This year’s San Francisco’s  Mostly British Film Festival (Feb 16-23) has a rare treat in store for film buffs. On Tuesday, Feb 21st you catch the legendary film editor Anne Coates in conversation with film historian David Thomson at the Vogue Theatre in San Francisco. This will be followed by the screening of A Murder on the Orient Express at 9.30 pm. For tickets and information about the event check Mostly British Film Festival’s website.

Coates won an Oscar in 1962 for her work in David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia. She went on to win 4 Oscar nominations for Out of Sight, In the Line of Fire, The Elephant Man and Becket.

In 2016 The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Board of Governors Coates presented an honorary award to Coates in recognition of her work and contribution to the film industry. Coates began her career in the film industry in 1947 when she worked as an assistant editor for The Archers directed by Derek N.Twist. She next worked for Director Michael Powell’s The Red Shoes. The Pickwick Papers  (1952) directed by Noel Langley was the first feature film Coates edited. And 10 years later in 1962 she won an Oscar for her work in Lawrence of Arabia. The last film Coates edited was  Fifty Shades of Grey released in 2013..



Director Ritesh Batra of The Lunchbox fame is back with a new film The Sense of an Ending. The film is based on Julian Barnes’s novel by the same name that won the Man Booker prize in 2011. The compact novel as the New York Times Book Review put it is ” a mystery of memory and missed opportunity.”

The film stars Jim BroadbentCharlotte RamplingMichelle Dockery and others.

You can catch The Sense of Ending at this year’s Cinequest Film & VR Festival on March 12, 2017. Check Cinequest’s website for ticket and information about the film.


I sit down to talk with John Turner director of Korla, a documentary that takes you on a fascinating journey on Korla Pandit’s music and life. Pandit was a talented musician, who was the person to perform live on American TV. Pandit performed on KTLA in Los Angeles in 1949. He was eventually replaced by Liberace.

Pandit relocated to the San Francisco Bay area, where he lived until his death in 1998. Pandit appeared on KGO TV and continued to play in concerts and release records.

So, who was Pandit? Why did he love from New Delhi, India to the USA? What was his story? Tune in to find out.

Korla will air on PBS during the Black History Month.

  • Title: KORLA
  • Running Time: 78 minutes
  • Status: Released Feb 2017
  • Country: USA
  • GENRE: Documentary

This interview aired on TV in the USA. You can watch our weekly TV show in the US. Here is a list of TV stations in the US that broadcast our show. You can subscribe to our  YouTube channel and podcast where every week we feature new interviews.


Iranian director Asghar Farhadi’s award-winning film The Salesman  (Forushande in Persian) centers around the notion of love, friendship, trust, revenge and forgiveness. If you have seen Farhadi’s previous films like About Elly or The Separation you know they leave you with more questions than answers. In The Salesman Farhadi skillfully peels layer after layer and leaves you with what is essential to any relationship – trust, love and forgiveness. The film also give us a view of modern day Iranian society and the toll that censorship takes on a society.

Central to the film is the relationship between Emad (Shahab Hosseini) and Rana (Taraneh Alidosti) a husband and wife, who are passionate about theatre. The couple along with their friends are in the process of staging a Persian version of Arthur Miller’s The Death of a Salesman.  The couple’s happy life is rudely interrupted one night when they discover their apartment building is collapsing. They leave their home and have no idea how and where they will find a new home to rent. As luck would have it their theatre colleague helps them find a new apartment. When they move into their new place the couple discover that one of the room contains the previous tenant’s possessions. For some inexplicable reason the previous tenant (a woman) appears to have vacated the apartment in a hurry. Emad and Rana treat it as a minor & temporary inconvenience that they don’t have access to the previous tenant’s room. They settle down to resume their life and the rehearsal of their play.

One evening Rana hears the bell ring just as she is going in for a shower. She unlatches the front door for Emad and slips into the bathroom. That is the first twist in the narrative and changes into a whodunit film. Turns out it was not Emad who rang the bell, but a stranger, who sexually assaults Rana. When Emad comes home that evening he discovers what happens to Rana he is devastated. Why was Rana assaulted and by whom? Could there be a connection to the previous tenant, who left behind her belongings? This is when the film becomes interesting as we follow Emad’s painful journey to track the culprit that ends on a rather unexpected note.

In 2012 Farahadi won an Oscar for his film The Separation. In 2o17 The Salesman won an Oscar nomination in the foreign film category and is a strong contender in this year’s Oscar race. Farhadi along with his cinematographer Hossein Jafarian was planning on attending the Oscar awards ceremony in Los Angeles. Due to the recent US travel restrictions on citizens of Iran Farhadi will not attend the Oscar awards ceremony. He issued an official statement saying that he will not attend the Academy Awards ceremony in February.

The Salesman released in the San Francisco Bay area on Feb 3, 2017.

