3rd i’s QUEER EYE – August Festival focuses on the South Asian LGBT experience

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Sean Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

From art-house classics to documentary films, innovative and experimental visions to next-level Bollywood, 3rd i Films is committed to promoting diverse images of South Asians through independent film. This summer, 3rd i celebrates queer voices from contemporary Sri Lanka to ancient India. 3rd i launched its mini-festival in 2010 when India repealed Penal Code 377, effectively decriminalizing homosexuality. This year, 3rd i’s Queer Eye focuses on the South Asian LGBT experience, featuring both film and live performances.

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FLYING WITH ONE WING – Anoma Janadari as “Manju”

From Sri Lanka comes director Asoka Handagama’s much acclaimed film from 2002, Flying With One Wing. The film will screen on Saturday, August 27th, 7:00 pm at Artists Television Access located at 992 Valencia Street. Flying With One Wing, described as a cross between Fassbinder and Boys Don’t Cry, is a sophisticated and fresh take on gender politics in a male-dominated society. 3rd i presents the film in anticipation of a focus on Sri Lanka at the annual film festival scheduled this November. Director Handagama will be a special guest during the presentation of his 2005 masterpiece, Letter of Fire.

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ANOMA JANADARI (Manju) – GAYANI GISANTHIKA (Kusum)

FLYING WITH ONE WING is an engaging parable of a man creating a life amidst a culture that deems his existence criminal. Director Asoka Handagama captures the reality for women living in present day Sri Lanka – a devalued class, oppressed by both tradition and sexist attitudes. Herein lies an edgy, gender-altering story that manages to remain lighthearted and humorous despite the building tension that culminates with unexpected results.



“Manju” is a boyish car mechanic who plays the macho role indicative of his profession with ease. He returns home after work to the friendly, family-oriented neighborhood where he lives with his young wife, “Kusum” (Gayani Gisanthika). Seemingly happily married, Manju maintains a deep secret by concealing from his wife his original female biology.

Manju’s secret is discovered when he’s taken to a clinic following a car accident. The chauvinistic doctor who treats him becomes obsessed with Manju. He even begins harassing Manju, which sets in motion a chain of events that could threaten his identity. And to further complicate things, Manju’s best friend confides his own romantic feelings for him, suggesting they share their love secretly as closeted gay men to escape ruining either of their lives.



A life of guarded secrecy is painfully assaulted, and Manju is forced to confront the sexism, homophobia, and confusion exhibited by those he had previously trusted.

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ANIURUDDHAN VASUDEVAN

On Sunday, August 28th at 5:00 pm, the festival program shifts to The Women’s Building located at 3543 18th Street, for a trip into India’s queer past. Chennai-based dancer/performer Aniuruddhan Vasudevan uses storytelling, spoken word, classical dance and music to create an intimate performance based on the story of the eunuch Brihannala, a character from the ancient Mahabharata. In performing this character, Vasudevan examines his own relationship to gender, sexuality, history and performance. Mr. Vasudevan is a pupil of the renowned Bharatanatyam performer Chitra Visveswaran.

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MINAL HAJRATWALA

This will be followed by The Seeker and The Unicorn, readings from new works by San Francisco based author/poet/performer Minal Hajratwala, who recently returned to the Bay Area after a year-long Fulbright Fellowship in India where she was reseaching her new novel. Hajratwala will read excerpts from this upcoming work which is at once historical – concerning the 15th century devotional poet Mirabai – and futuristic with a parallel queer punk storyline that takes place in the 25th century. She will also present work from her poetry manuscript, The Unicorn at the Racetrack. A reception following the event will provide audience members a chance to interact one-on-one with the artists.

Tickets for the film are $8. Tickets for the performance and reception are $8–$15 sliding scale. Tickets will be available at the door and in cash only.
Click here for more information: 3rd i Films



3rd i’s Queer Eye is made possible through a grant from the California Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Seán Martinfield, who also serves as Fine Arts Critic, is a native San Franciscan. He is a Theatre Arts Graduate from San Francisco State University, a professional singer, and well-known private vocal coach to Bay Area actors and singers of all ages and persuasions. His clients have appeared in Broadway National Tours including Wicked, Aïda, Miss Saigon, Rent, Bye Bye Birdie, in theatres and cabarets throughout the Bay Area, and are regularly featured in major City events including Diva Fest, Gay Pride, and Halloween In The Castro. As an Internet consultant in vocal development and audition preparation he has published thousands of responses to those seeking his advice concerning singing techniques, professional and academic auditions, and careers in the Performing Arts. Mr. Martinfield’s Broadway clients have all profited from his vocal methodology, “The Belter’s Method”. If you want answers about your vocal technique, post him a question on AllExperts.com. If you would like to build up your vocal performance chops and participate in the Bay Area’s rich theatrical scene, e-mail him at: sean.martinfield@comcast.net.

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    [...] Stein and Virgil Thomson’s Experimental Opera at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 8/18–213rd i’s QUEER EYE – August Festival focuses on the South Asian LGBT experienceBALI: Art, Ritual, Performance – At the Asian Art Museum until September 11thFOLGER COFFEE [...]