SFFILM Festival

SFFILM Festival

Lights, camera, action, cut, edit and watch the creations of the celluloid dreamers on the big silver screen. Yes, it is that time of the year in the Bay Area. Get ready for the San Francisco International Film Festival (SFFILM) that runs from April 4-17, 2018. The 10-day festival is packed with films, live music, award nights, conversations, master classes and a tribute to actress Charlize Theron. The events for SFFILM are spread across San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley.

The opening night film on April 4, 2018 is director Silas Howard’s  A Kid Like Jake with Claire Danes, Jim Parsons and Octavia Spencer. The closing night film on April 14, 2018 is director Gus Van Sant’s Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot with Joaquin Phoenix, Johan Hill, Rooney Mara and Jack Black.

Claire Danes, Jim Parsons, and Leo James Davis appear in A Kid Like Jake by Silas Howard. Photo by John Pack.

Here are some films that caught my eyes while browsing through SFFILM’s lineup. The festival features both new and old films from masters like Olivier Assayas and John Woo.

Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind is a documentary by Marina Zenovich. Williams lived in the San Francisco Bay area. The film screens on April 7, 2017 at Castro Theatre in San Francisco.

Come Inside My Mind by Marina Zenovich. A documentary on Robin Williams

Robin Williams appears in Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind by Marina Zenovich. Photo by Mark Sennet.


Filmmaker David Sington’s Mercury 13 is a documentary about a group of women that were trained by NASA for a space flight. But, their turn to travel to space did not come through. The film explores what happened and why their mission was still born.

Mercury 13

Mercury 13


RBG is a film about US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The film is directed by Betsy Wise and Julie Cohen, who will be at the Castro Theatre screening on April 14, 2018.


Neville Morgan’s Won’t You Be My Neighbor is a portrait about Mr. Rogers of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood fame. The film screens on April 7 and April 9, 2018 and Morgan will be at the screenings.

SFFILM provides a rare opportunity to listen to a mix of interesting people on films, filmmaking and technology like Wayne Wang, Guy Maddin, Alex Garland (director of Ex Machina) Annette Insdorf, and Jaron Lanier (who coined the term Virtual Reality).

Tickets for the  61st San Francisco Film Festival go on sale from Friday, March 16, 2018.




The Kamla Show in Pasadena


We are excited to share that Pasadena in Southern California will broadcast our weekly TV show on Saturdays starting from March 17, 2018.

You can watch The Kamla Show in Pasadena on Saturdays at two different time slots – 8.30 am in the morning or 8.30 pm in the evening on Charter 32 and AT&T 99 in Pasadena and the rest of Los Angeles country.

A huge thanks to Pasadena Media for broadcasting our show.


Renowned British physicist Dr.Stephen Hawking passed away on March 14, 2018. He was 76 years old.

In 2014 Eddie Redmayne essayed the role of Dr. Hawking in the film The Theory of Everything. I got a chance to interview Redmayne about how he prepared for the role and his meeting with Dr. Hawking.


Filmmaker Alexander Dean shares why she made Bombshell:The Hedy Lamarr Story. The Hollywood actress was known for her beauty but not her interest in technology. During World War II Lamar co-invented a secret communication systems based on frequency hopping. It was only decades later that Lamarr got recognition for her work.

Bombshell:The Hedy Lamarr Story released on Mary 9, 2018 in San Francisco Bay area. The film airs on PBS in May 2018.

Here is a list of TV stations in the US that broadcast our weekly TV show. Do subscribe to our YouTube channel and podcasts where we feature new interviews.


We spoke with filmmaker Sebastian Lelio and transgender actress Danila Vega about the making of A Fantastic Woman and how they got the idea to make a film about a transgender actress. The film is about love and politics of identity.

Last week A Fantastic Woman won an Oscar in the foreign language film category and created film history for Chile. This was the first time a Chilean film won an Oscar. This was also the first film with a transgender actress in lead.

Here is a list of TV stations in the US that broadcast our weekly TV show. Do subscribe to our YouTube channel and podcasts where we feature new interviews.


How do you combine your passion for writing and science? We turned to Rina-Shaikh Lesko, who trained and worked as an epidemiologist for many years before embracing her passion for writing. She combined her twin interests: writing and science and became a science writer But, before becoming a science writer Shaikh-Lesko went back to school to study Science Communication from University of California Santa Cruz.

We sat down to speak with Shaikh-Lesko about how she developed an interest in science and writing and what drew her to become an epidemiologist. What prompted her to switch gears and embrace her love for writing.

This is part of our women in science and technology series sponsored by Zoho Corp.

Here is a list of TV stations in the US that broadcast our weekly TV show. Do subscribe to our YouTube channel and podcasts where we feature new interviews.


A highlight from our upcoming interview with Chilean filmmaker Sebastian Lelio and transgender actress Danila Vega. I got to ask them a couple of questions from the famous Proust Questionnaire. We have a longer interview coming up with Lelio and Vega.

Lelio’s film A Fantastic Woman is Chile’s entry in the best foreign-language film category for the 2018 Oscars. The film stars Vega and how she deals with the sudden death of her lover played by Francisco Reyes.

A Fantastic Woman releases in early February 2018 in the San Francisco Bay area.


Dr. Cynthia Lee teaches computer science at Stanford University. She shares how girls and boys are equally interested in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) as children. But around middle schools the number of girls interested in STEM declines? Why is that? Tune in to find out.