  • Running Time: 125 minutes
  • Status: Released Feb 2017
  • Country: IRAN/FRANCE


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


Stanford Theatre

San Francisco Bay area fans of filmmaker Ernst Lubitsch are in for a treat at Stanford Theatre. From now till March 25, 2017 you can catch Lubitsch’s silent and talkie or sound films. Lubitsch was known for his witty and elegant films like Trouble In Paradise, Ninotchka and The Shop Around the Corner.

Lubitsch started his career in Germany, which is where he was born. He later moved to the USA and worked in Hollywood, where he became a prominent filmmaker and for a while was head of Paramount. Lubitsch’s influence on young filmmakers was enormous. Filmmaker Billy Wilder worked for Lubitsch and paid homage to his mentor when he said: ” I’d think, How would Lubitsch do it?”

You can catch Lubitsch’s films at the Stanford Theatre. Check their website for information and timings.

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


Stanford Theatre stanford-theatre-2


I  sat down to speak with Halfdan Hussey, CEO and co-founder of Cinequest Inc, a Silicon Valley-based organization. Every year they host an annual film festival that features films, workshops, conversation and spotlights the latest technology for content creators and filmmakers. They also have a program for youths called Picture The Possibilities.

Hussey talks about the philosophy behind their Picture The Possibilities initiatives and what is new in this year’s film festival. Hussey is a film maker and an author and he shares how his interest in films developed and what propelled him to write.

The opening night film on Feb 28, 2017 is director Mark Pellington’s The Last Word starring Shirley MacLaine & Amanda Seyfried. The closing night film is director Niki Caro’s The Zookeeper’s Wife, starring Jessica Chastain, Johan Heldenbergh & others. Jane Lynch and Jason Reitman will be at Cinequest to receive their Maverick Award.

Cinequest Film and VR Festival takes place in San Jose and Redwood City from Feb 28 to March 2017. For tickets and program schedule visit Cinequest’s website.

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


Theodore Melfi @HillGirlProducitons, LLCWe caught up with Oscar nominee Theodore Melfi of Hidden Figures in San Francisco. Melfi directed and co-wrote the screenplay with Alison Schroder. We talked to him about the making of Hidden Figures, how he got attached to the film. the math boot camp for his actors and the music by Pharrell Williams and Hans Zimmer.The film won 3 Oscar nominations: best picture, best supporting actress and the best adapted screenplay.


Hidden Figures is a true story based by a book by the same name by Margot Lee Shetterley. The film is about 3 African-American math teachers, who worked in NASA’s Apollo project in the 1960s. The film highlights how these women overcame racism and prejudice in the workplace. Interestingly, the stories of these African-Americans and their contribution to NASA has largely remain hidden until now.

In December 2016 Melfi and Olivia Spencer, who acts in the film were in San Francisco to receive The Sloan Science in Cinema award. The award is given by the San Francisco Film Society and The Sloan Foundation.

Hidden Figures stars Taraji Henderson, Olivia Henderson, Janelle Monáe, Kevin Costner, Kristin Dunst, Jim Parsons and Mahershala Ali.

  • Running Time: 127 minutes
  • Status: Released in USA 
  • Country:HOLLYWOOD
  • Genre: DRAMA

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


Lucas Hedges @HillGirlProductions, LLCI sat down to speak to with Oscar nominee Lucas Hedges about his role in Manchester By The Sea, Kenneth Lonergan, his new film with Martin McDonagh, acting, learning to pay the banjo and his love for Harry Potter. We also find out why he elected to study at University of North Carolina School of the Arts, which is where his father Peter Hedges studied. And, finally we find out why his father says “Have the day you have,” instead of the usual greeting like “Have a good day.”

Manchester By The Sea is a sharply nuanced film that gets under your skin and makes you uncomfortable. It is bleak, tragic & funny. Hedges provides the much-needed humor in the film. The film is about love, tragedy, and circle of life and is written and directed by Kenneth Lonergan, who also wrote the screenplay for Analyze This and Gangs of New York among others.


In January 2017 Hedges was nominated for the Oscars for best supporting role. This is Hedges first Oscar nomination.  He is the youngest actor to be nominated in this year’s Oscars. Other actors nominated in the category include Dev Patel, Jeff Bridges, Michael Shannon and Mahershala Ali.

Manchester By The Sea stars Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, Lucas Hedges and others.

  • Running Time: 137 minutes
  • Status: Released in 2016
  • Country: USA

This interview with Hedges was recorded in San Francisco and aired on TV. Here is a list of TV stations in the US that broadcast our show. You can subscribe to our  YouTube channel and podcast where every week we feature new interviews.

