Friday, March 28, 2014

Dev Benegal’s latest project “Dead, End”
wins award at the 12th Hong Kong-Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF)

Dev Benegal has been in the limelight with news that his film Bombay Samurai was getting set to go into production with Kareena Kapoor and Farhan Akhtar playing the lead roles.

However, his latest project appears to have taken first place now. Written by Dev Benegal along with Sarat Rao, the project titled Dead,End has won the Network of Asian Fantastic Films Award at the 12th Hong Kong- Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF). This event concluded on 26 March, 2014.

The award, presented by the Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival, comprises of a cash component of US $2,700.

Dead, End is a black comedy, co-produced by Satish Kaushik and Dev Benegal, about the life of Lala Bihari, a farmer from Uttar Pradesh who was declared dead from 1976 to 1994.  After a relative, in a bid to unsurp his land, proved that Bihari had died the latter had to fight against the bureaucracy to prove that he is alive.

Benegal latest film Road, Movie (2009), starring Abhay Deol, Tannishtha Chatterjee and Satish Kaushik, had screened at international film festivals like Berlin, Toronto and Tribeca.

The Lunchbox wins high honours at the Asian Film Awards 
The Asian Oscar for Best Scriptwriter goes to Ritesh Batra 
The Asian Oscar for 
Best Actor goes to Irrfan Khan

Announced March 28th in Hong Kong ...
Ritesh Batra of The Lunchbox  won the Best Screenwriter title for his first feature film - The Lunchbox.

Irrfan Khan,  who plays the lead role in The Lunchboxedged out hot favorite Tony Leung from The Grandmaster to bag the Best Actor crown. The other nominees in the Best Actor category were Masaharu Fukuyama (Japan, Like Father, Like Son), Song Kang-ho (Korea, The Attorney) and Lee Kangsheng (Taiwan, Stray Dogs).

The highly acclaimed Bollywood actor, who has starred in The Life of Pi and Slumdog Millionaire, was “honoured and delighted to have been nominated with such great actors”.

Complete Awards List
Lifetime Achievement: Hou Hsiao-Hsien
Best Film: The Grandmaster
Best Director: Wong Kar-wai, The Grandmaster
Best Actor: Irrfan Khan, The Lunchbox
Best Actress: Zhang Ziyi, The Grandmaster
Best Newcomer: Jiang Shuying, So Young
Best Supporting Actor: Huang Bo, No Man’s Land
Best supporting actress: Yeo Yann Yann, Ilo Ilo
Best Screenwriter: Ritesh Batra, The Lunchbox
Best Cinematographer: Philippe Le Sourd, The Grandmaster
Best Production Designer: 
William Chang Suk Ping, Alfred Yau Wai Ming, The Grandmaster
Best Composer:
Nathaniel Mechaly, Umebayashi Shigeru, The Grandmaster
Best Editor: Shin Min-kyung, Cold Eyes
Best Visual Effects: Jung Sung-jin, Mr Go
Best Costume designer: William Chang Suk Ping, The Grandmaster

About Asian Film Awards
The annual Asian Film Awards was established in 2007 as the first awards to recognize cinematic talents across Asia. The only awards ceremony in the world that brings together the region’s cinematic elites, the AFA has garnered well-deserved attention from both industry professionals and movie fans alike.
This year's Asian Film Awards spanned 12 industry experts on the jury, 73 nominations, 26 films, and 14 award categories from 13 countries. The awards were jointly organised by the powerhouses of Asian cinema, comprising of the AFA Academy and its constituent partners – Busan International Film Festival, Hong Kong Film Festival Society and Tokyo International Film Festival.
The AFA strives to promote cultural exchange between film professionals from all across Asia with the ambition of propelling Asian films to greater heights.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The India connect at

28th Fribourg International Film Festival

March 29 to April 5, 2014

Opening Film - Genre Cinema: Survive!
Ravi Kumar’s A Prayer for Rain 
Cast: Mischa Barton, Martin Sheen, Kal Penn, Rajpal Yadav, Tannishtha Chatterjee

In the night of 3 December 1984, in Bhopal, 40 tonnes of methyl isocyanate poured out of a factory belonging to the American pesticide company Union Carbide. The poison spread first into the slums, where the fleeing workers had initially gone in search of first aid, but were now stranded by the thousands. The accident left over 25,000 dead and more than 500,000 injured. It is the biggest industrial disaster in history.

