Wednesday, January 21, 2015

“Court” selected for Film Society of Lincoln Center’s 
44th edition of New Directors/New Films (March 18-29)

The Museum of Modern Art and the Film Society of Lincoln Center today announced the initial nine official selections for the 44th edition of New Directors/New Films (ND/NF), a festival dedicated to the discovery of new works by emerging and dynamic filmmaking talent.

Representing 11 countries from around the world, the initial nine selections are Chaitanya Tamhane’s Court (India), Charles Poekel’s Christmas, Again (USA), , Rick Alverson’s Entertainment (USA), Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz’s Goodnight Mommy (Austria), Sarah Leonor’s The Great Man (France), Nadav Lapid’s The Kindergarten Teacher (Israel/France), Naji Abu Nowar’s Theeb (Jordan/Qatar/United Arab Emirates/UK), Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy’s The Tribe (Ukraine), and Korn√©l Mundrucz√≥’s White God (Hungary).

 Winner of numerous prizes at film festivals, including the Luigi De Laurentiis Award and the Venice Horizons Award at the Venice Film Festival, Chaitanya Tamhane’s Court is a devastating exploration of a kangaroo court process railroading an aging folk singer. Another multiple prizewinner is Naji Abu Nowar’s Theeb. Winner of the Jury Prize for Best Cinematography and Art Direction at the Cairo International Film Festival, Best Directorial Debut at Camerimage, and the Venice Horizons Award for Best Director at the Venice Film Festival, the film is a coming-of-age story of a young Bedouin boy as he guides a British officer through harsh territory.

Vira Sathidar in the film 'Court'
Chaitanya Tamhane, India, 2014, 116 mins
Marathi, Gujarati, and Hindi with English subtitles

Winner of top prizes at the Venice and Mumbai Film Festivals, Chaitanya Tamhane’s Court is a quietly devastating, absurdist portrait of injustice, caste prejudice, and venal politics in contemporary India. An elderly folk singer and grassroots organizer, dubbed the “people’s poet,” is arrested on a trumped-up charge of inciting a sewage worker to commit suicide. His trial is a ridiculous and harrowing display of institutional incompetence, with endless procedural delays, coached witnesses for the prosecution, and obsessive privileging of arcane colonial law over reason and mercy. What truly distinguishes Court, however, is Tamhane’s brilliant ensemble cast of professional and nonprofessional actors; his affecting mixture of comedy and tragedy; and his naturalist approach to his characters and to Indian society as a whole, rich with complexity and contradiction.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

MEDIA ALERT: FINAL DEADLINE for the 13th Annual Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA)

The Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) has its Final Deadline (January 16, 2015) fast approaching!

We would greatly appreciate if you would be able to share this information as the last call for entries for the 2015 season:

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA (January 7, 2015) - 
The Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles or IFFLA’s final submission deadline is fast approaching on January 16th! This is the last chance to enter films for consideration in the 2015 festival!

IFFLA’s 2015 Grand Jury Prize winner for Best Feature will be awarded a free participation in the Carpe Diem artists-in-residence program, a retreat designed to allow artists an opportunity to create new works in a stimulating environment.  With residencies in India and Spain, Carpe Diem engages artists in intensive workshops, brainstorming sessions, and thought-provoking conversations dealing with cross-cultural art and trans-media storytelling. The winner will get to choose from one of these exciting locations for their residency: Almora (Kalmatia Sangam), Rishikesh (Rainforest House), Kerala (Lily Pad) and Spain (Darabenaz)! 

For more info about Carpe Diem and this incredible opportunity, CLICK HERE!
The link to the updated information is here:

Our Call for Entries is included below as well. 

Please let me know should you need any additional information to post. 

13th Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA)  ArcLight Hollywood
The 13th annual Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) is now accepting entries for the 2015 festival being held April 8 -12, 2015 at ArcLight Hollywood, an iconic, state-of-the-art facility in the heart of Los Angeles. 
Categories: Features, Documentaries and Shorts with Animation welcome in all categories.
Awards: Films compete for Jury and Audience Choice Awards for Best Feature Film and Best Short Film.  
New to 2015:  Feature films will also be eligible to receive Awards for Best Actor and Best Actress.
Get a glimpse of what filmmakers and film industry executives are saying about IFFLA.
TO SUBMIT YOUR FILM, please visit
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, supporting emerging filmmakers, recognizing the leadership of entertainment industry professionals, and promoting the diverse  perspectives of the Indian diaspora. 
IFFLA 2014 saw a rise in attendance, publicity, and support from all the major US studios. Over 8,000 people attended the festival, which screened over 30 films. In addition to providing filmmakers a premier showcase for their work, IFFLA also facilitates access to distributors, agents, producers and other entertainment professionals based in Hollywood through a series of industry events, includingreceptions  and the exclusive One-on-One program.

