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Shekar Mani and Anurag Sharma discuss the value of SAFFA for the Australian-South Asian community!

The South Asian Film Festival of Australia (SAFFA) is gearing up for its debut event, which promises to be a celebration of the rich and diverse world of South Asian cinema. Set to take place at the Holiday Inn in Paramatta, Sydney, Australia, on March 17th, 2023, SAFFA will feature film screenings from a range of countries, including Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, and the Maldives. With a focus on showcasing features, documentaries, and shorts from South Asian filmmakers, SAFFA aims to bring attention to stories that are not commonly seen in mainstream cinema, told by and about South Asians themselves.

To learn more about this exciting event, we sat down with Mr Shekar Mani, Managing Partner of Saravanaa Bhavan Australasia and Great Southern Ark Productions India Australia, and Mr Anurag Sharma, General Manager of Holiday Inn Hotel in Parramatta, to discuss their thoughts on SAFFA and the significance of the festival for the Australian-South Asian community.

Are you looking forward to the South Asian Film festival of Australia in Sydney? Why?

Anurag Sharma: I am excited to be part of the South Asian Film Festival of Australia happening in my city, Sydney. It is high time that we put Sydney on the Map of the South Asian Film Festivals when we have the world-class infrastructure and beautiful harbour and a long list of tourist destinations.

Shekar Mani: I am keen to assist in any effort to promote South Asian films across the globe especially here since there isn't significant awareness of our films and the back stories. Unless, there's a concerted effort by the arts and cultural community, sustainability will be challenging and the film going audiences robbed of the viewing of great films.

Why do you think South Asian film events like this should be supported?

Anurag Sharma: It takes a lot to organise an event like SAFFA. I encourage all the film lovers and businesses in Sydney to come forward and support this fantastic festival.

Shekar Mani: Exactly for the same reasons as I outlined above and being a film producer myself it is imperative we join the chorus.

Do you think there is a growing creative community of South Asians in Australia, and should they be promoted by the wider Australian community?

Anurag Sharma: As international cinema is growing, it is the perfect time for Australians to support the creative community of South Asians in Australia.

Shekar Mani: I believe there's already a well established creative community making excellent plays, musicals and even movies. Yet, the potential is far greater than what it is now , so its time to pull out all the stops.

What kind of films do you like, would you suggest any kind of short, feature, experimental films that you would want to be included in the future SAFFA edition?

Anurag Sharma: I like content-driven films with strong stories delivered by fine actors. You guys have done a good job this year with the films included in SAFFA.

Shekar Mani: I love most genres and would support any film maker who has worked hard with excellent creative intellect. Short cuts and superficiality will kill audience interest.

Any last words?

Anurag Sharma: All the best to Team SAFFA for your upcoming festival, and I extend my full support for your future events.

Shekar Mani: James Lingwood and I have been working on some compelling content based on topical matters and romcom. One of our short films has won plaudits and best film awards globally and we are currently working on a full length feature film with a inenviable star cast.

Lastly Saravanaa Bhavan is not just a restaurant chain serving south Indian cuisine but we also have a responsibility to support our communities through sponsorship of arts, culture and epicurean matters.

Many thanks Anurag & Shekar for sharing your thoughts with!


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