AVON 39

Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles Celebrates 15 Anniversary and Announces Galas and Film Lineup

Art & Culture Movies & Entertainment
"Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles Celebrates 15 Anniversary and Announces Galas and Film Lineup"

The Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) announced today its galas and 2017 lineup of narrative and documentary features, and short films for its 15 annual festival. Gala tickets and passes are now available at www.indianfilmfestival.org. Tickets for individual films will go on sale onMarch 17.

The festival is widely recognized as the premiere showcase of groundbreaking Indian cinema globally. The 15th annual Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) will take place April 5-9, 2017 at Regal L.A. LIVE: A Barco Innovation Center in Los Angeles, California. This will be IFFLA’s first year in the state-of-the-art, world-class cinema in the heart of Los Angeles’ vibrant and developing downtown district. Zee Cinema is returning for a third year as IFFLA’s presenting sponsor.

“As India’s diverse array of talented filmmakers continues to be recognized around the world for their compelling and daring work, IFFLA is extremely proud to collect the best films from emerging voices and experienced masters and present them to Los Angeles,” said Mike Dougherty, Director of Programming.

The Festival will open with LIPSTICK UNDER MY BURKHA and its impressive ensemble cast of Konkona Sen Sharma, Ratna Pathak, Aahana Kumraand Plabita Borthakur in a dramatic, but irreverent and vibrant film about women and faith. The film premiered at the Tokyo Film Festival 2016 and has been lighting up the festival circuit, including just winning the Audience Award at the Glasgow Film Festival. Director Alankrita Shrivastava is confirmed to attend and additional talent to be confirmed.

Festival will close with the Los Angeles premiere of HOTEL SALVATION, the debut feature of Shubhashish Bhutiani, whose 2013 short film KUSH was shortlisted for the Live Action Short Film Oscar and won IFFLA’s 2014 Audience Award. HOTEL SALVATION premiered in the College Cinema section of the 2016 Venice Film Festival. The film’s star Adil Hussain (LIFE OF PI, UMRIKA, PARCHED) will attend IFFLA’s Closing Night gala representing the film.

This year the festival will feature two World premieres, five North American premieres, five U.S. premieres, and eleven LA premieres. This festival premieres work representing nine languages, and highlights a combination of exciting first and second-time filmmakers and experienced cinema masters returning with new work.

More films from first-time directors will be presented this year than ever before, including the directorial debut of beloved actress Konkona Sen Sharma with her film A DEATH IN THE GUNJ featuring an all-star cast of Gulshan Devaiah, Kalki Koechlin, Om Puri and Vikrant Massey in this dramatic thriller. Additionally first-time filmmaker Ananya Kasaravalli brings THE CHRONICLES OF HARI, a beautiful film about a renowned theater actor’s struggle with gender identity which she co-wrote with writer Gopalakrisna Pai and her father, acclaimed Kannada language director Girish Kasaravalli. Also first-time filmmaker Padmakumar Narasimhamurthy with BILLION COLOUR STORY, which was included in Best of Fest in Palm Springs and recently played Busan and BFI London.

Also attending the festival this year to present their films will be a host of celebrated filmmakers, including Adoor Gopalakrishnan making the U.S. premiere of his twisted thriller ONCE AGAIN in Malayalam, and Suman Mukhopadhyay with the North American premiere of his gorgeous Bengali film INCOMPLETE.

IFFLA’s program features an impressive slate of award-winning and topical documentary films including MACHINES winner of the World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Excellence in Cinematography at Sundance, and THE CINEMA TRAVELERS directed by Shirley Abraham and Amit Madheshiya which wonL’Œil d’or Special Mention: Le Prix du documentaire at the Cannes Film Festival.

The U.S. Premiere of the highly anticipated documentary AN INSIGNIFICANT MAN, directed by Khushboo Ranka and Vinay Shukla, will also take place at IFFLA. The film centers on the polarizing political figure Arvind Kejriwal (sometimes referred to as the Bernie Sanders of India) and gives a stirring behind-the-scenes look at his creation of the progressive Aam Aadmi Party and their historic campaign in the 2013 Delhi state elections.

