Friday, March 20, 2015


13th Annual Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles Announces Film Line-Up

Highlights include Centerpiece and world premiere of British comedy ONE CRAZY THING, Danis Tanović’s TIGERS, A.R. Rahman documentary JAI HO, Cannes’ entry TITLI and the Los Angeles premiere of MISS INDIA AMERICA


IIFFLA 2015 presents 25 films, including four world premieres, seven North American premieres, two U.S. premieres, and 10 Los Angeles premieres. The films hail from six different countries, including India, United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Cuba, in 10 different languages, from Hindi and Tamil to English, Spanish, and German.


The festival’s popular “Bollywood by Night” series returns this year with an exciting screening of Bollywood smash TAAL. Directed by Subhash Ghai and featuring Anil Kapoor, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, and Akshaye Khanna. Originally released in 1999 to worldwide acclaim, TAAL features iconic music composed by A.R. Rahman and is considered one of the best soundtracks in Bollywood history.

The shorts competition showcases an eclectic selection of 10 films including narrative, documentary, experimental, and animated works. Highlights of this year’s program include: acclaimed director Gitanjali Rao’s TRUELOVESTORY, a stunning animated film that made its premiere at the Critics’ Week section of Cannes; Jayisha Patel’s multiple award-winning documentary A PARADISE (UN PARAISO); and the U.S. premiere of three of India’s National Award winners, Pranjal Dua’s FLY, BIRD (CHIDIYA UDH), Christo Tomy’s VIRGIN (KANYAKA), and Ruchir Arun’s MANDRAKE! MANDRAKE!.

In addition, screening with JAI HO will be Satyajit Ray’s TWO, a spellbinding and deeply affecting short film by India’s master storyteller, which has been beautifully preserved by the Academy Film Archive.

Attending the festival this year to present their films will be a host of celebrated filmmakers, including Nagesh Kukunoor (DHANAK), Kanu Behl (TITLI), Amit Gupta (ONE CRAZY THING), Ravi Kapoor (MISS INDIA AMERICA, Paresh Mokashi (ELIZABETH EKADASHI), Bikas Mishra (FOUR COLORS), Shlok Sharma and award-winning producer Guneet Monga (HARAAMKHOR).

IFFLA will also host a number of the films’ stars, including: Ray Panthaki and Daisy Bevan from ONE CRAZY THING; critically-acclaimed Nawazuddin Siddiqui for HARAAMKHOR; and MISS INDIA AMERICA’s Hannah Simone (New Girl), Tiya Sircar (THE INTERNSHIP), and Meera Simhan (Anger Management) who is also the film’s co-writer.


OPENING NIGHT GALA

HARAAMKHOR
India/2015/90min/Hindi
World Premiere
Director: Shlok Sharma
Producer: Guneet Monga, Anurag Kashyap
Screenwriter: Shlok Sharma
Cinematographer: Siddharth Diwan
Editor: Kratika Adhikari
Composers: Vishal Khurana, Karan Gour
Cast: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Shweta Tripathi, Harish Khanna

Innocent young love is put on a collision course with the messy reality of budding adulthood in Shlok Sharma’s unforgettable feature debut. Young student Kamal is infatuated with his 15-year-old classmate Sandhya, and together he and his best friend Mintu devise countless imaginative schemes to win her affection. But Sandhya has a troubling infatuation of her own: she is carrying on an affair with her teacher, Shyam (another masterful performance by Nawazuddin Siddiqui). When the two young boys catch on to this illicit arrangement, events are set into motion that could lead to tragedy for all involved.

Shlok Sharma deftly alternates the tone of his film between lighthearted, youthful adventure and more sobering, truthful moments. Sharply aware of the fact that childhood longings rarely come to fruition, Sharma watches sympathetically as each of his four central characters stumble and falter in their attempts to hold onto a desire they’d be better off forgetting, while the audience braces for impact when the inevitable crash comes.


