Celebrating the culture of Asian Americans in the US, the Asian Pacific American Heritage Month of May has been a fixture in the country since many years. Coming ahead of this is the second edition of the Charlotte Asian Film Festival, which is again opening the cultural doors for its USA audience. From March 23 to 24, the Festival will take place at the main campus of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
Last year, having screened nine official Asian films in 8 languages, the festival became a catalyst for movies like the Nepali film White Sun and the Korean creation Right Now, Wrong Then to reach out to a global audience. The Asian-American communities of North Carolina, the Charlotte Asian Heritage Association and CreativeYatra.com have partnered together to bring this Festival to Charlotte.
It is a proud moment for Ahmedabad as Gujarati film Bhanwar has been declared as the first official entry for CAFF in its second edition. The local film narrates a story of tradition meeting modernity, through the tale of a puppeteer who wants to achieve stardom, rather than continuing his traditional legacies. Here is Director Aditi Thakor as she talks to us about herself and the film.
The central theme of the plot revolves around tradition merging with modernity. In your opinion, do you believe this is how traditional art and practices can survive?
A: The story is about a young boy who is struggling to fulfill his dream with zeal. My central theme revolves around finding oneself, while still surviving in the indigenous culture.
You have invested half-a-decade of your time in seeing this film come alive. How did you find zeal for such intense commitment? And now that the film is out, is there a sense of void?
A: There is a dialogue in my film that says – ગમતું કામ જીવનમાં પ્રાણવાયુ નું કામ કરે છે. જીવીએ તો બધા છીએ પણ ગમતું કામ આપણને જીવતા રાખે છે. The dialogues suggest the pedagogy of my life, which starts with loving my work, and progresses with the motto: ‘Do what you love, and don’t just love what you do’. The void is currently invisible as I am expecting the magnum opus work of Bhanwar to still take me to places.
We just got the news that Bhanwar is an official selection at the Charlotte Asian Film Festival. How do you think the story will resonate with non-Indian audiences?
A: The film is about the journey of a young man who is in a dilemma about what to become in life. It resonates a lot with the current condition of youngsters living in any corner of the world. My observations say that world audiences possess an immense curiosity to explore culture and heritage from other societies. I received an email from Carol, a 71-year-old film connoisseur residing in the USA who is unknown to me. The lady is a fan of the melodies of Bhanwar, about which she learnt from the internet, and is still in regular touch with me. This is why I think people will enjoy every sequence of the film while watching it.
What next? Please tell us about projects that are in the pipeline at your production house Broken Box Filmz?
With the help of my partner Yogender Kumar, the visual promotions creator and sound designer of Bhanwar, the production house is already engaged in creating corporate films and documentaries. We are planning on launching a new batch of film workshops, and a commercial Hindi and Gujarati film soon.
Just like the filmmaker we at CY too are excited to witness the reception of ‘Bhanwar’ at Charlotte Asian Film Festival. The filmmakers are planning to make the film accessible to many more cities of US. Keep watching this space for updates on Bhanwar in US.
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