Eastern Exposure: Tasveer

Thanks to an influx of Washington's East Indian population, Seattle is becoming a hotbed of Eastern

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Thanks to an influx of Washington's East Indian population, Seattle is becoming a hotbed of Eastern arts. As Indian expats share the dance, theater, film, music and literature traditions of their native country, our city reaps the rich cultural benefits

Tasveer {Film Festival}

Tasveer may mean “picture” in Hindi, but to the enthusiastic supporters of this independent, volunteer-run organization, Tasveer means the opportunity to view alternatives to the commercial offerings of Bollywood. “Our films are not available in any other cinemas, and you cannot rent them on Netflix or anywhere else,” says video producer Rita Meher, who, with filmmaker Farah Nousheen, started Tasveer seven years ago as a way to bring experimental short films, documentaries, classic silent films and music videos about South Asia to Seattle audiences.

Meher, who grew up in India, moved to Seattle in 1997 and immediately saw a need. “When I first came here,” she says, “we didn’t have access to independent films about South Asia. I wanted these filmmakers to be able to make films. And after 9/11, we saw the need to show a Muslim woman’s point of view.”

Tasveer’s International South Asian Film Festival (ISAFF), featuring approximately 20 independent films, as well as musicians and artists, takes place October 2–4 at the Broadway Performance Hall. The affordable festival (tickets are as low as $5) includes panel discussions, film screenings and workshops exploring the social, political and personal issues endemic to South Asia, from women’s issues to religious riots to the Bhopal incident of 25 years ago.

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