Vazira Zamindar is a historian at Brown University, and co-directs the South Asian Studies Program at the Watson Institute. While her previous work, The Long Partition and the Making of Modern South Asia, was on refugees, nation-state formation and citizenship following the Partition of 1947, she is presently working on a project on archaeology and war on the northwest frontier of British India, on the borderlands with Afghanistan. See http://www.caravanmagazine.in/perspectives/altitudes-imperialism. With a love for films, this is the second film festival she is organizing at Brown (the South Asia Documentary Film Festival was in Spring 2011). This one has been a long time in the planning following a lively evening organized by Adil Moosajee at the Roadside Cafe in Karachi with a group of young film-makers, and their infectious passion.
Asad Ali Ahmed is an anthropologist at Harvard University who focuses on the relationship of the political and the religious, as mediated by language and law, and is particularly interested in rethinking the historical formation and contemporary possibilities of liberalism, secularism and religion in post-colonial Pakistan. He is also working on the cultural and populist politics of the Pakistan’s People’s Party in its early years. Before becoming an anthropologist, Ahmad was a journalist and documentary film-maker, and film-making continues to be important to him. He helped orchestrate the evening at the Roadside Cafe in Karachi and began to curate films for this festival with his students soon thereafter.
Festival Coordinator, Mustafa Samdani (www.mustafasamdani.com) is a poet, writer, and conceptual artist from Lahore, Pakistan. He is currently based in Cambridge MA, has a master’s degree in Performance Studies from Brown and is co-authoring a book with Christine Fair at Georgetown University, entitled, In Their Own Words (London: Hurst Publishers, forthcoming). He also translates texts from Urdu into English and has worked in multiple cultural contexts across the globe, including comparing the sema (sacred audition) rituals at Rumi’s shrine in Turkey with those practised at a khanqah (hermitage) in Swat, Pakistan. He has translated Samuel Beckett’s Endgame into Urdu, titled Akhirat, and performed the same author’s one-man play Krapp’s Last Tape at Falaki Theatre, Cairo, Egypt.
Iram Parveen Bilal is the CEO and Founder of Parveen Shah Productions, a film production company with offices in Pakistan and Los Angeles. She currently finished a multi-country theatrical distribution on her noted first feature length film, JOSH (English title: Against the Grain) a 2012 Women in Film Awardee and recently honored to be selected part of the US Library of Congress’s permanent selection. More on www.thefilmjosh.com.
Bilal is the initiator and current member of the Pakistani Oscar committee and is also the founder of Pakistan’s first professional screenwriting lab (QALAMBAAZ). She is also a co-chair on the Asian American Writer’s Committee at the Writer’s Guild of America. Bilal sits on the board of the community service organization, Caltech Y. She is a Caltech grad, BS ’04 with honors, in Environmental Science Engineering and an MFA from the USC School of Cinematic Arts in Filmmaking. Recent awards and fellowships include the 2012 Women In Film Award, the 2013 FIND Screenwriting Fellowship, 2010 FIND Director’s Fellowship, 2008 IFP Emerging Narratives, the USC Stark Special Project Award, the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, the Paul Studenski Fellowship, the Caltech Mabel Beckman Leadership Award and the Caltech Dean’s Cup. Watch her TedX interview titled “Get Uncomfortable Now!” More on www.iramparveenbilal.com.
Meenu Gaur is the Co-Director and Co-writer of the critically-acclaimed Pakistani film Zinda Bhaag (Run for your life, 2013). The film has received several international awards and was Pakistan’s entry to the Oscars, after a gap of more than fifty years. Meenu completed her PhD in Film and Media Studies from the University of London in 2010. She received the Felix scholarship and Charles Wallace Scholarship for the same. She is the co-editor of the book Indian Mass Media and the Politics of Change, published by Routledge 2011 and distributed by OUP Pakistan. She is also the co-director of the award winning documentary film, ‘Paradise On a River of Hell.’ Presently, she is working on her next feature and a documentary film on Karachi supported bythe ‘Jan Vrijman Fund’ and ‘Göteborg Film Fund’.
Mazhar Zaidi is the Producer of the Pakistani feature film Zinda Bhaag (Run for your life) and is currently working on a documentary film based on the memories and images of 102 years old photojournalist FE Chaudhry. He has received the Asian Cinema Fund (ACF, Pusan) for the same. He has been working as a journalist and filmmaker for over 20 years. As a journalist he has worked with BBC World Service in London for over 11 years. He headed the department of documentaries and current affairs at Pakistan’s leading English language TV channel, Dawn News from 2008 to 2010. His film, Nar Narman, about a gay Urdu poet has been screened internationally and at the National Film Theatre in London in 2007. He has also recorded folk singers and produced a compilation ‘Awazay’ for which Sain Zahoor received the BBC World Music Award in 2005.
