Indie Meme Highlights South Asian Cinema

Film festival brings outsider stories to the forefront

Her. Him. The Other

Creating a diverse and inclusive community has always been one of the goals for the Indie Meme Film Festival. Now in its fourth year, the festival brings together an abundance of South Asian films and filmmakers to premiere their films right here in Austin. Festival co-founder Alka Bhanot said, "The incredible diversity we have from within the South Asian continent, language, and culture is amazing."

The film festival has grown from single screenings to a four-day affair with screenings, filmmaker Q&As, and mixers. Bhanot said she wants to continue to show audiences stories that they "don't see otherwise," as they spotlight shorts, documentaries, and feature-length films from around the globe like India, Pakistan, the U.S., France, Iran, and Afghanistan. Fellow co-founder Tripti Bhatnagar said, "Our audience has grown [and] we've had more numbers of filmmakers from diverse backgrounds, in terms of countries and languages. We have really seen some big-time progression and we are really glad about that."

Bhatnagar added, "Cinema can really stir things up. It can open dialogue. It can start some change, so [Indie Meme] provides a platform and a safe environment for which people could open up about, from their relationships to personal to social issues to any challenges they have been facing in life."

Bhanot and Bhatnagar see a common theme of this year's screenings as the "other perspective," tapping into the outsiders' side of the story. The festival kicks off with chef-turned-filmmaker Vikas Khanna's The Last Color, a film that focuses on a 9-year-old girl and a 70-year-old widow on the fringes of society. Centerpiece film Her. Him. The Other presents three distinguished filmmakers' perspectives on life in Sri Lanka after the decades-long civil war, while Subash Sahoo's documentary The Sound Man Man­gesh Desai focuses on one of India's top film sound engineers. His work defined many Bollywood movies, "[yet] you don't really hear much about sound editors," said Bhat­na­gar, "so this is again somebody who added tremendous value to every project he touched and he's an unsung hero."

"We look at stories that will resonate with our audience," Bhandot said. And when the films shown at Indie Meme do affect audiences, she said, "It's music to my ears."

Indie Meme Film Festival, April 26-28, @AFS Cinema, 6406 N. I-35. Tickets and info at

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Indie Meme Film Festival
Indie Meme Continues Pioneering Virtual Film Festival
Indie Meme Continues Pioneering Virtual Film Festival
Second weekend mixes drama, horror, and monkey hijinks

Richard Whittaker, May 8, 2020

Indie Meme Film Festival Goes Online
Indie Meme Film Festival Goes Online
Celebration of South Asian cinema streaming for two weekends

Richard Whittaker, May 1, 2020

More by Savannah J Salazar
<i>Star Wars</i> Satire <i>¡Estar Guars!</i> Gets Laughs and Gets Political
Star Wars Satire ¡Estar Guars! Gets Laughs and Gets Political
Latino Comedy Project takes on planetary issues

May 1, 2019

In Honor of 4/20 Some of Our Favorite Austin Purveyors of CBD
In Honor of 4/20 Some of Our Favorite Austin Purveyors of CBD
Marijuana remains illegal in Texas, but you can keep your chill

April 19, 2019


Indie Meme Film Festival, Tripti Bhatnagar, Alka Bhanot, Asian Cinema, The Last Color, The Sound Man Mangesh Desai, Subash Sahoo

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle