26 February 2011, Saturday, 3 pm
AFGHAN GIRLS CAN KICK, Afghanistan, 50 minutes
Director: Bahareh Hosseini
An intimate fly-on-the-wall portrait of teenage girls breaking the stereotypical mould set for them by a conservative society. They become players in Afghanistan’s first ever women’s national football team. Afghan Girls Can Kick follows the team during preparations for its first competitive international matches. Concentrating on a few of the players, the film captures the journey from their youth under the harsh Taliban regime to life in today’s Afghanistan. Many members of the team speak of how football helps them envision the future in a country beset by insecurity and marked by suicide bombings.
27 February 2011, Sunday, 11.30 am
THE PROMISED LAND (Swapnabhumi), Bangladesh, 1 hour 30 minutes
Director: Tanvir Mokammel
A tale of statelessness spanning six decades and three countries, The Promised Land is about the 160,000 strong Urdu-speaking community of Bangladesh, living isolated lives in 116 camps across the country. The terms ‘Urdu-speakers‘, ‘Non-Bengalis’ and ‘Biharis’ are used interchangeably to refer to the Muslim people, who originally emigrated from India to the newly created East Pakistan in 1947 and afterwards. Many of them originated from the state of Bihar and were fleeing large-scale communal massacres. Three decades later, during the struggle for independence in Bangladesh in 1971, this community became embroiled in conflict. Branded as collaborators against Bangladesh’s independence, this moment was a defining one for the Urdu-speakers, one that has left a devastating legacy.
27 February 2011, Sunday, 1.15 pm
THE LAST RITES, Bangladesh, 17 minutes
Director: Yasmine Kabir
A silent film depicting the ship-breaking yards of Chittagong, Bangladesh, a final destination for ships too old to ply the oceans. Every year, hundreds of ships are sent to these yards. And every year, thousands of people come to these yards in search of jobs. Risking their lives to save themselves from hunger, they breathe in asbestos dust and toxic waste. The ship has to die and man has to help it die, as if man and vessel were united in common bondage. The Last Rites bears testament to the resilience of the human spirit.
5 March 2011, Saturday, 3 pm
COME TO MY COUNTRY: JOURNEYS WITH KABIR AND FRIENDS
India, 98 minutes
Director: Shabnam Virmani
A journey in search of the des or country invoked in the writings of Kabir, the 15th century mystic poet of north India, this film interweaves the stories of two people from two very different backgrounds – Indian folk singer Prahlad Tippanya and North American scholar Linda Hess. Where is Kabir’s country? The answer is elusive in the journey through song and poem into these two lives, brought together in an unlikely friendship by the cross-cultural resonance of Kabir.
6 March 2011, Sunday, 11.30 am
SAAMAM (The Music), India, 42 minutes
Director: Ramachandran K
An attempt to condense the huge body of memories about a Carnatic musical colossus, the late M D Ramanathan, Saaman (The Music) is a humble tribute to an unparallel musical genius.
6 March 2011, Sunday, 12.30 pm
THE SALT STORIES, India, 84 minutes
Director: Lalit Vachani
In 1930, a group of Indians led by a frail, elderly man marched 241 miles. They marched for salt. Mahatma Gandhi was able to craft an anti-colonial, nationalist movement around a basic issue of livelihood: the right of Indians to make and consume their own salt. Almost eight decades later, the film retraces Gandhi’s steps, following the famous Dandi salt march trail in a film that focuses on the issues of livelihood in modern, globalising India.
13 March 2011, Sunday, 11.30 am
MAYOMI , Sri Lanka, 50 minutes
Director: Carol Salter
An exploration of a young Sri Lankan woman’s unconditional love of and obligation to her family, the film is an intimate portrait of the protagonist Mayomi’s struggle to gain independence, while holding her troublesome family together in post-tsunami Sri Lanka.
Having lost her soldier husband to the Tamil Tigers and her mother and home to the 2004 tsunami, Mayomi is the only female member left in her family. She single-handedly cares for her disabled father, her alcoholic brother and his abandoned six-year old son. Still homeless, she knows that this is unlikely to change in a country crippled by an inefficient bureaucracy and corruption. As Mayomi struggles to overcome these obstacles, her optimism and courage drive her forward in this moving and tender film.
13 March 2011, Sunday, 12.35 pm
THE WAY OF THE ROAD, Nepal, 60 minutes
Directors: Ben Campbell, Cosmo Campbell
In 2012, a road through Nepal’s Rasuwa District will reconnect an ancient Himalayan trade route with global traffic. The film looks through Tamang villagers’ eyes at the cultural and economic flows through this border land, including a dramatic re-enactment of Tibetan and Nepali armies in conflict. But what do the villagers whose lives it is intended to benefit think about where the road will run?
9 April 2011, Saturday, 3 pm
IN SEARCH OF THE RIYAL, Nepal, 1 hour 28 minutes
Director: Kesang Tseten
They are Nepal’s oil—one million Nepalis that work in the Gulf, earning only USD 5-7 a day, to keep their families back home alive. The film explores the Nepali migrant world: young Nepalis from disadvantaged communities who undergo minimal skills training to prepare for the Gulf. The disillusioning, sad, but at times empowering, experience of Nepalis in Qatar, rarely captured due to the Gulf’s sensitivity to scrutiny of their labour practices. In Search of the Riyal explores the recurring lure of going abroad that often captivates the returnee, and, finally, the enormity of the journey.
10 April 2011, Sunday, 11.30 am
CHILDREN OF GOD
Nepal, 1 hour 29 minutes
Director: Yi Seung-jun
Where there is life, there is death. At the crematorium at the Pashupatinath temple in Kathmandu, there are many whose livelihoods depend on the ritual of death. Among them are the children who live off the food and money drifting in the water after being used as offerings for the funerals. Aryaghat is a holy ground for the Hindus, but for these children it is a playground, a home and also a place where they earn a living. Children of God takes an in-depth look at the children who struggle just to stay alive.