CLOSING NIGHT GALA

DHANAK (RAINBOW)
India/2015/103min/Hindi
U.S. Premiere
Director: Nagesh Kukunoor
Producer: Manish Mudra, Nagesh Kukunoor, Elahe Hiptoola
Screenwriter: Nagesh Kukunoor
Cinematographer: Chirantan Das
Editor: Sanjib Datta
Composer: Tapas Relia
Cast: Krrish Chhabria, Hetal Gada, Gulfam Khan, Vipin Sharma, Suresh Menon, Chet Dixon, Fllora Saini, Vijay Maurya, Vibha Chhibber, Rajiv Laxman

Fresh from his award-winning premiere at the 2015 Berlin Film Festival, Nagesh Kukunoor arrives at IFFLA with this stunning tale of a brother and sister who embark on a journey across Rajasthan in an attempt to meet the great Shah Rukh Khan. Pari is the responsible older sister to Chotu, a high-spirited blind boy on the brink of his ninth birthday. Chotu wants nothing more than to have his vision back and Pari — inspired by a message she sees on a Shah Rukh Khan poster — promises him he’ll get it before his birthday arrives. When the two learn that Shah Rukh Khan is filming only a few hundred kilometers from their village, they sneak away from home and set out to meet the superstar.

What follows is a trek full of side-splitting banter and bickering between the two remarkable children, vibrant colors, lively music, new friendships and harrowing danger. Kukunoor’s two young leads embody the adventurous spirit that comes with growing up and taking fate into your own hands for the first time. He has crafted a gorgeous film around one simple wish, and ultimately delivers a disarming, heartfelt plea to recognize and appreciate the beauty that exists around us.


FEATURE FILMS

TIGERS
India/France/UK/2014/90min/English/Urdu
Los Angeles Premiere
Director: Danis Tanović
Producers: Prashita Chaudhary, Kshtij Chaudhary, Guneet Monga, Anurag Kashyap, Cedomir Kolar, Marc Baschet, Andy Paterson, Cat Villiers
Screenwriters: Danis Tanović, Andy Paterson
Cinematographer: Erol Zubcevic
Editor: Prerna Saigal
Composer: Pritam
Cast: Emraan Hashmi, Geetanjali Thapa, Danny Huston, Khalid Abdalla, Adil Hussain, Satyadeep Misra, Maryam D’Abo, Heino Ferch, Sam Reid, Vinod Nagpal, Supriya Pathak

Ayan is a frustrated pharmaceutical salesman who can never get his doctor clients to prescribe his products because they are from local manufacturers and not from the ubiquitous multi-national brands. Newly married and eager to build his career, he finally gets hired by a prominent Western company looking to gain a bigger foothold in the country by selling baby formula. Through his salesmanship and drive, Ayan builds his network and reputation in the company. However, it all comes crashing down when a doctor shows him the real cost of his product to the families that use it.

Faced with the truth, Ayan has to decide who he is, what he can live with, and what he is willing to sacrifice. Based on a true story and told through an innovative narrative style, Oscar-winning director Danis Tanović constructs a modern morality tale about living under transnational capitalism and the struggle of one individual to do the right thing.

TITLI
India/2014/124min/Hindi
Director: Kanu Behl
Producer: Dibakar Banerjee
Cinematographer: Siddharth Diwan
Editor: Namrata Rao
Composer: Karan Gour
Cast: Shashank Arora, Ranvir Shorey, Amit Sial, Lalit Behl, Shivani Raghuvanshi

Born into abject poverty, Titli, the youngest of three brothers, takes a bride without telling her about his patriarchal family’s criminal life. However, after the bride refuses to consummate their marriage, another secret unravels: her longstanding illicit affair. Desperate to break free from the only existence he has known, Titli—meaning “butterfly”—orchestrates a dubious plan to leave home, grappling with the choice between intergenerational loyalty and an uncertain future on his own. Hard life lessons are not to be learned in the hallowed halls of school, but rather in the jagged boundary lines of his slum.

Following an auspicious premiere at Cannes in 2014 (nominated for the festival’s Un Certain Regard and Caméra d’Or prizes), filmmaker Kanu Behl gained continued recognition on the international circuit for TITLI, his feature debut. A standout within a new wave of Indian independent cinema, character specificity and emotional honesty are hallmarks of this crime drama shot on Super 16 and starring a gifted newcomer, Shashank Arora. Behl’s intricate narrative about a young protagonist’s coming of age sheds tender light on the grittier tale of perpetual cruelty and violence, while his humanistic point of view suspends moral judgment of inner Delhi’s dark side.

