The London Asian Film Festival by Tongues on Fire is a festival dedicated to expressing the drive and spirit of independent cinema from South Asia. The festival provides a unique platform for Asians working in film and media around the world. Our screenings and events include feature films, documentaries, short films, panel discussions, and educational and community screenings.
Founding directors Dr Pushpinder Chowdhry and Mrs Harvinder Nath conceived the festival in 1999. The films featured are usually independent or arthouse cinema, as opposed to more popular Bollywood films. Both Pushpinder and Harvinder recognised the impact of films that that tackle challenging issues on society, as entertainment is intertwined with important political and social messages.
Over the years, Tongues on Fire has brought the work of acclaimed talents in cinema including award-winning filmmakers. Some of our special guests include Mira Nair (Monsoon Wedding, The Namesake), Gurinder Chadha (Bend It Like Beckham), Aparna Sen (15 park Avenue) and Meera Syal (Anita and Me), actors Shabana Azmi, Nandita Das, Madhur Jaffrey, Kiron Kher and Bollywood legend Helen.
Highlights of previous festivals:
The 2011 Festival opened with a Opening Gala at BFI, Southbank, which was a star-studded occasion with the likes of Sanjay Suri and Onir attending with the screening of the Opening Night film, ‘I Am’.
The 13th London Asian Film Festival featured many interesting and enthralling films such as ‘When Harry Tries to Marry’, ‘Peepli Live’ and ‘Ashes’. These films were well recieved by our audience and were well attended. We also had the pleasure of having the famous award winning costume designer Bhanu Athaiya, whose credits include dressing the cast of Gandhi and Lagaan. She carried out a Costume Design Masterclass at BAFTA for us last year which was a huge success and was enjoyed by all who attended.We also had an acting masterclass carried out by the interesting and talented actor/producer Sanjay Suri which was an amazing event.
The Closing Night Awards Ceremony and Dinner was an extravagent black-tie event held at BAFTA with the best of the festival’s line up being featured for awards and talent such as Juhi Chawla, Rahul Rai, Gurinder Chadha, Ajay Naidu and Heather Burns .
Abhishek Bachchan opened the 12th London Asian Film Festival with a ‘BAFTA Interview’ and he announced he was becoming Tongues on Fire Honorary Patron which we felt was a great honour!
Our fantastic Opening Night Gala featured the lovely Jaya Bachchan who recieved our prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award for her outstanding contribution to cinema spanning over three decades. The event was hosted by British TV and film actors Rizwan Ahmed and Neerja Naik and was attended by amazing talent such as Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Shyam Benegal, Meera Syal, Sharmila Tagore and Soha Ali Khan to name but a few.
We featured a multitude of cinematic flavours like An Act of Terror, Life goes on and Shyam Benegal’s Well Done Abba! just to give a taste of what independent cinema offers. We were delighted to present an acting masterclass with Abhishek Bachchan and a director’s workshop with Shyam Benegal which were fantastically successful and very popular amoung the festival crowd!
- The 2009 Festival hosted directors Deepa Metha (Heaven on Earth) and Asif Kapadia. And more coming soon.
The 2008 Festival was a year to honour the lovely ladies that grace our screens and show their viewpoint of working in a male dominated industry. We had the glamourous Opening Night Gala at BAFTA where our Opening Film ‘Hope and A Little Sugar’ had it’s London Premier. This exciting premier was attended by the director Tanuja Chandra and actress Mahima Chaudhry from ‘Hope and A Little Sugar’.
This was then followed by ‘The World Unseen’ which was made by an all-women crew who did us proud and created an amazing film which we showed to our amazing audience who loved every minute! We had the honour of having the director Shamim Sarif and producer Hannan Kattan who presented a Q&A session for the film.
We also featured other riveting and exciting tales such as ‘ AIDS Jaggo’, ‘Vanaja, ‘I for India’ and many more! We also had packed workshops with a director’s masterclass led by director and writer Tanuja Chandra and of course an exciting industry seminar which brought together writers, directors, actors and producers to discuss the experiences of film making. This event was hosted by the lovely ladies Tanuja Chandra, Mahima Chaudhry, Hanan Kattan and Shamim Sarif.
As keeping with our theme this year, we featured ‘In Conversation With Meera Syal’ who let us in on a lot of her secrets of surviving in this industry! We also featured a photographic exhibition called ‘Reel Women’ which shows the journey of Tongues on Fire, it’s role with the women who it helped show both in front of and behind the camera and cinema screens.
Our Closing Night featured the enchanting film ‘Dosar’ which was a huge hit with everyone and helped end the festival leaving everyone wishing for more!
For more about us and the work we have carried out, please contact us at: Info@tonguesonfire.com
Tongues on Fire has developed links with a number of cinemas, schools, arts and community organisation around London and we do film screenings throughout the year as well as during the annual March festival.