The film festival, which is putting Bangladeshi films in the spotlight, is Oct. 14-23 at various Seattle-area locations.

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The 11th annual Seattle South Asian Film Festival begins Friday, Oct. 14, with a special focus on Bangladeshi cinema.

The 10-day festival — whose theme is “love wins” — will include 23 feature films and 22 short films from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Films will be shown at several venues: Seattle Asian Art Museum, the Stroum Jewish Community Center, the SIFF Film Center, the Carco Theatre and the University of Washington’s Thompson Hall.

Bangladesh will be featured throughout the festival with comedies, dramas, short and feature-length films.

Film festival preview

Seattle South Asian Film Festival

Friday, Oct. 14-Oct. 23, $40-$50 opening night gala (7 p.m. Oct. 14 at Seattle Art Museum and Triple Door), $10-$12 single screenings, more special event and passes pricing at

“With high-profile struggles concerning human rights and social justice in Bangladesh today, we think it is important to provide a platform where Bangladeshis can tell their own stories and dream of the future they will forge for their vibrant, dynamic nation,” said Rita Meher, Tasveer co-founder and executive director.

The festival is put on by Tasveer, a nonprofit arts organization focused on igniting conversations on minority oppression, human rights and social-justice issues in South Asia.

Next Thursday, Oct. 20, the festival’s centerpiece gala will highlight the critically acclaimed Bangladeshi film “Ant Story,” directed by Mostofa Sarwar Farooki. The movie is a comedy about a man who gets lost in his own fantasy world.

“In its heart, this film probably tries to portray one man’s solution to his problems,” said Farooki in an email from his home in Bangladesh. “Reality is his problem, and fantasy is the solution which he develops to counter the deprivation of real life.”

Farooki will be honored with the Tasveer Emerald Award for his contributions to South Asian cinema. He will attend the reception after the screening of his film.

“What I know is all my inspirations, characters and stories are usually stolen from the reality I live in,” Farooki said. “Characters, stories, philosophy, visual temperament all are interconnected.”

The festival’s opening film “Aynabaji” is a dark comedy about an actor paid to serve jail time for the rich. Producer Ziauddin Adil will be at the Seattle Art Museum screening along with Bangladeshi actor Chanchal Chowdhury.

In addition to the film screenings, a panel of scholars and filmmakers will discuss race, sexuality and censorship of film and art in South Asian film at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 18, at the University of Washington’s Thompson Hall.