ONE CRAZY THING
UK/2014/90min/English
World Premiere
Director: Amit Gupta
Producer: Dean Fisher
Screenwriter: Amit Gupta
Cinematographer: Robin Whenary
Editor: James Taylor
Composer: Graham Hadfield
Cast: Ray Panthaki, Daisy Bevan, Dan Skinner

Former television star Jay is haunted by the sex tape that destroyed his life and turned his unknown actress girlfriend into an A-list Hollywood celebrity. Following his rise to fame on a popular soap opera and then plunge to viral notoriety because of the scandalous tape, Jay now cowers in obscurity as the manager of his family’s Indian restaurant in London. His acting career is nonexistent, his family is irredeemably disgraced, and he constantly fears being recognized by any of the millions of viewers of his very public mistake.

When Jay falls for the exciting and artistic Hannah, an American musician studying in London, he realizes he must confront the errors of his past, rather than hiding from his future.

KILLA
India/2014/105min/Marathi
Los Angeles Premiere
Director: Avinash Arun
Producer: Alan McAlex
Screenwriter: Tushar Paranjape
Cinematographer: Avinash Arun
Editor: Charu Shree Roy
Composers: Naren Chandavarkar, Benedict Taylor
Cast: Amruta Subhash , Archit Devadhar

Forced to leave the family home in Pune because of his mother’s work, young Chinu struggles to fit in with the kids in the coastal countryside of Konkan. Smart, quiet, and still mourning the death of his father, Chinu befriends some boys at school after sharing his answers in math class. Meanwhile, his mother also bends the rules in order to get by in her new surroundings. Soon both find change and friendship are never quite as easy as they seem.

In his assured and memorable debut feature, which won the Crystal Bear at the Berlinale, director Avinash Arun presents this coming-of-age story with profound empathy and care. The terrible beauty of youth is reflected in the lush photography of the exotic coast and its landscapes. The performances by Amruta Subhash and Archit Davadhar as mother and son are both gentle and genuine. With a story that speaks to all ages, KILLA reminds us that growing up is hard and that’s okay.

ELIZABETH EKADASHI
India/2014/90min/Marathi
North American Premiere
Director: Paresh Mokashi
Producer: Nikhil Sane
Screenwriters: Madhugandha Kulkarni, Paresh Mokashi
Cinematographer: Amol Gole
Editor: Abhijeet Deshpande
Composer: Late Anand Modak
Cast: Shriranga Mahajan, Saili Bhandarkavthekar, Pushkar Lonarkar, Nandita Dhuri, Vanmala Kinikar

In the village of Pandharpur in Maharashtra, a precocious little street preacher named Dnyanesh and his younger sister Zendu proudly stroll through the streets with their prized possession: a gleaming yellow bicycle they’ve named ‘Elizabeth.’ Though neither child has grown tall enough to actually ride Elizabeth, they pamper her and keep her close as a reminder of their late father, who handcrafted the bicycle especially for them. The kids live in poverty with their mother and grandmother and hard times strike when the bank repossesses mom’s knitting machine – the family’s sole source of income. When it looks as if Elizabeth must be sold in order to reclaim the machine, Dnyanesh and Zendu sneak out to the streets and devise a plan to raise the money on their own.

Paresh Mokashi (HARISHCHANDRACHI FACTORY) has crafted a joyful and heartwarming tale of two children with indomitable spirits. Throughout Dnyanesh and Zendu’s journey, Mokashi cleverly guides us through their town’s social dynamics, demonstrating how the two kids live life with an open-hearted acceptance of all the children whose paths they cross, even those their elders might shun for wrong-headed reasons. It’s an endlessly optimistic film, one that firmly believes in the benefits of putting positive energy into the world, and is sure to put a smile on the faces of viewers young and old.