Ravi Kumar was born in 1971 in Central India, not far from Bhopal. Before studying film in the USA, he had trained in Great Britain as a paediatrician. He was first noticed as a director in 1999 with his short film The Shave, followed by My Other Wheelchair is a Porsche (2001) and Notting Hill Anxiety Festival (2003, with Julie Delpy). A Prayer for Rain is his first feature film.

Richie Mehta’s Siddharth
Cast: Rajesh Tailang, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Anurag Arora, Shobha Sharma Jassi , Geeta Agrawal Sharma

A father from New Delhi, who can barely keep the family afloat by repairing zippers, sends his twelve-year old son out to another province to earn some money. The boy is actually supposed to come back home after a month, but he never shows up again. The illiterate father sets out to find his son and encounters all kinds of adversities to which Indian children are exposed.

Richie Mehta was born in Toronto, where he not only studied, but also made numerous short films. His short film Amal (2004) was transformed into the feature film of the same name Amal (2007), which earned him the Jury Prize at the San Francisco Film Festival. To be able to film his country of origin, Mehta then worked on the TV documentary film series The Spirit of South Asia (2010). I’ll Follow You Down came out in 2013, his first purely Canadian production.

Christoph Schaub, Kamal Musale’s Millions Can Walk
Screenplay: Christoph Schaub, Paolo Poloni (in collaboration with), Editing: Marina Wernli,

Thousands upon thousands of Indian people have marched for justice right across their country from Gwalior to Delhi. These men, women and children belong to the poorest people in their society, the Untouchable caste, people without means and without rights, and forced labourers. On their journey of over 400 kilometres under the scorching sun, in a constant fight against illness, this protest march shows all the facets of the harsh reality of daily life.

Christoph Schaub was born in Zurich in 1958 and since the 1980s, he has been one of Switzerland’s engaged filmmakers. Since 1983, he has alternated between directing documentary films (Bird’s Nest – Herzog&De Meuron in China, 2008) and fiction (Julia's Disappearance, 2009).

Kamal Musale, a Swiss of Indian origin, was born in Saint Maurice in 1960. He studied at the Beaconsfield National Film and Television School. As a jack of all trades in the film industry, he has spent the last three decades working on personal projects and reporting assignments.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

CAAMFest, San Francisco screens 
two Indian films featured in 2013 Busan's Wide Angle  ...

Omkar Barve's  Morning Walk
Tenzin Tsetan Oklay's  Bringing Tibet Home
CAAMFest  (The Center for Asian American Media Festival)  held in the San Francisco Bay Area, USA, presented short films and documentaries shown in the Wide Angle section of the Busan International Film Festival. From March 13 to 23, the Wide Angle Spotlight showcased Korean and Asian films for the audiences who might not be familiar with works from the region.

CAAM (The Center for Asian American Media) is a non-profit organization dedicated to presenting stories that convey the richness and diversity of Asian American experiences.

The complete list of films shown at CAAMFest ...
A Lady Caddy Who Never Saw a Hole in One
Yosep Angginoen
2013 BIFF Asian Short Film Competition 1
Bringing Tibet Home
Tenzin Tsetan Choklay
India/ USA / Korea
2013 BIFF Documentary Competition
Daytime Moon
Kim Yong-wan
2013 BIFF Korean Short Film Competition 1
In the Summer
Son Tae-gyum
2013 BIFF Korean Short Film Competition 1
Jazz in Love
Baby Ruth Villarama
Philippines / Germany / France
2013 BIFF Documentary Competition
Morning Walk
Omkar Barve
2013 BIFF Asian Short Film Competition 1
Won Pung-yeon
2013 BIFF Korean Short Film Competition 1
There Is No Poetry Here
Kalinga Deshapriya Vithanage
Sri Lanka
2013 BIFF Asian Short Film Competition 1

Good For You, Vidya Balan!
By Uma da Cunha

Not long ago, a leading Australian government delegation visited Mumbai, led by the Hon. Louise Asher, the State of Victoria’s Minister for Innovation, Services and Small Business, Minister for Tourism and Major Events. The delegation was in Mumbai to speak of Melbourne’s pride in hosting the annual Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM). Now in its third year, this festival exclusively of Indian films will be held May 1 to 11, 2014. Festival director Mitu Bhowmick Lange announced that from 2014, the festival will bestow awards in key categories.
Presiding in every way over the event here was the irrepressible Vidya Balan.