IFFLA alum Rajshri Deshpande stars in the controversial SEXY DURGA directed by Sanal Kumar Sasidharan, which recently won the coveted Hivor Tiger Award, the top prize at this year’s Rotterdam Film Festival.

Competing in the shorts program are 10 films, representing 9 different languages.

Shorts program highlights include: the world premieres of CITY OF LOVE, a Bengali film directed by Indranil Roychowdhury; and DEVI directed by Karishma Dube and starring a remarkable cast including Priyanka Bose (most recently seen in the Oscar-nominated LION) and Tanvi Azmi.

Making its U.S. premiere is the short film INFILTRATOR, directed by Gurvinder Singh whose first feature THE FOURTH DIRECTION premiered in Un Certain Regard at the Cannes Film Festival, and Sonejuhi Sinha’s newest film MILES OF SAND, starring Tannishta Chatterjee.

Other highlights of the short film program include the U.S. premieres of DISCO OBU, by Anand Kishore, which recently won a Special Jury Mention at the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival, and GUDH (NEST) by Saurav Rai, which had its world premiere at Cannes’ Cinefondation.

Spice Affair will host the Opening and Closing Night Gala receptions in Beverly Hills and Air India joins the festival as a Premiere Sponsor.

Tickets and Passes
The 15th Annual Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) runs April 5-9, 2017 at Regal L.A. LIVE: A Barco Innovation Center in Los Angeles, California. Gala tickets and passes are now available at www.indianfilmfestival.org. Tickets for individual films will go on sale on March 17, 2017. For more information please visitwww.indianfilmfestival.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter (@iffla).

About IFFLA

Now in its 15th year, the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) is a nonprofit organization devoted to a greater appreciation of Indian cinema and culture by showcasing films and promoting the diverse perspectives of the Indian diaspora.

The five-day festival is the premiere platform for the latest in cutting-edge global Indian cinema and bridges the gap between the two largest entertainment industries in the world – Hollywood and India. The festival will showcase more than 25 films from the Indian filmmaking community across the globe, host the highly anticipated Opening and Closing red carpet Galas, and the Closing Awards ceremony.

GALAS

OPENING NIGHT GALA

LIPSTICK UNDER MY BURKHA

India/2016/116mins/DCP/Hindi

Los Angeles Premiere

Director: Alankrita Shrivastava

Logline: Four women of different ages and backgrounds challenge sexual and social norms in Bhopal with consequences that are both tragic and inspiring.

Director Alankrita Shrivastava won the Spirit of Asia award at the Tokyo International Film Festival with this ambitious narrative set in Bhopal. Rehana is the titular burkha wearer who sings at open mics in defiance of her father’s warnings; Shirin is a superstar saleswoman, but must keep this triumph a secret from her faithless husband; Leela is trying to juggle a Muslim lover, a Hindu fiancé and her dream career as a bridal consultant; and Auntie Usha secretly reads racy novels and lusts after her swimming instructor. Two of the women are Hindu, two are Muslim, but all their stories come together when they attempt to challenge the sexual and social norms of Indian patriarchy.

An all-star cast brings these characters to life, including Konkona Sen Sharma, Ratna Pathak Shah, and Vikrant Massey. Shrivastava’s forthright depictions of sexuality have raised questions whether LIPSTICK UNDER MY BURKHA will be released uncensored in India. Be sure to catch this inspiring dramedy in its original edit at IFFLA while you can.

CLOSING NIGHT GALA

HOTEL SALVATION (MUKTI BHAWAN)

India/2016/103 mins/DCP /Hindi

LA Premiere

Director: Shubhashish Bhutiani

Logline: In the holy city of Varanasi, 77-year- old Daya waits for the end with his dutiful son in this debut feature by director Shubhashish Bhutiani.

