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UK Asian Film Festival returns to Leicester

The UK Asian Film Festival Leicester gets underway today (Thursday 15 March), with a series of screenings and Q&A sessions taking place in the city until 31 March.

De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) is a partner for the festival, which is produced by Tongues on Fire and Phizzical, and Dr Monia Acciari, lecturer in Film and Television at DMU, is Associate Director.

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Following a successful first year in 2017, the festival will return to Leicester to showcase the best of South Asian cinema.

The first event of the festival will take place at the Phoenix Cineama today (Thursday 15 March) and will feature Mahira Khan, Pakistan’s biggest celebrity actress, in conversation with BBC Asian Network presenter Noreen Khan to share her experience as an Asian woman working in the film industry. There will then be more than a dozen events held at the Phoenix Cinema, De Montfort University and the Sue Townsend Theatre.

The festival came about as a result of a collaboration with the longstanding UK Asian Film Festival London, which is Europe’s biggest celebration of South Asian film, and Dr Acciari believes that the festival in Leicester will build on the success of the first event last year.

“It’s a great collaboration,” she said. “It has grown from last year and this year there are more screenings over a longer period.

“In this part of the world when people think of South Asian cinema they only tend to think about Bollywood, which is obviously very important, but there is much more that we also need to look at.

“There are new independent productions that are incredibly important and they look into issues that most of the time Bollywood does not, so they deserve to be seen as well.”

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To mark 100 years of women gaining the right to vote in the UK, the theme of the 2018 UK Asian Festival is ‘F-Rated’, focusing on a female perspective and championing the important role of women in film.

Dr Acciari explained: “It’s not just about how women are represented in film but also about women working in cinema outside the screen. We have some films made by female film-makers and some films that deal with women as the core of the film.

“The festival brings together the diverse voices of women in South Asia and celebrates the centenary of women in the UK gaining the right to vote.”

Dr Acciari has worked closely with Sâmir Bhamra, CEO of overarching festival organisers Phizzical Productions, to select the films that will be featured and build a narrative that links all of the films together.

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The festival will also be supported by 11 Film Studies students from DMU, who will help to deliver two weeks’ worth of events across Leicester. Dr Acciari believes the students will benefit greatly from the experience.

She said: “It’s very exciting, this is an important opportunity for them to really get a sense of how this world works. It’s a great chance for them to engage with professionals. Their work experience within the festival is very important to me.”

For more information about the UK Asian Film Festival click here.

Posted on Thursday 15th March 2018

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