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Non-fiction films from the Indian subcontinent

The University of Westminster is pleased to announce DocAsia, a three-day festival of documentary films from South Asia. Incorporating the films of Travelling Film South Asia, the event runs from Friday 29 October to Sunday 31 October.   Co-hosted by the University’s India Media Centre and its Centre for Production and Research of Documentary Film, DocAsia is a collection of urgent and vital documentaries from the Indian subcontinent, focussing on issues such as migration, development, extremism and local culture.

The festival opens with Yasmine Kabir’s The Last Rites, the winning film at Film South Asia ’09, held in Kathmandu. A beautiful, silent short, the film looks at ship breaking yards of Chittagong, Bangladesh, and the workers who breathe in toxic waste as a matter of course.
Other highlights include and Afghan Girls Can Kick, a touching tale about the Afghanistan national women’s football team, which has yet to play a home game against a visiting side; The Way of the Road, about the Nepal-Tibet highway due to open in 2012 and which is meant to reconnect a corner of the world with ancient trade routes; and The Salt Stories, the second-prize winner, which retraces Gandhi’s famous Salt March, this time in an effort to understand issues of livelihood in modern India.

Also in the programme is a bouquet of films that revolve around the theme of migration. In Search of the Riyal delves into the disillusionments and triumphs of the million Nepali migrants in the gulf; The Promised Land tells the story of Bangladesh’s persecuted Urdu-speaking minority who must live in 16 camps scattered around the country; and Shores Far Away looks at Punjabi migrants who take the often-dangerous, sometimes-fatal but occasionally-successful route to Europe of paying agents to smuggle them in.

A round-table forum on migration accompanies the films, with participant including guest filmmakers Shafiur Rahman and Savyasaachi Jain, distributor Gargi Sen, and academics Nicole Wolf, Joram Ten Brink, Rosie Thomas and others.

A drinks reception will be held after the first two films on the opening night. Please see the attached schedule for complete details.

Download the programme here