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sonali-joshi
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Exhibition & Distribution
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Curator, writer, subtitler and cultural activist focused on accessibility, diversity and political lobbying for creative industries. Specialist interests: Asian cinema, artists’ moving image, audio-description, subtitles for the d/Deaf & hard-of-hearing and foreign language
Access & Inclusion, Audiences (d/Deaf), Audiences (Disabled), Audiences (POC), Copywriting, Curation, Distribution, Festivals, Technical
Yes, worldwide
she/her
I am a curator and writer focusing on Asian, Pacific and Latin American cinemas and artists’ moving image. My specialist interests cover Japanese, Southeast Asian, Himalayan and regional Indian cinemas, and architecture and cinema. My writing also covers new wave/post-new wave French cinema further to my PhD French Cinema Studies.
I began my career in the film programming department of Cornerhouse before moving into distribution for various Paris-based distributors, then heading the translation subtitling department of a former London-based post-production house. After spending extended periods in India working on voluntary community based film exhibition projects, as well as Japan and other parts of Asia, I began working as a freelance curator, writer and subtitler alongside my work as Founder of Day for Night in 2006.
I have a strong track record in curating and delivering film festivals and curated programmes including India at 70 (supported by Film London, 2017), Nordic Film Festival (supported by Nordisk Film & TV Fond 2012-2017) and Pan-Asia Film Festival (2011-2012). I founded Aperture: Asia & Pacific Film Festival in 2018, a bi-annual touring festival supported by Arts Council of England and Purin Pictures.
Alongside my work in film exhibition and distribution, I also specialise in screen translation and access - audio-description, subtitling and translation (English SDH, French>English, multi-language project management in ~50 languages).
Throughout my career I have sought to champion under-represented areas of moving image culture. My work is rooted in a philosophy of seeking to enable broader access to visual culture, specifically supporting work by filmmakers of diverse backgrounds and showcasing work representing diverse cultures and lesser-known film industries.
I regularly participate in academic conferences, industry events, film festival juries (including International Film Festival Rotterdam and Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival), host Q&As and teach on MA Film Curating and Distribution programmes.
Urban, Natural, Human – Japanese architecture and landscape in moving image

Over the last few years I have been researching and curating a 3-year project entitled "Urban, Natural, Human – Japanese architecture and landscape in moving image" which was due to launch in the summer of 2020. While this project came to an inevitable abrupt halt due to Covid-19, it has naturally led to me to focus much of my current curatorial thinking around space and collective viewing, and I am particularly interested in how we might rethink the cinematic space from both an audience and architectural point of view in a post-pandemic environment, while looking at new realities of film exhibition and distribution as actually creating opportunities for diversity to be brought to the fore in film curating and programming. I hope to launch this project in 2021 with renewed vigour and imagination.

Poetic Voices: A Trip Through the Taiwanese Avant-garde of the 1960s

As part of the last edition of Aperture: Asia & Pacific Film Festival, I curated a programme of rediscovered silent Taiwanese avant-garde films of the 1960s in partnership with the Taiwan Film Institute and Taiwan International Documentary Film Festival. This was married up with a curated musical accompaniment in collaboration with Rocket Girl Records. The programme explored this particularly fascinating period in Taiwanese film history, which saw a growing movement of young intellectuals and artists, increasingly influenced by Western avant-garde movements, beginning to experiment with film, challenging the boundaries of cinema, and presenting their own bold responses to the concept of the avant-garde. This proved to be the most popular event across the whole programme of this edition of the festival.

ExcludedUK - lobbying for the creative industries

With inevitable cinema closures and film activity halted globally due to Covid-19, like many across the creative industries, every aspect of my work has been affected. When the Chancellor announced the Covid-19 financial support schemes, I realised I was excluded from meaningful support along with many others across the creative industries and beyond. I came together with three others to form ExcludedUK to advocate for the many individuals and businesses excluded from the schemes. I am responsible for all policy matters – hosting Q&As with MPs, writing papers, speaking at meetings of the largest ever All Party Parliamentary Group and working with various industry bodies and unions across the creative industries. With so many from the creative industries affected, cultural activity is integral to our efforts in raising awareness for the estimated 3 million excluded from meaningful support, alongside extensive press coverage and a rapidly growing social media following.