THE CROW’S EGG
India/2014/99min/Tamil
U.S. Premiere
Director: M. Manikandan
Producers: Dhanush, Vetri Maaran
Screenwriter: M. Manikandan
Cinematographer: M. Manikandan
Editor: Kishore TE
Composer: Prakash Kumar GV
Cast: Ramesh Thilaganathan, Vignesh, Aishwarya Rajesh

Director M. Manikandan’s debut feature is at once a charming, bittersweet family film and a stinging satire of corporate misbehavior, all drawn from the simple tale of two brothers who just want to have their first taste of pizza. The boys – known as Little Crow’s Egg and Big Crow’s Egg (named after the snack they pluck daily from a nearby tree) – become infatuated with the tasty-looking dish when a new restaurant opens nearby, constantly barraging them with tantalizing advertisements. But the boys live in the Chennai slums with their struggling mother and aging grandmother and the cost of pizza is far more than they can afford.

While Manikandan delights in the wide-eyed, bright-smiled disposition of his young leads, he never shies away from their tough circumstances and he takes harsh aim at the corporate structure that exploits poor neighborhoods. At its comic height, the film – which had its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival – watches gleefully as the greedy corporate overlords bumble their way into a public relations nightmare. The film’s heart, however, is always with the two little boys, who maintain their pride and dignity in the face of an unfair and unfeeling social structure.

FOUR COLORS (CHAURANGA)
India/2014/88 min/Khortha/Hindi
North American Premiere
Director: Bikas Ranjan Mishra
Producers: Sanjay Suri, Onir, Mohan Mulani
Screenwriter: Bikas Ranjan Mishra
Cinematographer: Ramanuj Dutta
Editor: Irene Dhar Malik
Composer: Vivek Philip
Cast: Sanjay Suri, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Arpita Chatterjee, Soham Maitra, Riddhi Sen, Dhritiman Chatterjee

Bikas Ranjan Mishra announces himself as a powerful new voice in Indian cinema with his debut feature, an intricately designed portrait of a rural Indian village slowly poisoning itself. Based on true events, Mishra’s film takes a critical look at the village’s patriarchal power dynamic and the unjust caste system that tragically condemns a young boy simply for writing a love letter.

That young boy is Santu, who wishes to leave the village for school like his older brother Bajarangi, but is wholly dependent on the undependable kindness of the upper-caste village headman. Santu’s mother works as the headman’s maid and carries on a dangerous affair with him in the hopes that he’ll offer help to her son. Meanwhile, the headman’s daughter – herself struggling to achieve an education while her father insists a woman’s place is in the home – becomes the object of Santu’s affection. This infatuation sets a chain of events into motion that inextricably links the fates of each character, while Mishra masterfully builds the tension until the film feels like a massive volcano poised to erupt.

MISS INDIA AMERICA
US/2014/93min/English
Los Angeles Premiere
Director: Ravi Kapoor
Producers: Megha Kadakia, Saurabh Kikani
Screenwriters: Ravi Kapoor, Meera Simhan
Cinematographer: Alan Caudillo
Editor: Varun Viswanath
Composer: Amritha Vaz
Cast: Tiya Sircar, Hannah Simone, Kosha Patel, Meera Simhan, Bernard White, Satya Bhabha, Cas Anvar, Kunal Sharma, Anjali Bhimani, Rizwan Manji

Recent Orange County high school graduate Lily has it all figured out. She’ll become a doctor like her father, marry her longtime boyfriend Karim, have children, and live happily ever after. When Karim deviates from Lily’s plan by leaving her for the reigning Miss India National, for the first time in her life, Lily doesn’t know what to do. But that quickly passes when she sets her sights on a new goal: becoming Miss India National herself!

Jumping head first into the world of Indian-American beauty pageants, Lily has to rely on friends and family and go outside of her comfort zone. Her drive to win pushes her to make some surprising decisions. With a cast of some of the most exciting young talent in the industry today and under the direction of IFFLA alum Ravi Kapoor in his first feature, MISS INDIA AMERICA is a hilarious look at what you might win if you are willing to lose.


