Two films with South Asian connection to screen at SXSW

A scene from Iram Parveen Bilal’s “I’ll Meet You There” 

Filmmaker and activist Iram Parveen Bilal’s “I’ll Meet You There” and Maureen Bharoocha’s “Golden Arm” will have their world premieresat the South by Southwest Conference and Festivals in Austin, Texas, to be held from March 13 to 22.

Every year, the program draws thousands of fans, filmmakers, press, and industry leaders to immerse themselves in the most innovative, smart, and entertaining new films of the year.

“I’ll Meet You There,” chosen for the narrative competition at the festival, is a family drama about a Muslim cop and his teenage ballerina daughter. At a heightened security time, Majeed (Farhan Tahir), a Muslim cop in Chicago, is forced to question where his loyalties truly lie when his orthodox, estranged father, Baba, unexpectedly visits from Pakistan.

Meanwhile, Dua (Nikita Tewani,), Majeed’s daughter, is concurrently forced to pirouette between her passion for dance and her roots. The film stars Tahir, Tewani, Muhammad Qavi Khan, Sheetal Sheth, Shawn Parsons, Andrea Cirie, Nitin Madan, Michael Pemberton, Samrat Chakrabarti and Rachit Trehan.

Two films with South Asian connection to screen at SXSW

A scene from Maureen Bharoocha's 'Golden Arm'

Baroocha’s directorial debut “Golden Arm” is a female buddy comedy which focuses on a tough lady trucker who trains her girly best friend to compete in the National Ladies Arm Wrestling Championship. The film stars Mary Holland, Betsy Sodaro, Olivia Stambouliah, Eugene Cordero, Aparna Nancherla, Dawn Luebbe, Ron Funches, Ahmed Bharoocha, Dot-Marie Jones and Kate Flannery.

According to The Oklahoman, Holland is playing the part of Melanie, “a wimpy baker who needs to get her life back on track after her business falls into insurmountable debt.” Sodaro is Danny, Melanie’s best friend and an arm wrestling champ who has suffered an injury and is unable to compete in the tournament.

Bilal, who was raised in Nigeria and Pakistan, is a Physics Olympian turned filmmaker. According to her website, she formed the Parveen Shah Productions in 2017. It is a global short and long form media production company that focuses on telling stories that matter. Last year, she was one of 15 directors invited to Cinefondation's L'Atelier at Cannes for her feature project “WAKHRI (ONE OF A KIND), “based on a social media star in Pakistan.

Two films with South Asian connection to screen at SXSW

Iram Parveen Bilal

Her past works include “Josh” (Against The Grain), Pakistan's first film to be on Netflix and in the permanent selection at the U.S. Library of Congress and “The PhD Movie: Still in Grad School.”

 Bilal initiated the Pakistani Oscar committee and is the founder of Pakistan’s first professional screenwriting lab (QALAMBAAZ).

Bharoocha, from a mixed family of Irish Catholic and Indian-Pakistani Burmese Muslim heritage, is currently a segment director for ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” Previously, she directed a short film, “Abajee,” which, according to Bharrocha’s website, was filmed on location in the streets Karachi. “Abajee” was screened at the Santa Barbara, Palm Springs, and Hampton’s International Film Festivals.

Bharoocha also wrote and directed a short film series for Sprinkles Cupcakes and has directed original content for Comedy Central, College Humor, Funny or Die and The Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. Her first feature film “Fatal Flip,” a physiological thriller, was released on Lifetime. Her second feature, “I Am Watching You” premiered at the Napa Valley Film Festival.

Two films with South Asian connection to screen at SXSW

Maureen Bharoocha

According to her website, she is developing features based on her short films: “Movie Mind Machine” starring Ron Funches and Matt Braunger and “Hairpin Bender” starring Lauren Lapkus, Nicole Byer, Mary Holland, and Aparna Nancherla. Maureen is also developing a sitcom with her brother, comedian Ahmed Bharoocha.

She has an MFA from Boston University.

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