Iftikhar Dadi is an artist, curator and art historian at Cornell University and his research interests include postcolonial theory, and modern art and popular culture, with emphasis on South and West Asia. He wrote the book Modernism and the Art of Muslim South Asia, and his essays have appeared in numerous journals and edited volumes. Dadi is Contributing Editor for Bio-Scope: South Asian Screen Studies journal, and is currently working on a book on Urdu cinema. He co-curated exhibitions (with Hammad Nasar) include Lines of Control, on partitions and borders (Johnson Museum at Cornell University, 2012 & Nasher Museum at Duke University, 2013). As an artist he collaborates with Elizabeth Dadi, they have shown widely internationally.
Ulka Anjaria is a professor of English and affiliated to the South Asian Studies Program at Brandeis University. Her research interests include South Asian literature and film, with a focus on the novel and popular cinema. She is the author of Realism in the Twentieth-Century Indian Novel: Colonial Difference and Literary Form (2012) as well as articles on popular Hindi cinema, Pakistani literature and the contemporary novel. She is editor of A History of the Indian Novel in English and is working on a book on new forms of realism in film, literature and television in contemporary India.
Kamran Asdar Ali is an anthropologist and Director of the South Asia Institute at the University of Texas, Austin. He is the author of Planning the Family in Egypt: New Bodies, New Selves, and Communism in Pakistan: Politics and Class Activism 1947-1972, as well as several edited volumes. He has written widely on gender, health and urban politics in both the Middle East and South Asia, as well as more recently on new Pakistani cinema.
Lina M. Fruzzetti is a professor of Anthropology at Brown University. Her primary scholarly focus is on social anthropology, kinship, and studies of ritual and the construction of gender, race and ethnic relations, as well as ethnographic film. Fruzzetti’s interest in visual anthropology produced and directed the following documentary films: Seed and Earth, Kalfan and Zanzibar, Fishers of Dar, Singing Pictures: Women Painters of Naya, and Songs of a Sorrowful Man. Fruzzetti holds numerous national and international professional appointments and has taught at the universities of Khartoum, Dar Es Salaam, University of Helsinki and ISCTE (Lisbon). She is the director of the South Asia Studies undergraduate major. She currently serves on TPAC and continues to be involved with the work on the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation Dissertation Grants Selection Panel and has co-chaired the Year of India at Brown University.
Ramyar Rossoukh is an anthropologist at Harvard University and his doctoral dissertation is an ethnography of the Iranian film industry. Since 2003, he has worked on numerous Iranian film productions, most recently as the assistant director to the Oscar-nominated director, Majid Majidi, on projects in Iran, France, China, and India. Before he began his doctoral studies, Rossoukh lived for a year among the pastoral nomadic Bakhtiari tribe of southwestern Iran, conducting research on tribal oral poetry. During that time he acted in the Iranian feature film ‘Bolouq’ (Coming of Age) by Masoud Jafari-Jozani. He has taught courses on film and anthropology at Harvard University and Brandeis University and was the project manager of Women’s Worlds in Qajar Iran, a digital archive and website project funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Richard Delacy teaches Hindi-Urdu in the Department of South Asian Studies at Harvard University, as well as a course on contemporary Indian commercial cinema called “Bollywood and Beyond.” He has been teaching at Harvard for a number of years and completed his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, in the Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations. He studies primarily the post-liberalization novel in Hindi, and is interested in the intersection of cultural production, globalization and economic liberalization since 1990. He is also interested in popular cultural production and the world of commercial Hindi cinema in Bombay.
Avishek Ganguly is a faculty at RISD, and his research and teaching interests are in modern and contemporary drama, post-Colonial and Anglophone literatures, the cultures of cities, and literary and cultural theory including globalization and translation studies. In his dissertation, he studied the role of translation as dramatic technique and political instrument across several texts of contemporary drama and theater from India, England, Ireland and Nigeria. His most recent publication in this area is an essay titled “Politics and Periodicals in 1960s India,” forthcoming in an edited volume 1968 and the Third World (New York and Oxford: Berghahn Press).
Beena Sarwar is a journalist, artist and filmmaker (and a Brown alum) who focuses on human rights, gender, media and peace. She is currently the Pakistan Editor of the Aman ki Asha (Hope for Peace) initiative, that aims to develop peace between the countries of India and Pakistan. Prior to her current position, Beena has worked as an Assistant Editor at The Star, as Features Editor at The Frontier Post, and was the founding Editor of The News on Sunday in 1993. She has also produced television shows for Geo TV and served as Op-ed Editor for The News International. She also writes a popular monthly column titled ‘Personal Political’ which is published by Hard News, in India.