Freelancer Spotlight: Sonali Joshi

Based: Newcastle


Dial F:


Twitter: @sona_joshi_


What work do you do in film exhibition / distribution?

I am a curator and specialist distributor with a particular focus on Asian cinema and artists’ moving image. Key areas of interest include Japanese, Southeast Asian and regional Indian cinemas. Alongside my work in exhibition and distribution, I also specialise in access services in subtitling and translation (English SDH / French>English), and audio-description, working directly with film festivals, distributors, filmmakers and producers. I am the Founder and Director of Day for Night, a Newcastle/Edinburgh/London based organisation working across film exhibition, distribution and access/screen translation. Day for Night focuses in particular on underrepresented areas of cinema and emerging filmmakers and artists. I offer subtitling in a wide variety of languages through my team of highly experienced subtitlers and translators. I am also the Founder and Artistic Director of Aperture: Asia & Pacific Film Festival, the only specialist UK festival covering the whole of Asia as well as Oceania.


What have you been working on most recently?

I have been working on a 3-year curatorial project entitled “Urban, Natural, Human”, exploring representations of architecture and landscape in Japanese cinema and moving image, now postponed into next year due to the pandemic. Through Day for Night, I have been preparing releases of Tibetan filmmaker Pema Tseden’s BALLOON, and Japanese film THE MURDERS OF OISO. My access work has focused more on online content recently, including English subtitles for the d/Deaf and hard-of-hearing and audio-description for various UK distributors, opera subtitles in a variety of European languages, and subtitles and translations for festival submissions, world premieres, one-off screenings and production notes, from Cambodia, France, Taiwan and UK, including films by Ken McMullen, Tsai Ming-liang and Albert Serra. I have recently written articles on Kiyoshi Kurosawa, François Truffaut, Jean Eustache, architecture and cinema, as well as on the pandemic and the creative industries in peril, and participated in online Q&As.


What kind of projects are you interested in working on?

– curating Asian cinema and artists’ moving image

– access: subtitling and translation (EN SDH, FR>EN, managing other language combinations), and audio-description

– consultancy: diversity and programming (particularly in relation to Asian, indigenous and ethnic minority content), access (technical and linguistic)

– hosting/participating in Q&As

– writing on Asian cinema; French cinema; accessibility, inclusivity and diversity; cultural activism and lobbying (particularly in the context of co-founding ExcludedUK, calling for better financial support for freelancers and the self-employed, particularly in the creative industries)

– lecturing/mentoring: I regularly give guest lectures at various UK universities (eg. NFTS, LFS, Birkbeck, UCL, University of Reading) and mentor students on film festivals, distribution, and subtitling


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