The UK and Europe’s largest South Asian film festival rocks up for its ninth year with an entertaining and thought provoking line-up of independent films that offer a rare window into a billion South Asian lives in the sub-continent right now. 

This year’s highlights include a sparkling opening night in Leicester Square with the red carpet world premiere of Love Sonia – a compelling story of two teenagers’ fight for freedom starring Freida Pinto, Demi Moore, Rajkummar Rao and Richa Chadda amongst others. Meanwhile, busting all stereotypes our Closing Night Gala is must-see Canadian family comedy Venus.

Our themed strands kick off with Female Eye, premiering the work of six women directors. We have the UK Premiere of British filmmaker Sangeeta Datta’s gorgeous film Bird of Dusk, director Rima Das gives a Q&A with her uplifting mother daughter hit Village Rockstars. The innovative style of debut filmmaker Dar Gai’s Teen Aur Aadha breaks new ground and don’t miss the powerful Pakistani/ Norwegian drama What Will People Say by Iram Haq.

Another strong festival theme is Fathers & Sons, premiering dramas exploring masculinity and the enduring complexity of father and son relationships, including In The Shadows, a dark secret story, helmed by virtuoso actor Manoj Bajpayee, meanwhile raucous British comedy Eaten By Lions has an Asian lad searching for his dad.

True to the festival’s mission to screen films about real people’s journeys, dive into our Extra-Ordinary Lives strand with amazing documentaries, dramas and shorts, from across India’s far-flung regions. From Eastern India we showcase Nagaland music documentary Up Down & Sideways, from the South is Tamil drama My Son is Gay, North to Punjab we present road movie Mehsampur and from Bangladesh is Doob (No Bed of Roses) starring Irrfan Khan.

We are delighted to welcome back our many regular partners including Title Sponsor the Bagri Foundation, who share our passion for Asian arts and culture. We’d also like to thank our major supporters Sun Mark Ltd and BFI Audience Fund for their ongoing support and many more friends and supporters.

For the latest updates and additions to the programme do keep an eye on this festival website and book your tickets as soon as possible to guarantee you get the film you want. See you at the festival!

Cary Rajinder Sawhney
Executive & Programming Director