DOCUMENTARY FEATURES

AMMA AND APPA
India/Germany/2014/89min/German/Tamil/English
Los Angeles Premiere
Directors: Franziska Schönenberger & Jayakrishnan Subramanian
Producers: Ferdinand Freising, Cosima von Spreti, Marina Voeth
Screenwriters: Franziska Schönenberger, Jayakrishnan Subramanian
Cinematographer: Minsu Park
Editor: Robert Vaklily
Composer: Illayaraja
Cast: C Viruthambal, D Subramanian, Christine & Albert Schönenberger, Franziska Schönenberger & Jayakrishnan Subramanian

Franziska, a Bavarian German woman working as a journalist in India, and Jayakrishnan, a young Tamil artist, met in Mumbai and fell in love. Soon they were engaged and eager to spend their lives together, but a major hurdle stood in their way: Jay’s traditional parents, who were determined to arrange a marriage for their son. The young couple decides to document Franziska’s first visit to Jay’s home in Tamil Nadu and so we have AMMA & APPA, a delightfully funny and keenly observed documentary about the changing nature of love and marriage in today’s world.

Jay’s parents are welcoming to Franziska, but not shy about expressing their disdain for “love marriages.” In fact, they’re devastated – and they let it be known. Franziska’s boisterous German parents arrive to visit as well and the culture shock experienced by both families is uproarious. When the young couple turns the camera on their parents’ relationships, we realize that traditional ideas of love often don’t play out quite as simply as they might in our fantasies. Assembled with a charming, hand-crafted quality by two gifted artists, AMMA & APPA is a warm and generous invitation to spend time with families working to adjust to a new, unexpected but ultimately happy situation.

TOMORROW WE DISAPPEAR
US/India/2014/84min/Hindi
Los Angeles Premiere
Directors: Jim Goldblum, Adam Weber
Producers: Jim Goldblum, Adam Weber
Cinematographers: Will Basanta, Joshua Cogan, Naveen Chaubal
Editors: Hye Mee Na, Isaac Hagy
Composer: Dan Romer

For nearly 50 years, some 3000 Indian street and folk artist families have lived in the colony of Kathputli in Delhi. Surrounded by overcharged construction changing the face of India’s capital, the slum has fallen into the grasp of developers eager to build towering luxury apartments and a mall. Now, some of the country’s most talented puppeteers, magicians, acrobats, and performers of traditional arts are facing not only the destruction of their homes, but the loss of a way of life that has been passed down for generations.

Given the opportunity to sign over their rights for the promise of new flats, many of the poorer members of the community consider making the deal and moving on, while others continue to fight. But is there any room in a new India for the folk art ways? With beauty and heart, directors Jim Goldblum and Adam Weber show the other side of India’s meteoric financial rise and the cultures and art forms under threat of disappearing right before our eyes.

JAI HO
India/2014/60min/English
Los Angeles Premiere
Director: Umesh Aggarwal
Producer: Rajiv Mehrotra
Cinematographers: Alphonse Roy, Vijay Karthik, Anu Gunn, Bipin Anand, Madhav Salunke, U Shekhar Naidu
Editor: Naveen Samhotra
Composers: A.R. Rahman, various artists

While his two Oscar wins for SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE officially introduced A.R. Rahman to American audiences, he had been a household name for fans of Indian film and music the world over for nearly two decades. For the first time, composer, singer-songwriter and producer Rahman opens his life and story for the screen. From humble beginnings to a career that includes more than 120 film scores, Rahman talks about his work and life experiences in unprecedented personal terms.

Director Umesh Aggarwal takes us through the journey of Rahman’s career, from his first collaborations with director Mani Ratnam and superhits like “Chaiyya Chaiyya,” to working with Andrew Lloyd Webber, steadily growing his profile in the West. Despite changing the face of film music with his unique blend of classical Indian compositions with modern musical technology like the synthesizer, Rahman has continued to challenge himself and grow as an artist. JAI HO is an exclusive look at one of the most iconic artists of our time.


BOLLYWOOD BY NIGHT

TAAL
India/1999/179min/Hindi
Director: Subhash Ghai
Producer: Subhash Ghai
Screenwriters: Sachin Bhowmick, Subhash Ghai
Cinematographer: Kabir Lal
Editor: Subhash Ghai
Composer: A.R. Rahman
Cast: Anil Kapoor, Akshaye Khanna, Aishwarya Rai, Alok Nath, Amrish Puri, Sushma Seth, Mita Vasisht, Saurabh Shukla

While visiting Himachal Pradesh with his wealthy father, London based Manav meets Mansi, the daughter of a traditional folk singer. With some perseverance on Manav’s part, the two fall in love. Despite his promise of marriage, the difference in social status between the families is not easily overcome. After a particularly humiliating visit to Mumbai, Mansi calls off the romance. A chance meeting with Vikrant, a famous music producer, shoots Mansi to international fame. Yet Manav patiently waits, insisting the two will one day be united in marriage.