Friday, January 2, 2015

19th International Film Festival of Kerala



Through 2014, the lack of funding and also able management dealt near-fatal blows to leading film festivals held across India. Mumbai’s annual MAMI held in October almost collapsed because its sole sponsor did not renew its support. Help from the film capital’s younger film fraternity (namely frontline crusaders Anupama Chopra and Kiran Rao) salvaged the event, lending it a flourish under festival director Narayan’s well-attuned baton. It is Narayan’s leadership that has helped MAMI make its mark in recent years, not only internationally but also in its over-driven host city. Speculation is rife on what avatar MAMI will don when it surfaces in 2015. 

The highly respected, somewhat high-brow International Film Festival of Kerala (KIFF) held towards mid-December also floundered when its feisty and knowledgeable Artistic Director, Bina Venugopalan, left after a ten-year association to head the newly formed Kerala branch of Prasad Laboratories However, festival luminary Adoor Gopalakrishnan along with the film personalities heading Chalachitra Academy (the organization that hosts KIFF) led a last-minute rescue operation that surprised one and all. 

Held over December 12 to 19, the 19th edition of KIFF had its usual film-hungry audience that filled its numerous over 1000-seater single screen theatres to dangerous levels. The local movie buffs are so enamoured of festival fare that they bypass any disciplinary measures. The serpentine line-up at festival theatres starts at dawn. The triumphant ticket-holders then hurtle in hundreds into the theatres, speeding past all those in their way. With all seats occupied in to no time, the abandoned rest then squat all along the aisles or stand jam packed at the entrance and exit doors. Huddled is acute discomfort, they seem satiated, waiting in amicable anticipation to watch the film they have fought to see. 

On one such occasion, the august international jury arrived to find no way of even getting into the hall much less hope for seats. An announcement was made to spare five seats for the august jury trying to do their duty. Within seconds, five volunteers gave up their comfort zone to slide into the body of people thronging the aisles. 

In recent years, KIFF organisers have been grappled with the problem of such uncontrollable crowds in their cinema halls which endanger fire and health concerns. This year an attempt was made to introduce on-line registration to balance the ticket-seat ratio and offer only as many tickets as the cinema hall offers. But the technology fell short of demand and an onslaught of enquiries. Chaos followed. Typically, the fiery film aficionados got their way and filled every inch of the halls. People from abroad, used to bland, orderly understatement when it came to the arts, just loved this passionate abandon when it came to the love of their films. 

2014 KIFF offered a feast of international films even if the programming was somewhat unruly. This festival highlights films from Asia. Africa and Latin America. Its eminent guests included the Cannes award winner Nuri Bilge Ceylan from Turkey was a prominent guest with his lauded film Winter Sleep. closing night guest with his film Wintersleep, and from Italy, Marco Bellocchio received the Lifetime Achievement Award. Sumitra Peries from Sri Lanka delivered the Aravindan Memorial Lecture. The Suvarna Chakoram for Best Film went to the Argentina/France film Refugiado directed by Diego Lerman. 

A new initiative, The Film Market for the Promotion of Malayalam Cinema, was introduced this year at KIFF, aiming to increase the awareness and reach of Malayalam cinema starting with Kerala itself, then within India and importantly, out into the world film scene. Over the past decade or more, regional cinema has been noticeably absent from leading international festivals. Malayalam cinema, highly sought after in the 70s and 80s, now barely make it even to smaller festivals. Besides, award winning Malayalam films do not get released even in Kerala. 

KIFF’s Film Market chose the most recent 18 Malayalam festival-worthy films and set up a three member international jury, June Givanni (London), Jacob Wong (Hong Kong) and Paulo Bertolin (Italy), to select the best among them that they felt could appeal to foreign audiences. These eminent persons know that art-house films often are marginalized and need support to be brought into the mainstream. The jury chose four films, Sudevan’s Cr No 89, Sajin Babu’s Unto the Dusk, Sidhartha Siva’s Zahir, and K R Manoj’s Kanakya Talkies. Chalachitra Academy has made it their mandate to promote and publicize these films throughout the year to help their world-wide visibility. 

The response to KIFF’s Film Market to promote independent Malayalam cinema has been rewarding. Two of the selected four films have already been invited to. Within two weeks, two of these films have been selected by the upcoming Hong Kong International Film Festival. Other festival and market enquiries are coming in. There can now be an effort to screen packages of new Malayalam films. Chalachatra Academy can offer support in strategic ways to new and promising Malayalam cinema.. 

All’s well that ends well? Happy New Year!

                                           Courtesy: - India's first independent on-line daily                                                   launched on January 27, 2014.
                                            Reproducing Uma da Cunha's column dated January 1, 2015.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Call for entry: 62nd National Film Awards
Entries are invited for the 62nd National Film Awards in Feature films, Non-feature films and Best Writing on Cinema categories.
In co-productions, at least one of the producers must be an Indian entity. The director should be an Indian citizen and the cast and crew should be predominantly Indian nationals. The film should have been certified by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) between 1st January 2014 and 31st December 2014.
Film professionals & technicians of foreign origin can also be considered for Awards. All films must carry English subtitles.
Last date for receipt of the application along with the print or Digi-beta (as the case may be) in the Directorate of Film Festivals, shall be 20th January, 2015.