ZERO BRIDGE (KASHMIR/USA/2011/DRAMA) (IMDB: INDIA/USA)(NO PALAU RIGHTS)
Language: Kashmiri, Urdu (Visit Films and press kit)
Language: Urdu, English (IMDB)
Dilawar, a rebellious teenager who lives in Kashmir, wants to escape to Delhi for a better life. One fateful day, he pickpockets from Bani, a young lady who has just left America. An unlikely friendship blossoms and their lives are to be changed forever. Language: Kasmiri, Urdu
When a teenage pickpocket runs into one of his recent victims, his plans to escape his dreary life in Kashmir begin to change.
Short Synopsis (Visit Films Press Kit)
A hopeful human portrait of a teen pickpocket, whose chance encounter with one of his victims upends his escape plans in this gritty, moving story about daily life in Kashmir.
Synopsis (Visit Films Press Kit)
Zero Bridge is the story of Dilawar, a rebellious seventeen-year-old Kashmiri boy who lives on the outskirts of Srinagar city with his strict uncle, a mason who took in Dilawar after he was abandoned by his adoptive mother. To help make ends meet, Dilawar recently abandoned school to become an apprentice in his uncle’s mason crew. Dilawar hates his current life and secretly plans to leave his uncle to join his adoptive mother in Delhi.
To do so, he supplements his income by participating in some shady activities: taking money to do math assignments from his old school classmates, and by picking pockets in the city’s markets. While on an errand at a local shipping office, Dilawar meets Bani, a bright young woman who has recently returned to Srinagar after completing her studies in America. Although Dilawar recognizes Bani as one of his recent pickpocket victims, Bani does not recognize him. Over the course of many visits to the shipping office, Dilawar warms up to Bani. He eventually enlists her help with the math assignments, although Bani is unaware that she is helping him earn extra money. They enjoy each other’s company, and their friendship gently grows. Meanwhile, Dilawar continues his other illegal activities, undeterred. The consequences of his actions eventually cause havoc in Dilawar and Bani’s life, threatening their friendship and both of their futures.
A young pickpocket dreams of escaping his strict uncle and his life in Kashmir. His plans are diverted after he steals the passport of a local woman and changes the course of both of their lives.
Seventeen-year-old Dilawar, who has left his adoptive mother, lives with Uncle Alim on the outskirts of Kashmir’s Srinagar City. He has dropped out of school to work for his uncle, but he dreams of leaving to join his mother in Delhi.
In the meantime, he makes a little extra money doing homework for wealthy former schoolmates, and occasionally pickpocketing. One day, chance brings him together with one of his victims: a young woman named Bani, who has just returned from studying in the USA. Both long for a better life, rejecting the idea of mere survival. The mutual desire for a better future becomes the basis of their curious relationship. In his feature debut, Tariq Tapa opted to show the real face of Kashmir. In contrast to Western documentaries or Bollywood films, Tapa’s work focuses on the lives of simple people, their desires and fears. Thanks to the casting of non-actors and the near documentary visual style, the director achieved maximum authenticity.
In the tradition of hard-hitting neo-realist filmmaking comes ZERO BRIDGE, the debut feature of Tariq Tapa, a US-born filmmaker of Kashmiri/Jewish-American descent. Having spent his childhood summers in India-controlled Kashmir with his father’s family, he was committed to making a film of quotidian life, far from Bollywood fantasies and Western news reports of terrorism: Dilawar is a teenage pickpocket whose escape plans are complicated when he develops an uneasy alliance with a woman (herself fleeing an arranged marriage) whose passport he has stolen. ZERO BRIDGE is a story of two young people's struggle to retain their humanity, despite poverty, the traditional culture into which they’ve been born, and the fatalism, sexism and casual cruelty of their families.
Writer/Director: Tariq Tapa
Producer: Tariq Tapa, JoseeLajoie, Hilal Ahmed Langoo
Production Co: JoylessFilms Artists Public Domain
Cast: Mohamad Emran Tapa(Tariq Tapa’s cousin), Ali Muhammed Dar, Taniya Khan
Awards (Visit Films):
· Winner, Best Film - Leeds International Film Festival, 2008
· Winner, Audience Award - Mumbai International Film Festival, 2009
· Winner, Best Film - Hidden Gems Film Festival, Calgary, Canada, 2009
Festivals (Visit Films):
· Venice Film Festival, 2008
· Marrakech International Film Festival, 2008
· Leeds Film Festival (Winner, Golden Owl), 2008
· Los Angeles Film Festival (Narrative Competition), 2009
· Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, 2009
· Mumbai International Film Festival, 2009
· l'Alternativa, Festival de Cinema de Barcelona, 2009
· Hidden Gems Film Festival, Calgary, Canada, 2009
· Goteborg International Film Festival, 2010
· Tariq Tapa, Hilal Ahmed Langoo, JoseeLajoie, John Cassavetes Award Nominee, Film Independent Spirit Awards, 2010.
