UK Asian Film Festival 2022 returns with ‘Dare to Dream’ theme 

UK Asian Film Festival has unveiled the full programme for its 24th edition. Presented by Tongues on Firethe festival will run from 4th – 15th May at venues across London, Birmingham, Leicester, Coventry, Warwick, Bradford, Stockton and Glasgow; and online via BFI Player. Expect a bounty of film screenings, premieres, live events and industry panel discussions!

The ‘Dare To Dream’ theme of this year’s festival commemorates 75 years of India and Pakistan’s Independence and the programme will acknowledge personal and societal freedoms and address topical issues such as climate change and human resilience in the face of oppression. Expect a bounty of film screenings, premieres, live events and industry panel discussions!

The Opening Film will be the World Premiere of Javed Iqbal: The Untold Story Of A Serial Killer (Pakistan, 2022, Dir: Abu Aleeha) on Wednesday 4th May, 6pm at BFI Southbank. Currently banned in Pakistan, the film depicts the untold story of Lahore’s notorious serial killer, Javed Iqbal, who confessed to police and media that he had abducted, sexually abused and murdered more than 100 boys in Lahore between 1998 and 1999. He was arrested and sentenced to death. But just two years into his sentence, he allegedly committed suicide in his prison cell.

Tragically, the issue of child sexual abuse is still a taboo subject in Pakistan, more so when men and young boys are involved. Actors, Yasir Hussain and Ayesha Omar, will introduce the film. 

In keeping with the festival’s historically feminist focus, the Closing Film will be the UK Premiere of Gangnam Girls (Bhutan, 2021, Dir: Charmi Nemchand Chheda) on Sunday 15th May, 11.30am at BFI Southbank. The film charts four, childhood friends who, though extremely different, grow up supporting each other’s dreams. A decade after a fallout that takes them on their separate ways, the childhood friends reconnect over the course of a weekend. Reunited, the group must now confront their past differences. The film will be introduced by  director, Charmi Nemchand Chheda, and producer, Nyema Zam. The screening will be followed by the Tongues On Fire Flame Awards presentation. 

Highlighting the festival theme of 75 years of India and Pakistan’s independence, a Special Screening of documentary Kekee Manzil (India, 2021, Dir: Dilesh Korya, Language: English) on Sunday 8th May, 7pm at Regent Street Cinema captures the extraordinary efforts of artists working in post-Partition India, narrated through the personal experiences of a Parsi family. The screening will be followed by Q&A with director and crew. 

The festival’s LGBTQ+ strand celebrates freedom of personal expression and sexual identity through a ground-breaking and inspiring curation of features, documentaries and shorts. To Be Or Not To Be Out (UK, 2021, Dir: Usha Sharma) on Friday 6th May, 6pm at Rich Mix, London is an informative documentary that uncovers how LGBTQ+ South Asians struggle to live authentic lives. The screening will be followed by Q&A with the director. 

The English Premiere of Emergence Out Of The Shadows (Canada, 2021, Dir: Vinay Giridhar, Language: English) on Friday 6th May, 6pm at Rich Mix London introduces audiences to Vancouver’s queer South Asian community as they share their experiences of living within conservative family structures. The screening will be followed by Q&A with the director. 

Watermans, London will host two, pioneering shorts by a new generation of queer, South Asian filmmakers on Friday 13th May, 6.30pm. The World Premiere of Temple (UK, 2021, Dir: Nick Virk, Language: English) charts two, queer South Asian friends as they find sanctuary from the prejudice of white, heteronormative society. 

As part of the festival’s climate change awareness strand this year, the Young Tongues environment programme on Saturday 7th May at Rich Mix, London will highlight key, environmental issues to students and younger audiences. Screenings will include the poignant short, Priya And The Twirling Wand (USA, 2022, Dir: Ram Devineni) at 1pm. It chronicles India’s first, female superhero as she returns to fight climate change. 

The puppet-animated short will be followed by an augmented reality exhibition and puppet workshop. Invisible Demons (India, 2021, Dir: Rahul Jain), at 5.30pm documents the plight of Delhi’s inhabitants fighting to survive the dangers of climate change.

UK Asian Film Festival Founder and Director, Dr Pushpinder Chowdhry MBE says, 

“We are thrilled to reveal an incredibly strong line up of shorts, documentaries and feature films for the festival this year. Audiences across the nation will be able to enjoy our eclectic collection of global, South Asian content on the big screen and digitally. The festival also makes space for important and intriguing discussion through a host of talks and workshops. Our 2022 theme, ‘Dare to Dream’, is about how we deal with typically taboo issues and redefine freedom. We are excited to offer a space for our community to experience culturally relevant art, particularly to our young audiences with whom we will be hosting an event focusing on the implications of climate change. We cannot wait for you to join us, so we can be inspired to dream together.”

For full programme details visit: 

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