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Seven South Asian festivals in North America unite for single large event

The South Asian film festival community in North America is joining hands to organize a 15-day virtual event in October.

Our Correspondent

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic raging in the United States and some other parts of the world, an unprecedented effort is being made by the South Asian film festival community in North America to unitedly host a first-of-its-kind virtual festival, the Coalition of South Asian Film Festivals (CoSAFF).

The festival featuring online screenings of the latest films and virtual Q&As with their creators is slated to be held from 3–17 October 2020 and will include unique virtual events focused on key industry topics as well as panel discussions on the intersection of current news topics and the South Asian arts community.

CoSAFF is being produced by Tasveer, a South Asian social justice arts non-profit organization based in Seattle, Washington state, and is bringing together the following festivals as CoSAFF’s constituent members:

1. Tasveer South Asian Film Festival (TSAFF), Seattle, Washington state, USA
2. Chicago South Asian Film Festival (CSAFF), Chicago, Illinois state, USA
3. DC South Asian Film Festival (DCSAFF), Washington DC, USA
4. Mosaic International South Asian Film Festival (MISAFF), Mississauga/Toronto, Ontario, Canada
5. Nepal America International Film Festival (NAIFF), Maryland, USA
6. South Asian Film Festival of Montreal (SAFFM), Montreal, Quebec, Canada
7. Vancouver International South Asian Film Festival (VISAFF), Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

In light of the upheaval caused in the film industry by the pandemic, resulting in loss of revenue and uncertainty for arts organizations and filmmakers, CoSAFF is curating cutting-edge, critically acclaimed films and making them accessible to the public free.

In a joint statement, the coalition said: 'We’re excited and honoured to be coming together during this very challenging time in a show of unity and in pursuit of the creation of something meaningful for all our communities to engage with. Now is the time to collaborate rather than compete, and to work together to support our film professionals.

'CoSAFF's efforts will provide filmmakers an opportunity to showcase their hard work to the widest possible audience in a respectful and secure manner. And, in turn, for all our audiences to have a shared experience watching these films without the burden of having to pay for them.

'Filmmaking and storytelling are not just crafts but also a crucial way for us to share emotions and experiences with each other, especially during difficult times. We’re planning a rich and diverse programming line-up which will represent the very best filmmaking voices of South Asians from around the globe. We can’t wait to bring CoSAFF to the audiences of North America and the world.'

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