The creation of the Filmi South Asian Festival is further proof that all great things are born from a dream. Filmi was founded in 1999 and has grown to be the premiere South Asian festival in North America.
The word ‘Filmi’ is Hindi slang, referring to anything associated with the Indian motion picture industry. The festival was created to promote South Asian independent films from around the world, and to provide a forum for South Asian artists to showcase their cinematic endeavors to a culturally diverse audience.
The first South Asian Film Festival debuted on September 30, 2000, at the Harbourfront Centre in Toronto, Ontario. The Filmi launch showcase featured Bugaboo, a Silicon Valley film by Sujit Saraf, a documentary by Tony Sehgal entitled No Laughing Matter, and East is East, by Damian O’Donnell. Filmi was privileged to have guests as the likes of versatile actor Vipin Sharma, comedic actor of ‘3 Idiots’ fame Omi Vaidya.
Now in 2018, Filmi has grown exponentially – both programming, and in its number of supporters. This grassroots – intimate festival allows patrons and filmmakers to mingle with one another, talk about film and dream of future projects.
In 20 years, Filmi, with the support of many of its generous sponsors, continues to have the opportunity to showcase and premiere many Canadian films by South Asian filmmakers as well as South Asian film from around the world. Over the years, festival supporters have included Tonya Lee Williams, founder of the Reel World Film Festival, Alliance Atlantis, Where Magazine, Now Magazine, India Journal, Weekly Voice and South Asian Newsweek and the Asian Television Network.
Making a Movement
The Filmi South Asian Film Festival was created 20 years ago in response to the absence of South Asian representation in the North American Film industry.
Filmi hit the festival circuit during the summer of 1999, at the Harbourfront Centre in Toronto, earning accolades from the worldwide film community and audiences alike. Continuing with its success, Filmi is now an annual event committed to cultivating a new audience for films produced outside of India and the Bollywood system.
The vision of the Filmi South Asian Film Festival is to promote, discover and celebrate cinematic endeavours by talented South Asian filmmakers, and highlight works with South Asian themes and artists that can be brought to a mainstream audience. As such, we applaud and encourage all those who have supported the movement since its inception; there are many more great things to come.
Filmi South Asian Film Festival is currently celebrating its 20th year with a 2-day festival in Toronto with screenings at Harboufront Centre.
Dinesh Sachdev – Executive Director and Co-Founder
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