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Film ->Sandhya Suri wins Asian Short Film Competition with 'Safar'

(29 October 2002)

Sandhya Suri wins the BFI's Asian Short Film Competition 2002.27 year old Sandhya Suri has won the ImagineAsia Short Film Competition, organised by the Nehru Centre as part of the British Film Institute’s year-long festival, with a short film entitled 'Safar' (The Journey). The results were announced at a special ceremony held in London. The competition was open to young Asians aged 15 – 30 years and entrants were required to make a film about their experiences of living in Britain.

In a unanimous decision, the jury awarded Safar (The Journey), produced and directed by Sandhya Suri the award for Best British Asian Short Film and a prize of £600. Second prize of £400 was awarded to Black Nor White, directed by Anjali Suri, and Special Commendation was awarded to Cross My Heart, directed by Avia Luthra.

The awards were presented by legendary film director and Patron of ImagineAsia, Shyam Benegal, and the cash prizes were kindly donated by sponsor The Bank of Baroda. Safar is the compelling tale about Suri’s father’s dream to resettle in his native India after almost 40 years of living in England, and how in old age, he came to lose his home. The story is told primarily through old Super 8 homemovies sent between India and England over those years.

Sandhya Suri and film director Shyam BenegalWinner, Sandhya Suri on why she made the film said, “I felt it was a great story and it needed to be told. It was a tragic story. I love tragedies. The real reason I made the film was to tell the story about the first generation of Indians in Britain.” Film director and ImagineAsia Patron, Shyam Benegal said, “It was a moving experience, two things that came to me immediately were immigration and the father-daughter relation. The tapes she used were real history. Superb!”

The director/producer, Sandhya Suri is a graduate of the National Film and Television School in England, and Safar is her graduation film. Sandhya Suri was both director and producer, editor was Cinzia Baldessari, cinematographer was Sandhya Suri and Per Tingleff and sound recordist and mixer was Antonia Bates. The films entered in The ImagineAsia Short Film Competition were required to cover any aspect of the experience of Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan or Nepali communities in the U.K and could be up to 30 minutes in duration.

The British Film Institute (bfi) joined forces with more than fifty film and arts organisations for ImagineAsia, a nationwide festival of South Asian film that took place throughout most of 2002. The festival included film screenings, exhibitions and special events. It offered audiences a taste of cinema from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka as well as films by British Asians.

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