After a prophetic dream, 77-year- old Daya (Lalit Behl) announces to his family his time has come and he wishes to travel to the holy city of Varanasi to die there. The task to accompany his father falls to his dutiful son Rajiv (Adil Hussain), who is nearly overwhelmed by the stress of his job and the upcoming marriage of his daughter. In Varanasi, they check into the Hotel Salvation, where guests wait for the end of their lives. Once there, though, Daya seems to be reinvigorated, and lifelong conflicts and feelings between father and son reemerge.

Following up with his 2014 Academy Award Live Action shortlist and IFFLA Audience Award winning short KUSH, director Shubhashish Bhutiani returns to IFFLA with his feature debut developed with the Biennale College Cinema project. Premiering at the Venice Film Festival, where it won the Prix Enrico Fulchignoni as the best Venice film to represent the values of peace and human rights, HOTEL SALVATION is an at times wry, but always heartfelt, depiction of the end of a patriarchy in a city where life and death are intimately intertwined.

DOCUMENTARY FEATURES

THE CINEMA TRAVELLERS

India/2016/96mins/DCP/Hindi, Marathi

Los Angeles Premiere

Directors: Shirley Abraham and Amit Madheshiya

Logline: In rural India, traveling cinema tents have brought films to generations of people, but for how long?

For decades, traveling tent cinemas have been bringing films to rural audiences across India. However with the explosion of digital technology and individual screens of all kinds, these communal social events are near extinction. In Maharashtra, two exhibitors, one relatively new to the business and the other a veteran, worry what will become of their occupation. Meanwhile, Prakash, a repairman of the projectors that generations of filmgoers have relied on, is close to realizing his dream invention of a reliable, self-oiling film projector, but who will want it?

In their debut feature, directors Shirley Abraham and Amit Madheshiya chronicle not just the inevitable end of traditional film exhibition, but also provide an elegy for an era. This moving documentary will speak to anyone who has spent time in a darkened space to be transported elsewhere. Beautifully shot and edited in a poetic and realistic style, and recognized with a Special Mention of the Golden Eye documentary award at Cannes, THE CINEMA TRAVELLERS is an unforgettable documentary about the universal magic of film going.

AN INSIGNIFICANT MAN

India/2016/96mins/DCP/Hindi, English

U.S. Premiere

Directors: Khushboo Ranka and Vinay Shukla

Logline: A behind-the-scenes look at Arvind Kejriwal’s formation of the Aam Aadmi Party, and the AAP’s turbulent, historic campaign in the 2013 Delhi state elections that fundamentally changed India’s political landscape.

When the newly formed Aam Aadmi Party – led by the polarizing political firebrand Arvind Kejriwal — challenged India’s long-dominant two party system in the 2013 Delhi state elections, expectations for victory were not high. Rooted in principles of anti-corruption and working class justice, the AAP faced the scorn of the political establishment, the indifference of the media and the growing pains of a new, revolutionary ideology struggling to remain pure through infighting, accusations and possible violent sabotage.

You may or may not be familiar with the historic results of this campaign, but you will no doubt be astounded by the behind-the-scenes access attained by first-time documentarians Khushboo Ranka and Vinay Shukla, whose film premiered at the 2016 Toronto Film Festival. Embedded in Kejriwal’s campaign for a year, these brilliant new filmmakers use their exclusive footage and media coverage to piece together a gripping, eye-opening account of the AAP’s herculean effort to wrestle power away from an establishment long divorced from the needs of its people. Whether your politics align with Kejriwal’s party or not, this film’s resonance in a world still reeling from years of bitter, contentious elections is without question.

MACHINES

India/2016/71mins/DCP/Hindi

Los Angeles Premiere

Director: Rahul Jain

Logline: In the bowels of textile mills in Gujarat, the toil of humans and machines continues endlessly.