This is a highlight of our upcoming interview with Dr. Lee from our Women in Science & Technology TV series sponsored by Zoho.

Here is a list of TV stations in the US that broadcast our weekly TV show. Do subscribe to our YouTube channel and podcast where we feature new interviews every week.

Books: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Namita Gokhale and The Big Lebowski

Reading books has become something of a luxury in these modern times. I managed to snatch some time during the year to read a few books. Here are a few that I enjoyed reading and are mentioned in no particular order. Not all the books were published in 2017.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 84, is the second woman to be appointed to the US Supreme Court. My Own Words is the first book by Ginsburg that was put together with Mary Hartnett and Wendy W. William.

This is a fascinating book that takes you through Ginsburg’s childhood and how she became a lawyer and the role her husband played in helping with her career. She overcame many adversities during the course of her life and learnt how to deal with them.

The book has a selection of her writings and speeches like  interpreting the  constitution and women’s rights. Ginsburg offers us a look into the daily routine at the Supreme Court and how they work.  I enjoyed reading this book and realized that there is no substitution for determination and hard work.


Namita Gokhale’s Things To Leave Behind made for an absorbing read. It is not often that you can read a book about the forgotten Himalayan state of Uttarakhand and its rich and complex social and economic history. Set in the 19thc Gokhale’s fiction highlights the fascinating interaction between the local Kumaoni people, the British and the Christian missionaries.

Gokhale has tirelessly chronicled stories about Uttarakhand in her various books, and in Things To Leave Behind she once again brings to light the fascinating history and people of this forgotten state of India.

I read this book twice to fill the gaps in my knowledge of Uttarakhand, the home state of my parents. Like many before them they left Kumaon in search of better economic opportunities and all I knew about the state is through their stories and anecdotes. Kumonis love to tell stories and Gokhale certainly knows how to tell an absorbing one. She is a born story teller.

Ethan and Joel Coen’s (Coen brothers) The Big Lebowski did ok at the box office when it released in 1998. It went on to become a cult film that has spawned a dedicated fan base, festival and a religion of sorts. I got hooked to this quirky film when I heard Sam Elliot utter these lines at the start of the film.

I only mention it ’cause some- times there’s a man… I won’t say a hero, ’cause what’s a hero? But sometimes there’s a man… and I’m talkin’ about the Dude here … sometimes there’s a man, well, he’s the man for his time and place, he fits right in there. And that’s the Dude, in Los Angeles.

The film has some far out memorable characters and dialog and I was always curious to find out how the Coen brothers concocted this yarn about this White Russian drinking dude, who is unfailing polite and lazy. I stumbled across I’m A Lebowski, You’re A Lebowski at my local library quite by accident. The book is studded with all sorts of trivia about the characters in the film and has interviews with all the actors. I wish they had an interview with the elusive Coen brothers, which would have been just far out.

If you are a fan of Coen brothers and The Big Lebowski then this book is right up your alley.



I did not know what to expect from filmmaker Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird. I missed multiple screening opportunitiesto see the film. I deliberately skipped reading the reviews since I wanted to discover for myself what the film was about. Finally, a few days ago I watched the film and came away thinking what a beautiful love story on Sacramento, the capital of California. More importantly, the film captured those special years in all our lives when we transition from high school to college. Like many teenagers most of us are eager to become adults and do grown-up things and not listen to the continuous stream of concern and advice from our parents. All we want to do is break free and go to a new place and experience new things, new people and new passions. We are so eager to spread our wings since we think we are stuck in a cage. Little do we realize that the grown-up journey is fraught with intense highs and lows. It is only years later when we look back to those memories do we realize our parents were looking out for us and those high school days were some of the best in our lives. That in essence is the story of Lady Bird for me.

Lady Bird is definitely inspired by Gerwig’s story of growing up in Sacramento. Gerwig does a brilliant job of distilling that high school experience with such great sensitivity and fun. And then there is that Gerwig trademark – a bit of quirkiness. The story revolves around Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson (Saoirse Ronan), whose dream is to leave Sacramento and study in an East Coast college. Her mother’s (Laurie Metcalfe) preference is that she study in California since they cannot afford the tuition for an out-of-state school. Her father (Tracy Letts) secretly supports “Lady Bird’s” wish. While in high school “Lady Bird” discovers her love for Danny O’Neill (Lucas Hedges) and her first lover (Timothe Hal Chalamet). After a series of rejections, Lady Bird gets into a college in New York. She is over the moon that she can finally leave Sacramento and experience life on her terms. Her mother, on the other hand, is distraught and refuses to talk to her. And, it is in New York Lady Bird discovers that all-too-familiar feeling of homesickness and misses her family and friends. Like many of us “Lady Bird” discovers that her heart is really in the town that she grew up, and that those years were indeed special.

By stripping the story to its essence I have not done justice to the filmmaker, actors, director of photography, editors and others. Gerwig, who wrote and directed the film had a clear idea of what she wanted to capture in her debut film as a director. She had me hooked right from the first frame as Lady Bird and her mother are driving back home to Sacramento and she declares she hates California. And I thought why in heaven’s name does she hate California? Now this is going to be interesting to find out I thought.

Ronan is fantastic as Lady Bird, and Metcalfe’s portrayal of an over-worked and anxious mother is brilliant. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the film.

Lady Bird released in November 2017 in the US.