Audio clip courtesy of Roadside Attractions


I popped over to my local picture hall in Silicon Valley to catch the first show of a new Bollywood film. This was director Rahul Dholakia’s  Raees starring  Shah Rukh Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Mahira Khan. All I knew about Raees is that it is a thriller loosely based on a underground criminal or a gangster from Gujarat, India. And thanks to the PR folks I got to see a trailer of Raaes and  Laila Main Laila song featuring Sunny Leone and Khan. So, on the strength of those video clips I made-up my mind to go watch the film.

So, there I was in line to buy my ticket & for brief moment  I flirted with the idea of watching the other new Bollywood film Kaabil. I dismissed the idea. I was astonished to see there were over 100 people in the 250 seater theater. Now, this is not a common sight. Generally there will be 10 t0 20 people for the first show of a new film. I noticed a senior gentleman sitting to the left of me and was pleasantly surprised to discover he was originally from Croatia. He was there to watch the  film because Bollywood films have something for everyone and they are easy to access he said. And, my neighbor to the right was a hard-core Shah Rukh fan, who ended up sharing her packet of biscuits with me.

We all settled down to watch the film and were all lost in our own world for the next 142 minutes. Set in Gujarat the film is a potent mix of prohibition, criminals, good cop, bad cops and two-timing politicians. Raees sounds promising especially since it pits a large-hearted criminal bootlegger Raees (Khan) with a unique code of ethics against a good and conscientious cop Majumdar (Siddiqui). The film’s storyline is almost like the Angry Young Man genre films made famous by Amitabh Bachchan. But, that was just in the first blush like I discovered. Raees is a very different film.

Raees begins in a strong manner. We meet a young Raees, who has already got his feet wet in the bootlegging business. It comes as no surprise  that Raees ends up with his own bootlegging business that quickly become hugely profitable. Raees gets married, becomes a father and life is good. So far so good. But good things have a way of fizzing out and that is what happens to Raees, who hits one speed bump after another. His fellow gangsters and politicians betray him. The only person who comes to his rescue is the good cop Majumdar, who warns him to stay out of trouble. And, of course Raees cannot stay out of trouble and that proves to be his Achilles heel and costs his life.

Dholakia does a great job of highlighting the nexus between criminals-politicians-cops and how they work together. He does a good job of fleshing out Raaes’s character, but fails to do that for Majumdar’s character.The first half of the picture held my attention, but the the second half of the film was riddled with “loopholes,” as my neighbor sitting to my right put it. And for good measure she added that the songs in the film were “time wasting.” I agree with her that not all the songs in the film worked. They should have stuck to the narrative and tied all the loose ends together. There were loopholes and continuity issues in the film. Take the fact that Raees wife is pregnant but she stays slim and svelte. And then suddenly lo and behold she gives birth to a kid that looks like a 6 month old child. Then there is the bit about Raees running for political office. We don’t know if he won or lost the election.

The film is worse than what I expected pointed my neighbor to the right and she is a strong fan of Shah Rukh Khan. It was not realistic pointed out the gentleman sitting to the left of me. But I quite like it he quickly added. What did I think of it? Raees had a lot of promise, but it fell short. Khan does a good job and it was refreshing to see him in this new avatar. Sadly, Siddiqui is under-utilized in the film.  K U Mohanan’s cinematography needs a special mention. Gujarat is almost like a character in the film. I now want to visit and explore Gujarat. This is perhaps the first Bollywood film that is entirely set in Gujarat.

Raees is currently running in various theaters in the San Francisco Bay area.

Raaes stars Shah Rukh Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Mahira Khan. Music is by Ram Sampath.

  • Title:RAEES
  • Running Time: 142 minutes
  • Status: Released in USA – Jan 25, 2017 
  • Country: INDIA
  • Genre: BOLLYWOOD

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


Silicon Valley’s annual film festival Cinequest is back this year with a strong foucs on virtual reality (VR).  The VR offerings range from short VR films to VR experiences and workshops with filmmakers on how to capture and create VR content.

Cinequest Film & VR festival runs from Feb 28 – Mar 12, 2017 and is expanding it sofferings beyond downtown San Jose to Santana Row in San Jose and Redwood City in the Peninsula.

The theme for this year’s festival is “elevate,” shared Halfdan Hussey, CEO and co-founder of Cinequest. Jason Reitman and Jane Lynch will receive the Maverick Award this year.

The opening night film on Feb 28 is director Mark Wellington’s The Last Word with Shirley MacLaine and Amanda Seyfried.

The closing night film on March 12 is director Niki Caro’s The Zookeeper’s Wife starring Jessica Chastain and Johan Heldenbergh. The picture is based Diane Ackerman’s book by the same name. This is a true story about Jan and Antonina Żabiński, who saved the lives of people and animals in Poland during World War 2.

Great Garbo’s Flesh and The Devil is this year’s silent film offering. Dennis James will play live music on the wurlitzer organ.

For information on film festival schedule and ticket visit their website.

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