In the bowels of a textile mill in Surat, Gujarat, machines churn out reams of fabric, powered not only by electricity but the toil of human labor. In his debut feature, Rahul Jain gains almost unlimited access to the dehumanizing world of textile production that recalls another era but is happening today. We meet some of the mill’s many workers who are keenly aware of their exploitation, working gruelling daily shifts for minimal wages that barely cover their own basic living expenses, to say nothing of supporting their distant families. Still the work continues, never ending.

Premiering at the prestigious IDFA festival in Amsterdam and in competition at Sundance, MACHINES depicts the claustrophobic and overwhelming sensory experience of being in the mills while remaining close to the human cost of material production. Eschewing the traditional documentary techniques of titles, talking head expert interviews or even extended dialogue, we experience the world of the textile mill in a way only possible through film. With intelligence and emotion, MACHINES is a cinematic experience unlike any other.


NARRATIVE FEATURES

A BILLION COLOUR STORY

India/2016/104mins/DCP/English, Hindi

Los Angeles Premiere

Director: Padmakumar Narasimhamurthy

Logline: When financial hardship and religious intolerance tests his family’s faith in their beloved India, 11-year-old Hari hatches a plan to lift his parents’ spirits.

11-year-old Hari Aziz lives a blissful life in Mumbai with his parents, a pair of Bohemian filmmakers whose optimistic views have been embedded into their son’s DNA. Hari approaches the world with refreshing openness and curiosity, but soon the social realities of a country in crisis pose a challenge to his family’s gentle existence. Financial hardships force the family to move out of their beloved house, and Hari’s mom and dad – a Hindu woman and a Muslim man, neither one particularly observant – face a sort of religious intolerance from both sides that they had long hoped would disappear from India.

First-time feature director Paddy Narasimhamurthy has gathered accolades from across the festival world with this inspiring story, a clarion call for mutual respect and understanding. Armed with the hopeful notion that there is much more to unite than divide us, A BILLION COLOUR STORY fascinatingly argues that perhaps the issues that cause so much turmoil could find their solution within the innocent ideas of a child.


CHRONICLES OF HARI

India/2016/105mins/DCP/Kannada

Los Angeles Premiere

Director: Ananya Kasaravalli

Logline: A renowned actor who portrays female roles in a traditional, all-male theater troupe struggles with questions of gender identity in his everyday life.

Set in the lush coastal regions of Karnataka, first-time director Ananya Kasaravalli’s CHRONICLES OF HARI delves into the unique, ornate world of traditional Yakshagana theater and finds within it a sensitive, compassionate portrayal of a man troubled by questions of tradition and identity. In this story co-written with Ananya’s father, parallel cinema pioneer Girish Kasaravalli, Hari, a renowned actor who performs the female roles in his all-male acting troupe, finds himself holding on to certain female-associated traits once his lavish costumes and makeup are removed. He prefers to wear a sari, his delicate features are a stark contrast from the other men in the village, and when potential female companions approach he’s at a loss how to behave.

Kasaravalli and her lead actor, a magnetic Shrunga Vasudevan, tenderly examine both Hari’s desire to accept himself and to gain acceptance from his friends, family and neighbors. In a place ill-equipped to deal with any deviation from the status quo, Hari’s struggle becomes both an internal battle against his natural instincts and a fight for survival in an increasingly dangerous environment.

A DEATH IN THE GUNJ

India/2016/104mins/DCP/Hindi, English

Los Angeles Premiere

Director: Konkona Sen Sharma

Logline: Simmering tensions and buried resentments transform an idyllic family holiday into a powder keg in this directorial debut from celebrated actor Konkona Sen Sharma.

Celebrated actress Konkona Sen Sharma steps behind the camera for an electrifying directorial debut with A DEATH IN THE GUNJ. Set in 1979, a wealthy family arrives at their vacation home in the Anglo-Indian town of McCluskiegunj. Several generations have gathered for an idyllic week of relaxation, games, sun-bathing and merriment, but tension soon arises when young Shutu – a college student taking an abrupt break from his studies – begins to bear the brunt of his relatives’ barely-masked disdain and superiority.