She has done so from the start of IFFM, which is when she accepted to be its Brand Ambassador. She is perhaps the only major Indian star to lend her name and presence so wholeheartedly to a film festival held abroad and that too, one exclusively of Indian films. She has helped the festival, its organisers and sponsors surge forward and gain a wider mainstream audience beyond local Asians.

The hopefuls attempting to organize Indian film festivals in countries abroad face a major uphill task. With national and Hollywood cinema dominating, they have to struggle to find space, recognition and funding to screen little-known Indian films. Some fifteen years ago, the stray Indian film festival that appeared on foreign screens was patronized mostly by local Asians and ignored by the larger cinema going fraternity. Even Indian filmmakers saw them as a ghetto activity and turned squarely to the international film scene to see possibilities of furthering their latest film.

The founders of the Indian film festival abroad are an enterprising, even an inspiring lot. The indefatigable Aroon Shivdasani, founder-director of the Indo-American Arts Council, has consistently brought Indian art, music and theatre to New York city. In 2001, she started her own Indian film festival. Today, it is called the Indian Film festival of New York, has a huge backing and a loyal, appreciative audience.

Over on the West coast, Greek-American Christina Marouda started her Indian Film festival of Los Angeles two years later, in 2003, now held every April. In October 2001, Italian Selvaggia Velo founded her River to River Indian Film Festival (the title connects the River Ganga and the River Arno). In June 2003, Stuttgart in Germany started its Indian Film Festival with the support of one benefactor, Mr Andreas Lapp, Honorary Consul of the Republic of India for Baden-Wurttemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate.
Fast forward to today and one cannot count the number of Indian film festivals that have sprouted in major cities and countries. Cary Sawhney has established his London Indian Film Festival in a matter of just four eventful years. In the Netherlands, Ricardo Burgzorg launched the Indian Film Festival of The Hague, held annually in early October. Paris and Houston are cities that have started Indian film festivals of their own. There are many more dotting the world map.These are festivals that present films only from India by a band of devotees who overcame major hurdles to enable Indian cinema to reach their own city and local audiences.

Many Indian film festivals abroad have assiduously promoted filmmakers before they became the leading names they are today. IFFLA was the melting pot where rudderless but idealistic filmmakers congregated and were speeded on their way by the likes of Quentin Tarrantino. Examples are Anurag Kashyap, Nishikant Kamat and Umesh Kulkarni. Many of them were so energized by IFFLA that they proceeded to attend the festival on their own and without a film. These festivals now open doors for Indian filmmakers to meet established market professionals and learn how to negotiate international visibility and sales. The Indian film festival abroad is now noticed and written about in publications such as Variety and the New York Times. These gains in essence is what Indian film festivals held abroad stand for.

Courtesy: - India's first independent on-line daily which was launched on
 January 27, 2014.reproducing Uma da Cunha's column 

Monday, March 24, 2014

[Busan International Film Festival]
- Lee Yong-kwan (Festival Director)
- Kim Ji-Seok (Executive Programmer)
- Kim Hyunmin (Program Coordinator - Asian Cinema)

[Asian Film Market]
- Jay Jeon (Market Director)
- Daniel Kim (General Manager, Europe & America)
- Jang Eunseok (Korea)
- Shelly Keum (Asia)
- Park Seri (APM Coordinator)

- Chae Bohyun (Chinese region, Committee Member)
- Susan Chae (APM, Committee Member)

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Busan International Film Festival's
Asian Cinema Fund ...

Call for entries!

            Submit in any of three categories
  • Script Development Fund: This fund assists Asian filmmakers in the completion of scripts for fiction features. The selected projects will be awarded 10 million KRW (approximately 10,000 USD) each. The last date for submissions in this category is May 10, 2014.
  • Post-Production Fund: This fund supports high quality fiction feature projects ready for post-production and provides a chance to complete the post-production process at state-of-the-art facilities in Korea. This fund covers DI, sound mixing, and producing negatives and prints. The last date for submissions in this category is April, 20, 2014.
  • AND (Asian Network of Documentary) Fund: To encourage Asian documentary filmmakers and facilitate the production and distribution of their projects, ACF will select projects that will be awarded 10 million KRW (approximately 10,000 USD) or 5 million KRW (approximately 5,000 USD) each. The last date for submissions in this category is May 10, 2014.
          The 19th Busan International Film Festival will be held from 2-11 October, 2014.
          The Asian Film Market and Asian Project Market will be held from 5-8 October.
          For more details and submissions, click here.