Film Screening Launches Diversity Studies Track

The UCF India Center, in conjunction with the Interdisciplinary Studies Program (Diversity Studies), the College of Undergraduate Studies and the Asian Cultural Association (ACA), was pleased to host the opening film of the ACA’s 25th Annual South Asian Film Festival. The film, Girija: A Life Time in Music, explores the career of renowned vocalist Girija Devi and her life in Banaras, India. The film won India’s National Film Award in 2017; Best Documentary at the Los Angeles Independent Film Festivals; and was recognized as “One of the Best International Film Makers” at the Euro Film Awards.

The event began with a reception for students, community members, faculty, and staff. Following the reception, the audience was treated to a special performance by vocalist Rashmi Agarwal, a former student of Girija. She was accompanied by local Indian musicians and three UCF alumni, Surbhi Adesh (Harmonium), Sankalp Goverdhan (Tabla), and Prityush Goverdhan (Violin). At the conclusion of the film screening, the audience engaged both the musicians and the filmmaker, Madhu Chandra, for a question and answer session. Questions focused on the process of making the film, personal anecdotes about Girija, and inquiries into the artists’ own artistic journeys.

The event marked the launch of the Diversity Studies track in the Interdisciplinary Studies Program here at UCF. It provided a wonderful opportunity for students to build on a core aspect of interdisciplinary studies, appreciation of diversity, while building our community and developing relationships with campus and community partners.

The Asian Film Festival also screened the documentary Lady Bikers of Kolkata, a film produced by two UCF students, Sarah Holland and Ramsey Khawaja. The India Center co-sponsored the students’ travel to India to produce the film.

“The film screening was made possible as a partnership with the Asian Cultural Association and the Interdisciplinary Studies Program, strengthening the ties of the India Center to the community as well as to other programs at UCF,” said Kerstin Hamann, Ph.D., Pegasus Professor and interim director of the India Center. “This was a wonderful event to educate students, faculty, and members of the community about Indian culture.”

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