The all-star cast (consisting of luminaries like Om Puri, Kalki Koechlin, Vikrant Massey, Ranvir Shorey and Tillotama Shome) expertly portrays a family blissfully unaware of the damage their unexamined privilege is causing, and Sen Sharma subtly pokes at their entitlement in ways both unnerving and humorous (note the servants who wonder aloud when these pesky intruders will pack up and leave). As simmering tensions and buried resentments turn the secluded home into a powder keg poised to explode, Sen Sharma’s confident direction announces her as a fierce new filmmaking talent.

THE GOLDEN WING

India/2016/86mins/DCP/Rajbangshi

North American Premiere

Director: Bobby Sarma Baruah

Logline: The true story of Pratima Baruah Pandey, a woman born to royalty in Western Assam who forsook a traditional life of marriage and domesticity to dedicate herself to the beautiful folk music of her region.

Set among the breathtaking landscapes of Western Assam, Bobby Sarma Baruah’s second feature foregoes the traditional structure of the all-too-common biopic to deliver an enchanting, positively gorgeous portrayal of the life of Pratima Baruah Pandey. Born to royalty in 1935, Pandey found her passion in the folk songs performed by the working people of her region, rather than in the life of marriage and domesticity expected of a woman of her circumstance. She forsook tradition by dedicating her life to learning these songs – usually sung by boatmen and buffalo herders – and sharing them with the world.


Although Pandey performed all over the world and appeared in films by celebrated directors, Baruah’s film remains firmly planted in Pandey’s home territory. Through mesmerizing visuals and captivating music, she pens a love letter to the Assamese people and their land. The way Baruah skillfully weaves music into her narrative recalls the brilliant work of British director Terence Davies, where songs are used to express the deep emotional bonds of a community. Original recordings of Pandey’s vocals are used throughout the film, bringing new life and a much-deserved spotlight to a woman and a cultural tradition both in danger of being forgotten.

INCOMPLETE

India/2017/120mins/DCP/Bengali

North American Premiere

Director: Suman Mukhopadhyay

Logline: Indrajit, an intelligent yet indecisive man of 35, finds himself embroiled in marital discord, romantic rivalry and intriguing secrets when he pays a visit to an old friend.

Set in a lush, breathtaking mountain region of West Bengal, celebrated filmmaker Suman Mukhopadhyay’s latest triumph boasts a rich, vividly portrayed ensemble of characters and an intricate, unpredictable story with the resonance of a great novel. Indrajit (played by the consistently stellar Ritwick Chakraborty) is an intelligent if indecisive man of 35 on holiday from Kolkata to visit his old college friend Moloy. He arrives to find Moloy constantly battling with his neglected wife Tuki, a formidable woman seeking elsewhere for the tenderness she fails to receive at home. In town, Indrajit comes across a familiar man whose insistence that they’ve never met before clearly masks an intriguing secret. Then, Indrajit runs into an old lover and her jealous husband, setting the stage for some fierce confrontation.

At the root of this engrossing story is Indrajit’s budding realization that his non-committal attitude towards life and love may have left him irreversibly adrift. While he may avoid the intensity of his friends’ relationships – which lead to daily shouting matches, rocks thrown through windows, threats and uncertainty – his own life has begun to feel increasingly hollow. Gorgeously filmed in an environment of towering forest trees, misty rainfall and ethereal fog, Mukhopadhyay’s film feels like the work of a master operating in peak form.

LADY OF THE LAKE

India/2016/71mins/DCP/Manipuri

Los Angeles Premiere

Director: Haobam Paban Kumar

Logline: Both the fragile ecology of Lake Loktak and its fishing community are in danger in this breathtaking docudrama shot in Manipur.