With a story, performances and music only Bollywood can provide, TAAL is an unforgettable film and a new classic of popular Indian cinema. Aishwarya Rai, in one of her first roles, is radiant as the strong-minded and musically talented village girl Mansi, while Anil Kapoor steals the show as the amoral music producer rogue. But the brightest star of the film is A.R. Rahman’s soundtrack, one of the greatest in Bollywood history.


SHORTS

A PARADISE (UN PARAISO)
Cuba/UK/2014/14min/Spanish
Los Angeles Premiere
Director: Jayisha Patel
Producer: Jayisha Patel
Cinematographer: Jayisha Patel
Editor: Jayisha Patel

In this haunting documentary about human loss, a Cuban family mourns the suicide of their 12-year-old son. As the family struggles to make peace with what happened, complex questions arise as it becomes clear that this kind of tragedy affects not only them, but also the larger community in harrowing ways.

BIG TIME – my doodled diary
India/USA/2015/12min/English
World Premiere
Director: Sonali Gulati
Producer: Sonali Gulati
Screenwriter: Sonali Gulati
Cinematographer: Sonali Gulati
Editors: Sonali Gulati, Anupama Chandra, Matt West
Composer: Jen Schwartz

As “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” dominates the pop charts, Maya writes in her diary everything that rocks her teenage world, from the assassination of Indira Gandhi and her parents’ divorce, to the latest pimple that made its appearance. But suddenly not much else seems to matter when a new girl arrives at school. A delightful and intimate exploration of youthful obsession, budding sexuality and what it means to be a teenager, which all too often sucks, big time.

DANDEKAR MAKES A SANDWICH
USA/2015/10min/English
Los Angeles Premiere
Director: Leena Pendharkar
Producers: Jane Kelly Kosek, Megha Kadakia, Sohini Sengupta
Screenwriter: Leena Pendharkar
Cinematographer: Daud Sani
Editor: Eleanor Infante
Composer: Chris A. Gabriel

Armed with plenty of time on his hands, Dandekar, a curmudgeonly retiree with a picky palate, will stop at nothing to find just the right ingredients for the perfect sandwich. A heartfelt, offbeat tale about the perks of aging.

FLY, BIRD (CHIDIYA UDH)
India/2013/22min/Hindi/English
North American Premiere
Director: Pranjal Dua
Producer: Film and Television Institute of India (FTII)
Screenwriter: Pranjal Dua
Cinematographer: Sushant Arora
Editor: Shweta Rai
Composer: Swaroopnath Bhatra

He works in a chicken factory. She works as a maid at an upscale hotel. Two young souls whose menial existence helps turn the giant wheels of a harsh, nameless city will give each other strength to carry on. A bold and haunting ballad about urban alienation and the transcending power of human connection.

JOURNEY (SAFAR)
India/2013/26min/Hindi
North American Premiere
Director: Pratyusha Gupta
Producer: Sumit Gyanchandaney
Screenwriters: Pratyusha Gupta, Manju Iyer
Cinematographer: Pooja Gupte
Editor: Ujjwal Chandra
Composer: Tajdar Junaid

Determined to carve out a better future for herself, teenage Gouri leaves behind a life of prostitution that was forced upon her at a young age and takes a job as a caregiver for a mistrusting elderly widow. But just as she starts to find her footing in this new life, Gouri’s past rears its ugly head again. Skillful direction and understated performances shine in this nuanced exploration of the challenges and triumphs of starting over.

