My video interviews with filmmakers, star of “Hank and Asha” at the 2013 Slamdance Film Festival

The highly-anticipated World Premiere of Hank and Asha took place on Saturday, January 19, 2013 at the Slamdance Film Festival. The sold-out screening was held at the intimate Treasure Mountain Inn in Park City, Utah. The film was a selection in the Narrative Competition.

The slightly quirky, always irreverent Slamdance Film Festival is at the same time and in the same town that hosts Sundance, and that's the idea. Slamdance was conceived as a sort of parallel alternative event, although it's come into its own as a standout independent film festival in its own right. Dan Mirvish, Jon Fitzgerald, Shane Kuhn, and Peter Baxter are the founding forefathers who fought for truly independent filmmakers by giving them a voice in 1995 at the very first Slamdance Film Festival. 18 years later, it's has become a year-round organization fostering the development of unique and innovative filmmakers. The organization now consists of the Film Festival, Screenplay and Teleplay Competition and Slamdance Studios.

Out of over 5,000 total submissions, Slamdance 2013 selected 22 feature-length movies to screen in its competition lineup. There were 12 narratives and 10 documentaries, including 13 World Premieres and seven U.S. Premieres.

Hank and Asha, directed by James E. Duff and starring Andrew Pastides and Mahira Kakka, was one of the films in the Narrative Competition. Hank and Asha is "a classic tale of young love, told in the most unconventional of ways," said Slamdance Film Festival Programmer Jana Winternitz. "Asha and Hank are bound by technology and separated by time zones; the mere fact they have never met face-to-face doesn't stop their growing friendship and budding infatuation. A modern take on a love letter correspondence, this student from India and New York filmmaker must figure out their future one video response at a time."

The cross-cultural theme is provocative and relevant, as is the dilemma posed by modern technology through the ubiquitous use of the Internet in establishing connections. Similar notions were explored in Disconnect which was one of my Top 8 from the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival and made my Top 15 of the Year. If nothing else, viewing video postcards exchanged online via Prague and New York (shot on location) is a visually sumptuous experience. A first-time feature writer/director with a similarly novice cast and crew makes for a refreshing debut.

Just before the big premiere screening I sat down with star Andrew Pastides and filmmakers James Duff and Julia Morrison. Thanks to videographer/editor Gotham Chandna for his technical assistance. There may be some spoilers in these interviews.


NOTE: "Hank and Asha" went on to win the Slamdance Film Festival Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature.



Larry Richman

Larry Richman

For 20 years I was a professional in the entertainment industry, from commercial broadcast radio in America's fourth largest market to band management to record production. But my passion is independent film, and I spend much of the year traveling to film festivals to see indies and meet the actors, directors, and others responsible for creating them. I'm a writer, photographer, and videographer, currently serving as Senior Vice President for Media & Technology and Public Relations at PROnetworks as well as Editor at

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