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LA Indian film fest line-up announced

LA Indian film fest line-up announced
March 14
11:11 2019

India Post News Service

LOS ANGELES: The Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) has announced its 2019 line-up of narrative and documentary features, shorts, and opening night gala event.

Widely recognized as the premiere global showcase for groundbreaking Indian cinema, IFFLA will be held from April 11 to 14 at Regal LA LIVE: A Barco Innovation Center in Los Angeles, according to a statement issued by IFFLA.

This is the festival’s third year in the state-of-the-art, world-class cinema in the heart of the city’s vibrant and developing downtown district. The opening and closing ceremonies will take place at the Ahrya Fine Arts Theater in Beverly Hills with dinner receptions to follow hosted by Indian restaurant Spice Affair.

The festival will open with a tribute and moderated discussion with Indian actress Tabu, paired with a screening of her latest film Andhadun directed by IFFLA alum Sriram Raghavan. Known to her millions of fans worldwide for her intense, masterful performances, Tabu is regarded as one of the most talented Indian actors of her generation, having been honored with two National Film Awards, six Filmfare Awards and notably, the Padma Shri from the government of India in 2011.

“Her strong individuality and unwillingness to compromise set apart her persona – and the characters she portrays – making her popular among Indian audiences around the world,” the IOFFLA statement said.

Tabu has primarily acted in Hindi films, but has also worked extensively in the South Indian film industry and internationally as well, by doing films in English, Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Marathi and Bengali.

“We have discussed honoring Tabu for a long time, and this year felt like the right time,” said Christina Marouda, IFFLA’s Executive Director. “Her work and personality embody everything that IFFLA is about – being fearless, versatile, independent in spirit, unwilling to compromise, brilliant in the range of her performances, and simply beautiful. With half of the festival’s 2019 line-up directed by female filmmakers, this couldn’t be a stronger celebration of women in Indian cinema.”

Andhadun sees Tabu taking on the comedic villainess role of Simi, a desperate actress who is caught disposing of her husband’s body in front of a presumably blind pianist Akash (Ayushmann Khurrana). The film follows Simi, Akash, and Akash’s suspicious girlfriend (played by Radhika Apte) in a wicked story of ambition, romance and organ harvesting. Directed by Sriram Raghavan, whose film Johnny Gaddaar was screened at IFFLA in 2008, Andhadhun has won rave reviews and box office success.

IFFLA 2019 will feature three world premieres, two North American premieres, two US premieres, and 11 Los Angeles premiere screenings. The impressive line-up represents nine languages, and includes a diverse collection of female and first-time filmmakers along with festival alumni returning with their latest projects.

“We’re incredibly proud of the intelligent, crowd-pleasing and adventurous films in this year’s line-up. Two of the themes that really stand out amongst all those that we’re seeing this year are intergenerational stories and stories that dive into political conflict,” said Director of Programming Mike Dougherty. “With both there’s an interesting conversation to be had on how filmmakers are examining the changing world, and how that world is moving towards a bold new future. I’m excited to explore these themes further with our filmmakers and audience members.”

Highlights from this year’s line-up include a trio of Sundance and Slamdance favorites in Photograph from The Lunchbox director Ritesh Batra, director Ronny Sen’s unforgettable feature debut Cat Sticks, and the exhilarating and the imaginative real-life journey of Taking the Horse to Eat Jalebis by theatre-turned-film director Anamika Haksar. Other highlights include the family drama Love Goes Through Your Mind directed by UCLA alum Ronak Shah and the heart-warming family film Chippa, directed by Safdar Rahman and starring Lion’s Sunny Pawar.

Films telling multigenerational stories include Namdev Bhau in Search of Silence about a 65-year-old chauffeur who is reluctantly paired with a 12-year old boy on his cross-country journey to find solitude; the visually poetic Cat Sticks that follows several young people seeking a greater lust for life; Jonaki  stars legendary Bengali actress Lolita Chatterjee as an octogenarian who, in her final moments, relives key memories from her life as her present-day 80-year-old self; and Love Goes Through Your Mind, centering on a young woman’s conflict with her parents over how best to address her brother’s bipolar disorder.

2019 films delving into more political themes include one feature and one short – Widow of Silence and Nooreh – that look at the effects of the Kashmir conflict on everyday people; Taking the Horse to Eat Jalebis and its story showcasing the poor merchants, pickpockets and homeless population of Delhi; The Sweet Requiem, centering on Tibetan refugees living in Delhi and the lifelong after-effects of their dangerous escape out of Tibet; and the documentary short film Circle, that follows a young woman confronting the other women in her family about the cycle of abuse they have perpetuated due to tradition.

IFFLA alumni filmmakers lead the charge on festival features Andhadun (Sriram Raghavan), Jonaki (Aditya Vikram Sengupta), Photograph (Ritesh Batra), and The Sweet Requiem (Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam), as well as the shorts Circle (Jayisha Patel), and The Field (Sandhya Suri). Additionally, two films – feature Love Goes Through Your Mind and the short film Youthful –  have stories that are based in Los Angeles.

Shorts program highlights include Jayisha Patel’s Circle which was previously screened in the Berlin, Toronto and at BFI London festivals, The Field from director Sandhya Suri which was screened for audiences in Sundance and Toronto, and Busan International Film Festival grand prize winner Nooreh from director Ashish Pandey. In addition, IFFLA 2019 will see the world premieres of the shorts Youthful from director Varun Chounal, The Shaila(S) directed by Neha R.T. and Sakshi Gulati’s Neon.

“While IFFLA will continue its tradition of showcasing the best in Indian and South Asian cinema, changing distribution models have led to a variety of new and exciting content premiering on television and digital spaces,” the statement said .

“With that in mind, IFFLA will feature the TV-centric panel discussion “Breaking it Down: Making it to Series in TV’s Golden Age” highlighting the work of South Asian actors, directors, writers and producers working in the television space. The panel will have the support from the India Center Foundation.

Additional line-up details, including the closing gala and television panel participants, will be announced soon.

Details are available online at www.indianfilmfestival.org.

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