Beginning with the breathtaking opening shot, filmmaker Haobam Paban Kumar introduces us to a unique culture on a scale that is both intimate and panoramic. In the state of Manipur in northern India, families of fisherman live on small islands of biomass called phumdis floating on Lake Loktak. In 2011, citing pollution concerns, government authorities forcibly displaced inhabitants and burned their homes.

Using the incident as his inspiration, Kumar has created a Medium Cool-like docudrama filmed on Loktak with non-professional actors. In one moving scene, the women of the village gather together with their small children to decry their husbands’ apathy in the face of the imminent destruction of their community. But when one of the men finds a gun on a phumdi, things go from bad to worse.

The performers’ presentational delivery, the fiction/non-fiction hybridity, and the subtle presence of the supernatural in LADY OF THE LAKE evokes the experimentations of Werner Herzog and Apichatpong Weerasethakul. In spite of the film’s quietude, audiences are certain to find it startling, compelling and unforgettable.

ONCE AGAIN

India/2016/121mins/DCP/Malayalam

U.S. Premiere

Director: Adoor Gopalakrishnan

Logline: Dileep gives a staggering performance as an earnest family man who can’t catch a break. But when a stroke of good luck reveals a hidden side to his personality, it’s the people who love him who have to face the consequences.

Veteran Malayalam filmmaker Adoor Gopalakrishnan made a welcome return to the festival circuit at the Toronto International Film Festival last year with his new gripping drama ONCE AGAIN.

In the first half of the film, Dileep plays Purushothaman, an earnest and humble man who has been unable to find a job for the past eight years. His wife, Devi, is a teacher, and she and her family have supported him all this time. Though the family members recognize Purushothaman’s diligent attempts to find work, they seem to also resent his bad luck. But everything changes when a well-paying job in Dubai suddenly comes through that changes the family’s fortunes.

However, when Purushothaman returns, his plan to permanently provide for his family transforms Gopalakrishnan’s naturalistic drama into an unpredictable film noir. The head-spinning mid-film tonal change exemplifies the best of Eastern cinematic storytelling, a kind of narrative boldness rarely scene in mainstream Western films. Thanks to Dileep’s staggering performance as a mild-mannered man with uncharted depths, IFFLA audiences won’t be able to predict the twists and turns in store in ONCE AGAIN.

SEXY DURGA

India/2017/85mins/DCP/Malayalam

Los Angeles Premiere

Director: Sanal Kumar Sasidharan

Logline: The fate of star crossed lovers Kabeer and Durga rests in the hands of drivers on a dark and desolate road in Kerala.

When it won the prestigious Tiger award at Rotterdam this year, the critical responses to SEXY DURGA were both squeamish and rapturous. Was Sanal Kumar Sasidharan’s road movie about star-crossed lovers unrelentingly provocative, or a masterly exposure of the vulnerability of women in Indian society to exploitation that masquerades as chivalry? The answer is: it’s both.

After a jaw-dropping opening sequence documenting the rites dedicated to Kali in Kerala, the audience is introduced to Kabeer and his beloved Durga, named for another facet of the goddess. They have eloped in the middle of the night, with angry families behind them and a late night journey on a desolate road ahead. Hitchhiking leaves them dependent on the good will of drivers, but the motives of the people who pick them up remain inscrutable.

Sasidharan’s manipulation of the audience and his characters’ uncertainty is a fascinating plot engine, captured in skillfully choreographed long takes. Risk-taking cinemagoers will be rewarded with an intense and suspenseful experience that demonstrates the vanguard of independent Indian filmmaking.

SOMETIMES (SILA SAMAYANGALIL)

India/2016/101mins/Blu-Ray/Tamil

LA Premiere

Director: Priyadarshan

Logline: For a group of strangers, the unbearable tension of waiting for HIV test results is made even more intense when they learn one has the infection in this socially groundbreaking film from master director Priyadarshan.

