‘The world is our family and we want to make sure we will be celebrating not just among our- selves but will take along all other communities,’
Dr Romesh Japra, convener and president, Federation
of Indo Americans of Northern California, said while
launching the three-day San Francisco Global Movie
The inaugural edition of the festival fest was part of
the FIA’s celebration of Indian Independence Day, along
with the fair and parade.
The opening night of the film festival, attended by
over 300 people, featured dances showcasing the cultures of the countries that had films in the festival and
the premier of the film Last Supper, featuring comedian
Eddie Griffin, and directed by Param Gill.
Forty films, mostly independent ones, were screened,
and awards were given out.
Dr Japra gifted a personal check of $100,000 for the
best director award, which went to Gill.
“The response is better than expected and I see a real
global film festival here,” Dr Japra told India Abroad.
“This is a good cause,” Mahesh Pakala, former board
member of the San Francisco Film Arts Foundation,
“Here there are many venture capitalists who are
investing in movies. Even many Indian-American doc-
tors and entrepreneurs are investing in the film indus-
try in the US as well as Bollywood.. FIA’s global fest is
for the film industry entrepreneurs, who can mix, min-
gle and find investors and work on good film projects.”
“Recently we had Million Dollar Arm, The Hundred-
Foot Journey. I think this is the right time to get Indian
Americans to get engaged and create a platform for
Hollywood and Bollywood to meet.”
India-born Gill told India Abroad, “This is the first
time I have directed a mainstream Hollywood film.”
He said his film would hit theaters at Thanksgiving.
“I have seen Bollywood musicals and I think it’s a
market I need to get involved in,” Griffin, best known
for his role on the sitcom Malcolm & Eddie, told India
Abroad. “There is one billion people watching the
movies so it’s way bigger than Hollywood. I want to act
The best feature, United States, award went to the
film Nowhere Nevada, about the state’s underground
music and drug scene.
“I learned a lot about Indian culture in the past three
days,” Brian L Sutherland, the film’s executive producer,
told India Abroad.
Actor Prashantt Gupta’s film Identity Card, about
Jammu and Kashmir, won the best feature, South Asian
“It was an overwhelming experience,” said Gupta, who
traveled from Mumbai. “I left America to become an
actor in Indian films, and for the first honor to come
from the USA is a feeling of pride. I’m particularly
impressed that the FIA has taken an initiative to start a
film festival. Surely there is scope for much expansion.
I’d love to see it become a world class Indian film festi-
val like the New York Indian Film Festival and the
Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles.”
Barkha Roy’s My Friend Husain, about the late leg-
endary painter M F Husain, won the best documentary,
South Asian panorama award.
Roy said she was a friend of the artist for 10 years.
“He was a very simple man,” Roy said. “He was an
artist and he had nothing against any religion. He went
to the temple as well as the mosque.”
A film from China, Yuchi Gong, won the critics award.
– Ritu Jha
India’s Consul General in San Francisco N
Parthasarathi told the audience. ‘Silicon
Valley we all know is known for inno-
vation and technology he (Dr Japra)
said it is not just that, I am trying to
make it a hub of culture. I saw that
proof today when 100,000 attended
In a first, a film festival was part of
‘I wish this global movie fest to
become the hub of independent films,’
the consul general said.
The day-long fair August 16 featured a a dance competition with
three categories: Sub junior, junior
“This year over 90 dance groups and
over 600 artists participated,” said
Vijaya Asuri, chair, culture, FIA.
The themes were Bollywood, classical and folk.
“I wanted my children to be exposed
to Indian culture and some Indian
food,” Aneema Van Groenou, a first
time visitor to the fair, told India
Abroad. She learned of the event
through a colleague.
“The festival is fun,” said her daughter
Gisele, 9, showing off her mehendi.
“One thing they can do better is they can
do more recycling,” said Gisele’s father
Sergio Knaebel. who said he saw a lot of
bottles strewn around. “There’s a lot of
garbage created, but not enough recycling.”
Baladithya Balamurugan, 14, wore a
white kurta to the parade, which he attend-
ed with his parents. “It’s fun to watch the
floats,” Baladithya said. “I think they should
have a flyer about the different floats.”
His father Balamurugan Shan-
mugam said, “I think people should
come and have a glimpse to show they
belong to this country. (Pointing to
his son) They are born here, and they
will learn about India.”
Ro Khanna, Congressional candi-
date from District 17, said he has been
coming to the parade for almost 10
“I want to take all the passion of the
people who come out to these
parade,” Khanna, who is challenging
veteran US Congressman Mike
Honda in November, told India
Abroad. “They need to engage civical-
ly not just in the parade but becoming
an active citizen in voting, in running
for office and caring about the com-
munity. Ultimately, that is what inde-
The float representing India’s
newest state Telangana was adjudged
the best among the 26, followed by
Dr Japra told India Abroad that his goal
is “to get 1 million people by 2020.”
The San Francisco Global Movie Fest kicks off
3Page A36 Unprecedented crowds
celebrate India in Fremont
Participants at the event
Snapshot from the event