Friday, March 9, 2012

India at the 11th Tribeca International Film Festival

Nisha Pahuja’s The World Before Her open’s Tribeca’s documentary section.

The 11th Tribeca International Film Festival, founded by actor Robert De Niro to showcase independent cinema, will be held across New York city from April 18 to 29. The complete line-up of the festival, announced on March 8, for the first time designated the opening films for narrative and documentary competition The opening film for the World Documentary section is The World Before Her, directed by Canada-based Nisha Pahuja.

The World Before Her follows the journey of two girls who want to win the Miss India Contest, taking the viewer through an India divided on political, economic and cultural lines. As in other countries that are patriarchal, beauty pageants are a lightning rod in India, revealing a country poised to enter the future, yet still unsure of what that future will be. The film weaves together the seemingly opposing stories of the Miss India beauty pageant and the opposition the event faces from a fundamentalist camp for girls. Director Nisha Pahuja illuminates the situation of women across contemporary India, drawing surprising parallels in the way women are perceived and the opportunities that are afforded them in both modernizing and traditional cultures. The film, In English, Hindi, Marathi and Gujarati, is produced by Ed Barreveld and Cornelia Principe for the banner Storyline Entertainment.

Writer/Director Nisha Pahuja is a documentary filmmaker, researcher and writer. She recently co-wrote and directed Diamond Road, a three part series on the global diamond trade which explores the diverse realities of people whose lives revolve around this gem – from the impoverished miners of Sierra Leone to the wealthy dealers of New York. The series has been broadcast on ZDF/Arte; NHK; TVO; History and Discovery Times among others. It received the 2008 Gemini award for best documentary series. The feature version of Diamond Road premiered at IDFA in 2007. Pahuja’s Bollywood Bound, has screened at numerous film festivals and was widely telecast around the world. It was nominated for a Gemini in 2002. Her print writing has appeared in Elle magazine and various anthologies. She has recently done some writing for filmmakers Deepa Mehta and David Hamilton.

Tribeca’s 2012 film selection, chosen from a total of 5950 submissions, a record number for the Festival. includes feature films from 32 different countries, including 54 World Premieres, 4 International Premieres, 16 North American Premieres, 10 U.S. Premieres and six New York Premieres. A total of 107 directors will be presenting feature works at the Festival, with 33 of these filmmakers presenting their feature directorial debuts. Among these directors, 25 are women. Twenty-six feature film directors are returning TFF filmmakers. In addition to the Competition and Viewpoints categories, the Festival presents feature-length films in the Spotlight, Cinemania and Special screenings sections.