Seattle Area’s Tasveer South Asian Film Festival Gains Oscar-Qualifying Status

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Leaders of the Tasveer South Asian Film Festival are celebrating their newly announced status as an Oscar-qualifying festival. 

Rita Meher, co-founder of the Seattle-area event, received official word from the Motion Picture Academy on Wednesday that Tasveer “has been approved as an Academy-qualifying festival on the Short Films Qualifying Festival List.”

Per the Academy’s letter to Meher, “Short films that receive your Best Short Film award may now be eligible to enter the Short Films competition for the concurrent season, provided that the films meet all the requirements set forth in our official rules for that season which can be found at www.oscars.org/rules.”

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According to a release from Tasveer, it’s the first time a South Asian film festival has earned the Oscar-qualifying distinction.

“We are ecstatic to announce this incredible milestone,” said Meher, the festival’s executive director and fo-founder. “We have always believed in the power of South Asian stories and this achievement means that these stories will now be recognized on one of the world’s most respected cinematic stages. This is a monumental step forward for South Asian cinema.” 

The festival attributed “this momentous achievement to the relentless efforts and hard work of Rita Meher, including Ariel Brownstein, whose contributions have played an integral part in this journey. TSAFF also wishes to express profound gratitude to Richa Rudola, Fawzia Mirza, and Srihari Sathe, for their support in this process.”

Meher noted, “This is a testament to the collective efforts of a community that believes in the power of South Asian narratives. We thank everyone who has been part of this journey. It is your belief in us, our mission, and the stories we tell that has led us to this unprecedented moment.”

The 18th Tasveer South Asian Film Festival is set for October 11-22, 2023. It’s a hybrid event that combines in-person screenings in Bellevue and Seattle with an online program. Submissions remain open for the festival. 

For the first time, Tasveer will hold a Film Forum, taking place on October 11 and 12. “This momentous gathering will build a focused environment for emerging filmmakers and film executives to forge unique networking opportunities and creative relationships. It will be a one-of-a-kind convergence of diasporic filmmakers, producers, industry executives, distributors, creatives, and film professionals from all over the world.”

The Film Forum is intended to “challenge the glaring disparities in Asian representation, which according to the Hollywood Diversity Report of 2022, is under 4 percent. With numerous panels, industry-mixers, networking events, and multiple-pitch sessions this summit is set to bring forth reformation, knowledge and momentum in the film industry.”

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