FEB 18TH, 2PM || Mardistan

Mardistan (Harjant Gill, India, 28mins)

Mardistan (Macholand) is an exploration of Indian manhood articulated through the voices of four men from different generations and backgrounds. A middle-aged writer trying to make sense of the physical and sexual abuse he witnessed studying in an elite military academy, a Sikh father of twin daughters resisting the pressure to produce a son, a young 20-year-old college student looking for a girlfriend with whom he can lose his virginity, and a working-class gay activist coming out to his wife after twenty years of marriage. Together, their stories make up different dimensions of what it means to be a man in India today. Mardistan (Macholand) starts a conversation on critical issues including patriarchy, son preference, sexual violence and homophobia in a nation increasingly defined by social inequalities. 

About the Director

Dr. Harjant Gill is an assistant professor of anthropology and cultural studies at Towson University, Maryland. He received his PhD from American University in Washington DC. His academic research examines the intersections of masculinity, modernity and migration in India. Dr. Gill is also a documentary filmmaker and has made several films that have screened at film festivals worldwide and won numerous awards. His previous documentary, Roots of Love explored the changing significance of hair and turban among Sikhs and is being screened on BBC World News, BBC America, and Doordarshan (Indian National TV). He is currently also the co-director of Society for Visual Anthropology Film and Media Festival. 



  • NY Indian Film Festival – May 2015
  • DC Asian Pacific American Film Festival – April 2015
  • University of Maryland, College Park (invited screening) – April 2015
  • Ethnografilm Festival, Paris – April 2015
  • Screening Scholarship Media Conference, University of Pennsylvania – March 2015
  • George Mason University (invited screening) – April 2015
  • Amherst College (invited screening) – March 2015
  • University of Toronto (invited screening) – March 2015
  • University of Guelph (invited screening) – March 2015
  • University of Maryland Baltimore County (invited screening) – February 2015
  • SCRIPT Film Festival, Kochi – February 2015 : Winner: 2nd Place “Best Documentary” 
  • International Festival of Prayag – February 2015
  • The FD Zone - Film Division, Mumbai – January 2015
  • Godrej Culture Lab, Mumbai – January 2015
  • Men & Boys for Gender Justice Festival JNU, New Delhi - November 2014
  • Open Frame Festival, New Delhi - September 2014
  • Canadian Anthropology Society Conference, York University, Toronto – May 2014


This film screening will be followed by the screening of Sent Away Boys

FEB 18TH, 12PM || The Curious Case of Mr. Bhim Thapa

The Curious Case of Mr. Bhim Thapa (Bhakta Chand, Nepal, 13mins)

This documentary centers on a man, myth and his legacy. It works both as a biopic and as a timeless and relevant piece of social commentary. Mr. Bhim Thapa has dedicated his life to the idea that people needed to be awakened to bring changes in their lives. He held this idea for a lifetime, painting & inscribing the word “khoja” on the pavement, walls, and stones of Nepal. Now, 96, old and fragile, he is still traveling and writing. It is believed that he has written/inscribed “Khoja” over 8 million times. 

About the Director

In 2000, Bhakta Chand ditched his Civil Engineering studies & went to Norway to study Theater Arts and English Literature. It was a journey that shaped his future and developed interest in films and documentaries. After Studying Anthropology in London, he returned to Kathmandu and went to produce documentaries on social, cultural & contemporary issues in Nepal.

His first documentary on plastic problem in Kathmandu valley and effect it leads to the global environment won him the prestigious award at San Francisco organized by Siemens. He wrote and directed a feature length documentary about traditional music and musicians called “Valley of Music”. This historical traditional music and its instruments is going through a phase and is on the verge of extinction as its loss means loss of intellectual calamity to ancient knowledge leading to the extinction of an entire culture. The documentary was premiered at a renowned theatre in Kathmandu. The Curious Case of Mr. Bhim Thapa is his third documentary film.

Currently, Bhakta is working as a Programme Manager at an innovative not for profit social business enterprise that supports and enables positive futures for street based children, young people and families at risk in Nepal. 



  • Figueira Film Art Festival 2016 (Portugal) - Winner of Best Short Documentary
  • 13th Frames Film Festival 2016(Mumbai) -  Runner Up for Best Short Documentary


This screening will be followed by the screening of Cities of Sleep

FEB 18TH, 12PM || Cities of Sleep

Cities of Sleep (Shaunak Sen, India, 74mins)

Cities of Sleep is set in a world where just being able to secure a good night’s sleep often becomes a matter of life and death. Trailing the lives of two individuals, we enter a heady world of night-shelters, improvised sleeping spots and the infamous ‘sleep mafia’ of Delhi to look at the enormous influence the otherwise banal activity of sleeping is able to exert on a large number of people.

The film follows two individuals, Shakeel and Ranjeet. Shakeel, a beggar by profession is something of a renegade sleeper who for the last 7 years has slept in a diverse cross-range of improvised sleeping places in Delhi: under flyovers, subways, deserted pipelines, vacant car garages, empty animal cages in zoos and so on. 

Ranjeet lives in Loha Pul in Delhi, a 200 year old double storey iron bridge in Delhi straddling the banks of the river Yamuna. Around 9 years ago, Ranjeet opened up a shanty cinema in a thin strip of the land under the bridge. These cinemas are meant to primarily provide comfortable resting/sleeping spaces for the 140-150 people who usually inhabit the area.  We follow this community's attempts to survive while also facing the annual threat of the river flooding during the monsoon season.


About the Director

SHAUNAK SEN is a filmmaker, video artist and scholar based in Delhi. Cities of Sleep is his first feature length documentary. He has edited films including ‘Squad’s Fall Guys’ (2013), ‘Old Town’ (2013) and ‘T&Lily’ (2014).

Shaunak is also the recipient of the Digital and Social Media Fellowship from Sarai in 2014. A mass communication graduate of Jamia Milia, New Delhi he is currently enrolled as a PhD student at the School of Arts and Aesthetics at the Jawahar Lal Nehru University in Delhi. His academic writing has been published in various journals including Bioscope and Widescreen. He has also worked as a journalist for Tehelka and as a freelance investigative journalist for other media portals.



  • Taiwan International Documentary Festival – Merit Prize (Asian Vision competition)
  • Taiwan International Documentary Festival – Next Generation Award
  • New York Indian Film Festival – Best Documentary
  • Seattle South Asian Film Festival – Best Documentary

This film screening will be preceded by the screening of The Curious Case of Mr. Bhim Thapa


February 18th, Saturday 7PM



Best friends Basim and Shahjehan mount a national tour with their Muslim punk band, the Kominas, Punjabi for “the bastards.” As the demands of the road start pulling them apart, they discover the meaning of friendship when the hype, praise, and audiences fade away.

Taqwacore was a buzzword in the mid-2000s. Academics, journalists, and religious scholars glommed on to the term and excavated it for meaning – what was it like to be young, Muslim and American in the wake of 9/11? The US was at war in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and maybe soon in Iran. The face of the enemy abroad was brown and Muslim, but who were the dark ones living inside the empire?


Director: Marcus Ricci & Rakesh Baruah