ROCK DEMERS (Actor and screenwriter, companion of the Order of Canada based in Montreal)
Hello, I am writing to let you know that I really enjoyed having had the opportunity to see ALL the films presented during your ‘8th South Asian Film Festival’, which ended on November 4, 2018.The main reason for my appreciation is the overall quality of the films presented. Your selection contained many films whose subjects were most relevant to the current state of our society. Films extremely well scripted, photographed, edited and interpreted (both documentaries and fictions). The sound often contained exceptional musical threads.Without this festival it would have been impossible for me to see any of these films. We can really appreciate cinematographic art when we think of works such as PERWEEN RAHMAN or AFGHAN CYCLES or JUST A BAG OF TEA or SALAM or ASK THE SEXPERT etc.Difficulty of living, joie de vivre, taboos of contemporary society, inspiring values, artistic emotions: all themes tackled by one or the other of the selected films.Given the above, I can only hope that you will finally be granted the necessary financial support to increase the profile of your festival, starting in 2019. Especially since it is UNIQUE in our Quebec festival and cultural landscape from the point of view of the films selected.
Sincerely, Rock Demers
PS: I would also like to thank you for the thoughtfulness in subtitling in French, several of the programmed films.
SARAH K. KHAN (Filmmaker, New York)
I wanted to let you and the entire staff know what a positive impact your festival had on me this past year. My short film, “Surviving Surveillance…” was accepted into the 8th SAFF-Montreal. I had one of the best experiences at a film festival to date. The staff were all highly informed, mindful and thoughtful about programming. They created a space that encouraged dialogue, exploration, and context for each film, and served not only their audiences but also the filmmakers and their crews. I gained new colleagues, and a trusting community and network, to consult and work with into the future. SAFFM provides a valuable and needed space for diverse voices to expand.
Thank you, and I look forward to next year’s festival.
My best regards,
Sarah K. Khan
KARISHMA DEV DUBE (Filmmaker, India)
The South Asian Film Festival of Montreal will remain a special experience for me. I attended SAFFM as a first time filmmaker, still new to the film festival experience. I was amazed by the attentiveness of the festival’s staff – we felt incredibly supported and taken care of. There was a diverse array of films through span of the festival, featuring filmmakers from all stages in their career. I was especially proud to be showing my film amongst some of the most brave work to have come out of India in the past year. The sheer caliber of talented filmmakers in the line up was very encouraging for any aspiring independent filmmaker whose intention is to write for and reach a more international audience, SAFFM felt like a home we were told didn’t exist. It was a wonderful glimpse of a small but strong parallel independent Indian industry that exists today.
Not only does SAFFM have the personality of close knit niche festival, it also delivered an exciting diaspora experience. I had the opportunity to meet wonderful female filmmakers that were instigating imperative conversations in film. The passion and sincerity amongst the programming staff was palpable in every interaction we had with them. SAFFM is an imperative and necessary space that needs to exist to encourage braver work in film industries that are traditionally mainstream or rooted in escapism. The films showcased, the close-knit community and independent film spirit at SAFFM was special, we left the festival very inspired.
Karishma Dev Dube
JEAN CHÂTEAUVERT (Director of Arts Faculty, UQAC, Saguenay)
The South Asian Festival of Films of Montreal turns out every time to be an occasion for rich cultural mediation where people with curiosity, travelers, aesthetes and film buffs, share with others their pleasure of discovering different views of the world and other cultures. As a panelist who conducts sessions, I can only testify to the richness and diversity of the reflections and discussions on our society, our values nourished by these projections.
I can say, as a film specialist and professor at UQAC, that the South Asian Film Festival of Montreal and Saguenay is an exceptional cultural event for our community. Also, it is with great pleasure that I support the festival and its organizers and I hope to see next editions of the festival here in Saguenay.