Good Evening ladies and gentlemen:
Thank you for that wonderful introduction, Manoj!
It is my pleasure to welcome all of you – filmmakers, artists, and lovers of independent films to our great city. You may have heard some bad things about Washington, DC. It’s true there are political divisions, frequent stalemates, and lots of bureaucracy here. In spite of all that, this is truly a beautiful city! I hope you will enjoy your stay in D.C. and get a chance to do some sight-seeing and enjoy the splendor of our Nation’s Capital. (Pause)
What an uplifting evening! I am delighted to be here with some of the biggest and most famous names in South Asian independent cinema. Walking the red carpet, along with the legendary Aparna Sen earlier this evening was wonderful experience. It transported me back to the teenage years, when my days and nights were filled with the brilliance and magic of Hindi films.
I want to thank Geeta and Manoj for inviting me to inaugurate the fourth edition of the DC South Asian Film Festival. I also want to congratulate them for turning the DC South Asian Film Festival from an idea into a permanent DC institution, showcasing the best in alternative cinema from the subcontinent.
This film festival has become one of the most celebrated South Asian events on our city’s cultural calendar. The way DC South Asian Film Festival has grown in the past three years, I believe that I can safely predict that within the near future it will become one of the biggest South Asian events in the United States.
Hats off to Geeta and Manoj for making this festival happen and for setting the stage for grander things to come. Let’s give them a big round of applause.
The task I have been given is to declare the festival open. But before I do that I would like to say a word about this year’s theme, which is “Art and culture transcend boundaries.”
I am sure you all agree with me that this statement is true. Let me repeat it, ‘Art and culture transcend boundaries.” (Pause)
This is so even though we live in a deeply divided world. These are unsettling times – – wars, refugees, terrorism, hate crimes of all types, and boundary disputes. Events such as these dominate the headlines daily.
Yet, art and culture elevate and unite all of us. Whether it is a young boy in Afghanistan, or an old woman in Zimbabwe, there is not a soul that doesn’t enjoy a good movie, or a lovely piece of music.
The fact that we have with us today some of the finest collection of talents from India and Pakistan under one roof is proof that art and culture indeed transcend all the boundaries.
The works of the filmmakers here — Aparna Sen, Huma Beg and Suman Ghosh, just to name a few — have healing and unifying power.
In closing, I know that you are all eagerly waiting to watch the movie. So without further ado, let me perform the official task with which I have been entrusted.
Ladies and gentlemen, I declare the 2015 Washington DC South Asian Film Festival open!
Sit back, pass the popcorn, and enjoy the film. Revel in the greatness that is independent South Asia film-making.
Thank you for this opportunity. It has been privilege to be part of this festival.
God bless you all