are manifest, power becomes the source of disorder and corruption, new truths are revealed and, like many of Shakespeare’s endings, order is neatly restored. It’s no surprise then that Rahm is an adaption of the playwrights Measure for Measure, which, for anyone who’s familiar with the play, or any of Shakespeare’s works in fact, is going to be a incredible tale filled with all the ingredients that make Shakespeare’s plays so captivating and relevant till today.

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Rahm’s film plot revolves around a Governor (Sajid Hasan) who goes into hiding after appointing a puritanical and corrupt deputy, Qazi Ahad (Sunil Shanker) in his place. Following this event, a virtuous woman, Sameena (Sanam Saeed) discovers that her brother is to be executed for fornication under the deputy’s demand. The ultimate tragedy is that she has to choose between maintaining her honour or saving her brother’s life by succumbing to Qazi’s immoral desires.

Credit must be given to Ahmed A. Jamal and Mahmood Jamal for staying true to the origins of the play by following the Measure for Measure plot. The characters in both face parallel trials following the enforcement of tyrannical laws by a deceptive ruler and the themes of justice, morality and religion are tackled throughout. The change in Rahm’s social and culturaStills6l setting gives the tale a particularly unique flair that makes it freshly original despite its Shakespearean template. Parallels between the Pakistani, Islamic society in the city of Lahore and Elizabethan England adds that extra bit of depth to the concept of the film that viewers are bound to appreciate. Mahmood Jamal states that when Shakespeare wrote Measure for Measure, the historical situation in England was similar to that of the contemporary Muslim world, making the transition from Shakespeare’s England to Muslim Lahore almost seamless which I can’t deny.

Rahm is a plea for Stills7tolerance from Muslims who are struggling to defend themselves against the injustice of extreme Islamists, which makes this film particularly relevant in today’s world. Maintaining faith in God’s plan and not bargaining this for anything is vital in Rahm, no matter the consequence; and who better to demonstrate this level of high virtue and morality than the strong-willed heroine Sameena who is not only a strong Pakistani woman (which is already a great start) but also an example of strong, religious woman who does not succumb to desire and sin thrusted upon her despite Qazi’s demand.Stills15

Rahm is a highly-praised film with so much to offer that it just can’t be missed! So come and witness this captivating, drama-filled adaption of Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure with a clever, south Asian cultural twist, at Regent Street Cinema on Tuesday 14th March 2017, 7:00 PM – 9:30 PM. You definitely won’t regret it!


By LAFF2017 Blogger Rim Karama ~

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Rim Karama is a 3rd year English and Film Studies student from Queen Mary University, published author, poet and film enthusiast.