· Best Film Not Playing at a Theatre Near You, Gotham Independent Film Award Nominee, Gotham Awards, 2009.
· Tariq Tapa, Best Narrative Feature Nominee, Los Angeles FF, 2009.
· Tariq Tapa, Golden Star Nominee, Marrakech IFF, 2008.
· Best Film, Leeds IFF, 2008.
· Jury Prize Nominee, Karlovy Vary IFF, 2009.
· Audience Award, Mumbai FF, 2009.
About the Director
Tariq Tapa was born in New York of Kashmiri Muslim and American Jewish descent. He received his BA in English from Rice University in Houston, then in 2004 he began studies in direction at the California Institute of the Arts, where he shot several shorts.
One of these, Custody(2005), was nominated for a 2006 Student Academy Award, and was subsequently screened at New York’s Museum of Modern Art and the Centre Pompidou in Paris. In 2006, he received a Fulbright scholarship to shoot his graduation film, the debut feature Zero Bridge, which was presented at the 2008 Venice IFF.
Reviews (Visit Films):
· "“Gritty, powerful… a real find.” Variety
· "A bull's eye, made on a shoestring, Zero Bridge is a surprise from start to finish and it will move even those with hearts of stone." Arte TV (France)
· "Surely one of the most valuable among those seen so far in the Venice Film Festival. Delicate and moving." Drammaturgia
· "Packs a punch. Carries a powerful message." Reuters
· "A totally engrossing journey." Examiner
· "Impressive emotional wallop." LA Weekly (Critic's Pick)
· "Female lead Taniyah Khan has the beauty, name and radiance to achieve success." Examiner
Reviews (Press Kit and Zero Bridge Film website)
· “…ZERO BRIDGE is a story of two young people's struggle toretain their humanity, despite poverty, the traditional culture into which they’ve been born, and thefatalism, sexism and casual cruelty of their families…” Film Forum
· “Made for a song with a non-pro cast and DV camera gear out of his backpack, Tariq Tapa’s debutfeature shows the young Kashmiri-American as a filmmaker of enormous promise and precociousmaturity. Tapa’s poetic neorealism is less a stylistic intrusion than a keeping of faith, through the film’sdeliberately uneven pacing, with a life devoid of rhythms to count on.” – Ella Taylor, Village Voice
· “Sharp-eyed... Plunges us into texture, into strands and counter-strands of Srinagar City life ...Exemplifies yet again a wizardry of film that has been with us at least since neo-realism began...ZERO BRIDGE succeeds.” – Stanley Kauffmann, The New Republic
· “Gritty, powerful… a real find.” – Variety
· “Packs a punch… Powerful.” – Reuters
· “Astonishing.” – Filmmaker Magazine
· “CRITICS’ PICK! Packs an impressive emotional wallop.” – LA Weekly
· “A bull’s eye. Made on a shoestring, ZERO BRIDGE is a surprise from start to finishand it will move even those with hearts of stone. The direction is as intuitive and spontaneous as Srinagar [the setting] is precarious, dangerous and claustrophobic.” – Julien Welter, Arté(France)
· “Excellent! Provides an unusual glimpse into Kashmiri life.” – Maria Garcia, Film JournalInternational
· “Tariq Tapa – who shot much of this vérité-style film by himself – does a beautiful job attuning usto Dilawar’s drifting routine…(Tapa) has a notably keen and compassionate eye, particularly forfaces and locales.” – Keith Uhlich, Time Out New York
· “Amazingly mature and enjoyable, with realistic performances and a great look.” – V.A. Musetto,New York Post
· “An exemplary work of retro-neorealism, telling a devastating, small-scale story against the starkbackdrop of an embattled no-man’s-land, in strokes that feel simultaneously fable-broad and finelydetailed.” – Ben Mercer, The L Magazine
· “Suspended between the new Iranian cinema of Abbas Kiarostami and American independentcinema.” – Marco Mueller, Venice Film Festival, 2008
· “A moving slice of life from a corner of the world usually seen only in news reports or as a mountainous backdrop for Bollywood musicals.” – Mike Hale, The New York Times
· A truly independent film of integrity and offhand grace, Zero Bridge tells the deeply affecting tale of an orphan and small-time criminal in Kashmir who plans to flee Srinagar but develops a crush on an older, educated woman.Tariq Tapa’s first feature is a small movie with a big heart, investigating issues of class and the mysteries of love with an equal measure of craft and compassion.— Kino Lorber
“…The extensive location footage of its little seen, troubled setting offers a bracing slice of Indian life…: - THR