by Judi Romaine
Amit Rana and his friends created the Chicago South Asian Film Festival as a Landmark Self Expression and Leadership project. What many people don’t know about the festival is that Amit created it to generate community around him. He found that the hardest thing was to pick a project that merged his passion for films with his expertise in technology.
When Amit took on the project, he had no idea how to create a film festival. He kept asking himself the question, can I do this? He certainly did, and the festival is thriving – in its first year, 2010, approximately 1,300 people attended. Within two years, in 2012, attendance had grown to 3,000.
Before the festival, Amit lacked the self-confidence to implement ideas and pursue his passion. After the festival, he was able to lead and enroll teams towards a common purpose and vision. He found a new sense of selflessness in crediting others with the Festival’s success. What he discovered was that teams are essential for ideas and visions to grow and that he didn’t have to do everything on his own.
Along with personally transforming his life, Amit had a larger vision for the festival-to introduce South Asian culture to the people of Chicago and create a new level of global understanding through film. Three years later, Chicago has both a successful film festival and Amit has a new sense of himself as a leader in his life. He and his team are growing the festival into an industry that they envision as a film marketplace, a place for independent filmmakers to not only showcase their work, but to get distribution for their films. Chicago has become a true South Asian film destination.
This year’s festival is taking place from September 20-23 – visit the CSAFF site for more information.