The Mustard Seed Film Festival Is Bringing South Asia Back To Philly

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It’s happening this Friday and Saturday.

The South Asian population in Philadelphia has grown over 200% in the last decade, but looking at the art scene there you might not think it.

For Natasha Cohen-Carroll and Hariprasad Kowtha, Philly inhabitants, this felt wrong. So they launched their own film festival to combat the lack.

“We’ve noticed a lack of South Asian films (especially socially engaged ones) that are shown in Philadelphia and its surrounding neighborhoods in spite of strong South Asian communities,” Cohen-Carroll said over email.

They moved fast, and in the space of a few weeks they already booked three films. Then more followed. And more.

Their lineup now includes ten films ranging from documentaries to fictional shorts to feature length movies. Their stories and crew come from all over Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Kashmir, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Trinidad and Tobago, and the United States.

The films explore themes of identity and home specific to the South Asian experience, both of the subcontinent and diaspora, according to Cohen-Carroll.

Some of the films that will be shown at the Mustard Seed Film Festival this weekend

“By bringing this festival to Philadelphia, we hope to increase access to South Asian films, but also highlight alternative visions of South Asia and South Asian cinema, bring together communities of various origins and identities, and promote cross-­cultural dialogue and exchange,” Cohen-Carroll said.

In addition to films, the festival also include panel discussions, food, music, and dance performances.

The Mustard Seed Film Festival is happening this Friday and Saturday in Philadelphia. You can find more information on their site.

Kajal will be there vlogging throughout the two days, so if you see us come say hi!

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Nadya Agrawal is the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Kajal Magazine. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram, and wherever fine Bollywood movies are bootlegged.

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