In a nondescript waiting room at a medical clinic, a group of strangers waits for test results. Everyone is desperate not to admit what they have tested for: HIV. As they grow frustrated with the reality that they will have to wait until the end of the day to receive results, they come up with the idea to bribe the receptionist, who is dealing with her own personal problems and desperate for the money. She comes back with the news that only serves to make the wait more tortuous.

While an HIV/AIDS epidemic has been spreading throughout India, popular culture has been reluctant toface it head on. Master multi-language filmmaker Priyadarshan tackles the subject with surprising humor and real humanity, showing how the disease can strike anyone, even those in the middle class. With performances by an array of familiar faces from Tamil cinema, SOMETIMES is an urgent film for our time.

SHORT FILMS

AABA (GRANDFATHER)

India/2016/21mins/DCP/Apatani

Los Angeles Premiere

Director: Amar Kaushik

Logline:A beautiful and haunting meditation on the transience of life, set amidst the stunning remote valleys of Arunachal Pradesh.

In a remote valley of Aruchanal Pradesh, a young girl faces the impending death of her beloved grandfather. As she watches him meticulously prepare a comfortable resting place, she struggles to reconcile her own feelings of grief with her grandfather’s unnervingly gentle approach to dying. But even in death, life can take an unexpected turn.

A tender and haunting meditation on life’s eternal cycle. The film won the Best Short Film award in the Generation Kplus section of the Berlin Film Festival.

CITY OF LOVE (BHALOBASHAR SHOHOR)

India/2016/29mins/DCP/Bengali, Hindi, English, Arabic

World Premiere

Director: Indranil Roychowdhury

Logline:After fleeing war-torn Syria, a young mother in Kolkata must face the grim reality of caring for her invalid child.

A Hindu woman elopes with her Muslim lover to Syria where he has found construction work. The couple’s dreams for a better life together appear to be well within reach, especially with the birth of a beautiful daughter. But a few years later, the woman is back in Kolkata, waiting to hear news about her husband from the Indian embassy in Damascus, and struggling to care for her invalid child.

Masterfully directed by IFFLA alum Indranil Roychowdhury (PHORING) this gripping portrait of a decimated family’s struggle for survival captures the catastrophic consequences of war with clarity and a rawness of emotion that is at once harrowing and imperative.

DEVI (GODDESS)

India/2017/13mins/DCP/Hindi, Bengali, English

World Premiere

Director: Karishma Dube

Logline:A young woman’s attraction for her childhood maid ignites familial and social strife within a New Delhi household.

Harassed by her peers for exploring her sexual desires with women, Tara, an impulsive teenager, defiantly stands up against an upper middle class upbringing firmly rooted in tradition and good social standing. But her stance within New Delhi’s classist and homophobic society will be put to the test when her attraction to her childhood maid starts to wreak havoc within her family.

Artful direction and gripping performances by Aditi Vasudev, Priyanka Bose and Tanvi Azmi shine in this piercing examination of sexuality, class and the chains of privilege.


DISCO OBU

India/2017/20mins/DCP/ Hindi, English, Kannada

U.S. Premiere

Director: Anand Kishore

Logline: A TV crew films a day in the life of a former Bollywood superstar turned rickshaw driver, eager to capture a tragic portrait of a broken man. The only problem is, the man couldn’t be happier with his life.

A clumsy TV crew documents a day in the life of Obu, a rickshaw driver who decades ago used to be a Bollywood sensation as the star of the film Disco Das. Determined to make a marketable tearjerker, the crew will do whatever it takes to capture a portrait of a broken man who still laments his tragic fall from riches to rags. The only problem is, Obu couldn’t be happier with his life.

This acutely observed tale is a humorous and poignant take on the ephemeral nature of fame and man’s affection for the tragedy of others. The film won a Special Jury Mention at the Clermont-Ferrand International Film Festival.

