Thursday, April 16, 2015


Los Angeles  - The five day high-octane event of the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA), now in its thirteenth edition, concluded recently The final screening was boosted by the festival’s eagerly anticipated awards, and on to its joyous closing night festivities. 

The awards honoured many a first foray by India’s fresh-faced hopefuls making their bow as helmers, thespians and technicians. 

The first award to be announced was for Best Actress. It went jointly to petite, prodigiously talented newcomer Shweta Tripathi and playwright- actress Kalki Koechlin. 

Shweta won the award for her role in Haraamkhor, which held its world premiere at IFFLA.

Best Actress award winner, Shweta Tripathi, 
for her role in Haraamkhor
Speaking from the podium, Shweta disarmed the full-to-the-brim rapturous audience as she said, “What am I to say? This is my first feature film. IFFLA is my first film festival. Now, I am holding my very first award!”. Haraamkhor is the debut work of the mild, soft-spoken director Shlok Sharma and produced by the indomitable Guneet Monga (who was present). This dark film is on an irreversible collision course caused by a small town school-boy setting out to win the affection of his pretty classmate, quite unaware of her promiscuous crush on their bumbling teacher (masterfully enacted by Nawazuddin Siddiqui). 

Kalki won the award for her highly praised performance as the incorrigibly gutsy, spastic-stricken girl in Shonali Bose’s Margarita with a Straw. The film unfurled on the last day at a surprise secret screening, held low-key because it was being premiered later at another leading local festival. 

Bikas Ranjan Mishra, winner of Best Film Award 
for his debut work, Chauranga
The Best Film Jury Award went to another first film, Chauranga (Four Colours), directed by Bikas Ranjan Mishra (the man behind the extremely popular website portal “Dear Cinema”). This film had its international premiere at IFFLA. It follows a 14-year-old Dalit boy whose love letter to a 16-year-old reveals the violence of class oppression that still exists in rural India 

The Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature went to yet another debut work, this time to a Tamil film, The Crow’s Egg directed by M Manikandan, making its U.S premiere. The film’s two engaging child actors, J Vignesh and Ramesh, play kiddie slum lords, Their street-smart bravado is aimed at getting to taste the mysterious ‘pizza’ relished by those better-off than themselves. The two shared the Best Actor Award. 

Aditya Vikram Sengupta’s Bengali film Labour of Love won an Honourable Mention for Cinematography. This distinctive work started its festival run by winning the Best Debut Director award at the 2014 Venice Film Festival. The debut film lyrically presents one day in the life of a married couple without using a single spoken word, it gains an increasingly sensory impact through its visuals and sound effects. At IFFLA, the demand by viewers led to a repeat screening. 

The remaining awards also went mostly to emerging filmmakers. 

The Best Documentary Award went to Tomorrow we Disappear, the debut work by Jim Goldblum and Adam Weber, on Kathputli, India's last colony of magicians, acrobats, and puppeteers, whose residents face eviction by a leading realty company. Another debut film, Sudarshan Suresh’s Khargosh (The Rabbit) won Honourable Mention. The film follows a debt-ridden farmer whose relationship with his daughter is tested when she adopts a rabbit. 

The Jury Award for Best Short (and also the Audience Award) went to Pratyusha Gupta’s second film, Safar, in which IFFLA award winner Shweta Tripathi plays a reformed prostitute who finds it impossible to hide her past. Her co-stars are the accomplished Vipin Sharma and Mahabanoo Kotwal. Leena Pendharkar with a strong body of work behind her, won the Best Short Film for Dandekar makes a Sandwich, on a picky retiree who goes all out to get the right ingredients for his snack. 

Bollywood actor with a difference 
IFFLA also went all out to make choice decisions when it came to its Jury members. Popular in indie cinema, Abhay Deol, whose persona differs sharply from the typical poster-boy Bollywood, was on the Narrative Jury. It was unusual to see the tall, unassuming Abhay flitting amiably film to film as he went about his Jury task. 

The closing film was Nagesh Kukunoor’s heart-warming suspense story, the Berlin award-winning Dhanak, around two orphaned kids who traverse the desert expanses of Rajasthan. Nagesh's family, who live in the US, were in full attendance led by his expansive, ever smiling mother. The Chief Executive of all of Kunukoor films, Elahe Hiptoolah, also lent good cheer to a fitting finale for IFFLA.

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

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28th Tokyo IntFilm Festival
Submission period
April 15-July 6, 2015
Film submissions for the Competition section is now ready on the festival website!
As one of the biggest film festivals in Asia - TIFF Competition has been showing many outstanding films created by up-and-coming directors as well as premieres of works by prestigious filmmakers of the world.

Last year, TIFF received 1,373 films from 92 countries and regions. 15 excellent films were screened after the pre-selection and Heaven Knows What (USA=France) directed by Joshua Safdie, Benny Safdie won the Tokyo Grand Prix for the last years TIFF.

The 28th TIFF will take place October 22-31, 2015 for 10 days in Tokyo, JAPAN.
Please find more details on TIFF's press release at

For detailed information about film submission, please visit the TIFF official website: 

For further inquiries about submission, please contact; TIFF Competition Section

Tokyo International Film Festival(TIFF) Promotion Group
4F, Shinkawa K-T BLDG., 1-28-44 Shinkawa Chuo-ku Tokyo 104-0033 JAPAN
TEL: 03-3553-4793
TIFF Official Web Site

Monday, April 13, 2015

13th Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) announces its Award Winners

From Left to Right: Pratyusha Gupta (Safar), Shweta Tripathi (Haraamkhor), Bikas Mishra (Four Colors), Christina Marouda (IFFLA), Jasmine Jaisinghani (IFFLA), Leena Pendharker (Dandekar Makes A Sandwich), and Isaac Hagy (Tomorrow We Disappear)

Four Colours (Chauranga) receives Grand Jury Prize for Best Feature
Audience Choice Awards go to The Crow’s Egg for Best Narrative Feature
Tomorrow We Disappear for Best Documentary
Journey (Safar) for Best Short
Best Short Dandekar Makes a Sandwich

The 13th Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) concluded on April 12th evening with a red carpet and gala screening of the U.S. premiere of Nagesh Kukunoor’s Dhanak (Rainbow followed by the presentation of the festival’s Grand Jury and Audience Choice Awards.

This year the festival showcased 25 features, documentaries, and shorts. The films hailed from six different countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, France, Cuba, and of course India, and featured in 10 different languages, from Hindi to Marathi, to German to Bengali.

GRAND JURY AWARDSBest Feature Four Colours (Chauranga)
Best Actor (tie) J. Vignesh and Ramesh for The Crow’s Egg
Best Actress (tie) Kalki Koechlin for Margarita, with a Straw and Shweta Tripathi for Haraamkhor
Feature Honorable Mention for Cinematography: Labour Of Love
Best Short Film Dandekar Makes A Sandwich
Short Film Honorable Mention The Rabbit (Khargosh)

AUDIENCE AWARDSBest Feature The Crow’s Egg
Best Documentary Tomorrow We Disappear
Best Short Journey (Safar)