Half Widow

directed by Danish Renzu

Documentary Feature | 2017 | India, USA | 91 min | Kashmiri, Urdu with English subtitles

A young Kashmiri woman, Neela is enjoying her new marriage. Her doting husband Khalid has welcomed her little brother Zakir into their home. But outside their walls, the Kargil War of 1999 rages, and suddenly Khalid is kidnapped by paramilitary forces in the middle of the night. So begins Neela's journey as a half-widow, held in limbo without her husband and unable to start a new life. The search for Khalid consumes her. Times passes, as does the war, and yet still Neela learns nothing. Her sorrow becomes a shackle and apathy for life settles in. Neela's sense of self is all but lost, consumed with the fact she is without her husband, a man she loved. But after Zakir is arrested defending her from police, a new light of hope flickers as she recognizes the importance of family sacrifice, igniting inside her a new quest for meaning and fulfillment.

A native of Kashmir and alumnus of UCLA, film director Danish Renzu hopes to inspire a new generation of Kashmiri filmmakers to practice their art as a force for unity in the conflicted region. He has directed several short films including award winning "In Search of America, Inshallah" (2014). His first film Half Widow (2017) showcases the plight of a Kashmiri half widow and received rave reviews worldwide premiering at Seattle International Film Festival. The Illegal (2018) stars Academy winning Life of Pi star Suraj Sharma in the lead explores a journey of a immigrant in Los Angeles and his journey towards the American dream. His next film Pashmina, set for release next year and telling the tales of several Kashmiri lives upended by decades of strife. The film comprises of a stellar cast and crew. He is also working on a musical Songs of Paradise set in Kashmir reviving music and art in Kashmir. He opened his own home production in Kashmir with a goal of reviving cinema back in the valley encouraging youth and local talent to pursue their dreams, also bring the lost culture, music and traditions of Kashmir to a worldwide audience.Inaya Graciana Yusuf is an Indonesian-American filmmaker. She has worked on short documentaries to feature length projects such as Miriam, Amplify: The Story of Synesthetes, Passage to Womanhood, Dhalang and Minding Our Own. Her films has participated in several festivals across United States, Colombia, China, Ireland, Denmark and Canada. She has received a Gold Award at The Spotlight Documentary Film Awards and Award of Recognition in Short Documentary, Women Filmmaker, Contemporary Issues and Editing. Throughout the years she worked on projects with clients including HBO, BBC, ESPN, Lifetime, NBC, FOX, PBS, MLS Soccer USA, Climate Reality, Yahoo! and VICE. Inaya’s corporate background in advertising and branding spearheaded her transition from design and motion graphics into filmmaking. Growing up in both Indonesia and United States, her personal work are often driven by her surroundings and revolves around women and children, identity politics and immigration, criminal justice system, contemporary issues in Islam, LGBTQ, and the Southeast Asian environment. She is currently working on her first feature film, The One and The Many. She is an Associate Teacher at MPS Directing (Short Live Action Film) at School of Visual Arts.

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