GUDH (NEST)

India/2015/28mins/DCP/Nepali

U.S. Premiere

Director: Saurav Rai

Logline:Delicate threads of a lost childhood unravel as a young boy recalls the rural life he led with his parents, before political strife forced him to move to the city.

Threads of a lost childhood unravel, as a ten-year-old boy recalls the rural life he led with his parents before political strife forced him to move to the city with his grandparents.

Evocatively photographed, this tender exploration of the profound powers of memory and the delicate fabric of childhood immerses us into a fluid world of breathtaking wonder and immense feeling. The film premiered at Cannes’ Cinefondation.

INFILTRATOR

Turkey/2016/15mins/DCP/Punjabi

U.S. Premiere

Director: Gurvinder Singh

Logline:A curious pigeon intrudes upon the wedding preparations of a police officer, instantly igniting commotion in the security operations of the Indo-Pakistan border area.

A curious pigeon barges into the home ofa police officer, disrupting the wedding preparations that are underway. Spotting a cryptic message on its wings, the officer takes the bird to the police station and soon an investigation is underway that causes havoc in the security operations of the Indo-Pakistan border.

Based on true events and masterfully directed by Gurvinder Singh (THE FOURTH DIRECTION), this satirical take on the Indo-Pakistani conflict is an insightful commentary on the absurdity of rigid divides, and the whirlwinds of fear and paranoia that can turn even a symbol of peace into a fearsome enemy.

MILES OF SAND

India/Sweden/2016/12mins/DCP/Hindi

North American Premiere

Director: Sonejuhi Sinha

Logline:Under mounting pressure from her lenders, a single mother in rural India faces an impossible dilemma.

Working as a mourner for hire at village funerals to supplement her meager income, a single mother in Rajasthan faces an impossible dilemma when the village elders demand repayment of their loan.

Formidably performed by the talented Tannishtha Chatterjee (PARCHED, ISLAND CITY) and evocatively photographed amidst a vast arid landscape, this haunting character study rises into a powerful outcry against a patriarchal society’s deep-rooted system of legitimized abuse.

SPICE SISTERS

Australia/2016/15mins/DCP/English

North American Premiere

Director: Sheila Jayadev

Logline:Tired of slaving over delicious meals that are taken for granted by their own families, two middle-aged women decide to spice things up by pursuing a place on a popular reality cooking show.

Tired of slaving over delicious meals that are taken for granted by their own families, Rohini and Asha, two middle-aged Indian women living in suburban Australia, decide to spice things up by setting their sights on winning a spot on the nation’s most popular reality cooking show.

A heartfelt tale of disillusionment turns into a joyous celebration of the mighty untapped potential of middle age, for those who believe that dreams do not have an expiration date.

SWEETHEART (KAMUKI)

India/2016/24mins/DCP/Malayalam

North American Premiere

Director: Christo Tomy

Logline:When a feisty teenager discovers she is pregnant, nothing can stop her from reclaiming her estranged boyfriend back into her life.

When Divya, a feisty school girl, discovers she is pregnant, nothing can stop her from tracking down her estranged boyfriend and claiming him back into her life.

Delicate emotions are examined with impeccable precision in this intimate and nuanced exploration of the ephemeral nature of young love and its mighty illusions, that are forces to be reckoned with. The film won an Indian National Award for Direction.

THE KILL

India/USA/2016/15mins/DCP/Marathi

Los Angeles Premiere

Director: Anay Tarnekar

Logline:A man’s trusting relationship with another wild beast is put to the test.

Loathed by his wife for drinking away her meager income and facing pressure from his lenders, a debt-ridden tribal man in central India struggles to keep afloat. When an opportunity arises for the man to shed the web of shame he’s been living under, his trusting relationship with a formidable beast will be put to the test.

Silences speak loudly in this haunting examination of man’s eternal rivalry with nature, framed by evocative visuals, and anchored by engrossing performances from Girish Kulkarni and Radhika Apte.


AVON 39