MANDRAKE! MANDRAKE!
India/2013/25min/Hindi
North American Premiere
Director: Ruchir Arun
Producer: Film and Television Institute of India (FTII)
Screenwriters: Ruchir Arun, Anasuya Sengupta
Cinematographer: Kavin Jagtiani
Editor: Samarth Dixit
Composer: Gourab Dutta

A dusty projector and an old film reel introduce Babu, a Bihari migrant living in a Bombay prop house, to the marvels of legendary magician Mandrake. A tense day of communal unrest turns into a joyful journey of discovery and wonder when Babu realizes that everything he needs to make his own magic lies right in front of him. An exuberant ode to the magic of art and the power of imagination that won India’s National Award for Short Fiction.

THE RABBIT (KHARGOSH)
India/2014/13min/Bengali
North American Premiere
Director: Sudarshan Suresh
Producer: Sudarshan Suresh
Screenwriter: Shakti Bhagchandani
Cinematographer: Mrinmoy Mondal
Editor: Sudarshan Suresh

A debt-ridden farmer struggles to keep afloat amidst mounting pressure from his lenders. When his young daughter decides to adopt a stray rabbit, the relationship between father and daughter is put to the test. What the child considers to be the loving companion she desperately needs her father sees as an additional threat to the family’s meager existence. An intimate and nuanced exploration of familial love and strife, evocatively photographed amidst stunning Indian countryside.

THE SPACE BETWEEN
India/2015/14min/Hindi/English
World Premiere
Director: Will Sankhla
Producer: Will Sankhla
Screenwriter: Will Sankhla
Cinematographer: Arnab Gayan
Editor: Pradeepto Roy

Evaristo and Yojan have built a safe, insular life for themselves. But a terminal illness brutally exposes their loving union to the inhumane reality for gay couples in India. A deeply affecting exploration of the human cost of India’s recent decision to re-criminalize homosexuality.

TRUELOVESTORY
India/2014/19min/No dialogue
Los Angeles Premiere
Director: Gitanjali Rao
Producer: Gitanjali Rao
Screenwriter: Gitanjali Rao
Cinematographer: Gitanjali Rao
Editor: Gitanjali Rao

Stunning animation and a vivid soundtrack transport us to the treacherous streets of Bombay, a city soaked in Bollywood dreams, where a young flower seller, eager to star in his own heroic romance, falls in love with a girl. Soon fantasy and reality vehemently clash in this poignant ode to romance that made its World Premiere at Cannes’ Critics Week.

TWO
India/1964/12min/No dialogue
Preserved by the Academy Film Archive
Director: Satyajit Ray
Producer: Esso World Theater
Screenwriter: Satyajit Ray
Cinematographer: Soumendu Roy
Editor: Dulal Dutta
Composer: Satyajit Ray
Cast: Ravi Kiran, street boy

Commissioned by US public television to make an English language film in a Bengali setting as part of a trilogy of Indian films, Satyajit Ray chose instead to forego any dialogue in this eloquent fable which is filled with gripping dramatic tension and fierce emotion.

A young boy lies on the sofa, nursing his ennui by sipping on a soft drink and bursting the balloons that surround his upscale existence, when he hears the mellifluous sound of a flute. The tune is a call-to-friendship from a kid who lives in a slum beneath the wealthy high-rise. Unhappy to be disturbed, the rich boy quickly responds by blowing into his loud toy trumpet, instantly drowning the song and, with it, any chance of harmony with his neighbor. The game of one-upmanship that ensues through the window quickly descends into a vicious battle for supremacy, with the threat of violence looming dangerously close. This spellbinding and deeply affecting film by India’s master storyteller has been beautifully preserved by the Academy Film Archive.

VIRGIN (KANYAKA)
India/2013/11min/Malayalam
North American Premiere
Director: Christo Tomy
Producers: Shri Sanjaya Pattanayak, Satyajit Ray Film & Television Institute Screenwriter: Christo Tomy
Cinematographer: Lalitha Prasad Kalluri
Editor: Goutham Nerusu


Nirvala, a young nun, eagerly awaits her convent’s anniversary celebration as she has been entrusted with the dream task of escorting her secret idol, actress Urvasi. But her excitement turns into despair when, on the big day, an elderly nun’s health deteriorates and Nirvala is ordered to stay behind and care for her instead. A brooding emotional landscape lurks underneath the peaceful Kerala setting in this engrossing tale of teenage rebellion that won India’s National Award for Best Non-Feature Debut.

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