dpm is a Birmingham-based freelancer with experience of arts and lifestyle features.
Internationally-renowned films to be shown at Belgrade
The world's longest-running South Asian film festival outside India comes to the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry in May. Now in its 23rd year, the UK Asian Film Festival, produced by Tongues on Fire and presented by Phizzical, historically showcases South Asian feminist films and the work of pioneering female artists.
Based around the theme of Ray of Hope, this year's line-up highlights stories of resilience and bravery, celebrating those who take a stand against oppression and injustice. The films will be screened for socially-distanced audiences in the B2 auditorium with tickets costing £5 per show.
Screenings will open at the Belgrade with the world premiere of Toofan Mail on Thursday 27 May. Based on a true story, a woman lands at the New Delhi railway station claiming to be the Queen of Awadh. After asking to meet Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, she demands her ancestral palace and wealth be restored.
Zindagi Tamasha on Friday 28 May has been caught up in a blasphemy controversy in Pakistan where its theatrical release has been suspended. Despite this, Zindagi Tamasha went onto become Pakistan's official entry for selection for the Best International Feature category at this year's Academy Awards.
Other films to be screened at the Belgrade are Khapeand Fire of Teak, Flame of Chinar with the Coventry festival finale being the world premiere of The Beatles and India on Saturday 29 May. Focusing on the love affair between The Beatles and India with rare archival footage, photographs and eye-witness accounts, the film features exclusive footage of The Beatles performing in Coventry as a support band before they became a musical phenomenon.
UK Asian Film Festival Creative Director and Senior Producer at the Belgrade, Samir Bhamra says: "Cinema has been a ray of hope for all of us during this pandemic. Its power to entertain, provide escapism and boost our wellbeing has held us all together during this pandemic. And just as characters in films go on a journey of growth, UKAFF has expanded to Coventry this year. Working in partnership with Belgrade Theatre, we are delighted to be one of the key headline events during the UK City of Culture to celebrate the best of South Asian culture, positivity and creativity."
The UK Asian Film Festival is also at venues in London and Leicester. The festival is supported by the BFI and Arts Council England using funds from the National Lottery and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). For more information and to book tickets see www.belgrade.co.uk