One of my favorite film festivals has unveiled their 2014 lineup and it looks like a good one.
We've been covering LIFF for the last couple of years and every year they come up with some great features, and this year there are a couple of films that I've had the chance to see already and a few that I'm very eager to check out. Standouts in the list are Sulemani Keeda
), which is a comedy about a pair of screenwriters trying to break into the big time, and Pakistani entry, Anima State
by Hammad Khan, an avant garde look at the current state of his country of origin.
Those are far from the only interesting titles, though. Also worth noting is the UK Premiere of Million Dollar Arm, and screenings of Emma Thompson's Sold
, and Irrfan Khan's Qissa: The Tale of a Lonely Ghost
, which has been making waves at festivals around the world. Two of my most eagerly anticipated titles are the Kannada film Ulidavaru Kadanthe
(As Seen by the Rest
), by director Rakshit Shetty which sounds like a ton of fun, and Virgin Talkies
, both have started making festival rounds and making some noise in the process.
Here is the rest of the lineup from the festival's press release:
Europe's Largest South Asian Film Event is Back!
Emma Thompson's Sold, Million Dollar Arm & Bollywood stars at London INDIAN Film Festival
Executive produced by Oscar winning actor Emma Thompson, Sold will be the red carpet European Premiere opening night film of the Fifth annual London INDIAN Film Festival (July 10-17). This film is a powerful, survival against the odds tale about a young Nepali girl who is trafficked to Kolkata, India. Gillian Anderson stars with a great Indian and Nepali ensemble cast including Seema Biswas (Bandit Queen).
Central highlights of the festival will be the UK Premiere of US hit Million Dollar Arm, from The Walt Disney Company, starring Jon Hamm (Mad Men) and Suraj Sharma (Life of Pi).
Bollywood's hottest actor Farhan Akhtar and South Indian cinematography supremo Santosh Sivan will be giving rare screen talks at the BFI Southbank. Closing the festival will be the World Premiere of Hemalkasa, an homage to the revolutionary human rights leader Prakash Baba Amte, starring Bollywood hero Nana Patekar. Many other special guests are expected to a packed week of UK first screenings.
Now Europe's largest platform for Indian cinema, the London Indian Film Festival returns to the Capital, in association with Pure Heaven, the British Film Institute, and official Hotel Partner Grange Hotels, celebrating the exploding movement of Indian Independent cinema and bringing to UK audiences a rare selection of cutting-edge films from some of the Indian subcontinent's hottest independent talents.
Going way beyond Bollywood, the festival presents a kaleidoscope of new films that challenge, shock, generate debate and present a more realistic view of India and the subcontinent today, in all its diversity. The festival will stretch citywide, opening in the West End at the historic Cineworld Haymarket, and continuing at BFI Southbank, Cineworld cinemas Wembley, Wood Green, Wandsworth and O2 in Royal Greenwich and also ICA near the Pall Mall, so there is bound to be a screening near you.
The first weekend of this high-impact festival launches with Sold, on 10th July which explores the controversial theme of child trafficking; one school girl's battle against the odds and the dangerous journey to liberate her from the Kolkata mafia; expect a glamorous line up of celebs to follow X Files and The Fall actress Gillian Anderson down the red carpet.
On 12th July Rotterdam Film Festival headliner Qissa: Tale of a Lonely Ghost, has its UK Premiere, Irrfan Khan (Slumdog Millionaire, Life of Pi) plays a rural Punjabi father hell bent on having a son and heir, no matter what the consequences. Apur Panchali, based on a true-life story, is an emotionally charged homage to Satyajit Ray's impoverished child character Apu and the real-life person who played one of the most famous child roles in world cinema. It screens on 13th July. By contrast Slamdance audience winner Hank and Asha explores a new generation of trans-global online romance, at ICA and Cineworlds across London.
The festival's Central Gala is the inspirational true story Million Dollar Arm that follows the uplifting journey of two Indian boys whose lives are transformed by a national TV contest and against the odds end up going to the US to train to become major sports stars. As well as films in the Hindi, Punjabi, Tamil, Kannada and Malayalam languages, and UK/Pakistani film Anima State, in Urdu, the festival previews its first Bangladesh based film Shongram (Struggle) directed by Munsur Ali.
In terms of special talks, India's most celebrated cinematographer and acclaimed director Santosh Sivan gives a unique Masterclass at BFI Southbank, 11th July. The multi-talented actor, director, film producer & singer-songwriter Farhan Akhtar rocks into town on 15th July and offers an insight on his high-octane career so far, including his iconic recent role as muscle rippling athletics hero Milkha Singh in Bhaag Milkha Bhaag. Expect lots of female fans! Bollywood icon Nana Patekar stars in the festival's uplifting closing World Premiere of Hemalkasa. Directed by Samruddhi Porey it's guaranteed to make you cry and smile at the same time.
London Indian Film Festival also includes industry events at BAFTA, exploring UK and Indian subcontinent co-productions. The winner of the annual Satyajit Ray Short Film Competition will be announced at the end of the festival, with short-listed contenders battling it out at the ICA on 15th July.
We are delighted to announce that our Major Sponsors this year will include Queen's Award for Enterprise International Trade winner Sunmark Ltd, producers of Pure Heaven brand and founding sponsor Grange Hotels. The festival is also grant funded for by the BFI Film Festival Fund.
Emma Thompson comments:
"It is wonderful to have our film premiered at London Indian Film Festival, to raise awareness of child-trafficking, which is an issue close to my heart and is shockingly on the increase world-wide. We hope that this film will make people think and highlight the support for key charities such as The Helen Bamber Foundation and others working in this difficult area in India, Nepal and elsewhere".
Says Farhan Akhtar:
"At its heart, Cinema is about sharing ones culture with the world. Be it on screen or in representation of ones work. I look forward to sharing my experiences, memories and motivations."
Cary Rajinder Sawhney, Festival Director comments:
"We are delighted that the festival is now firmly established on the London and international scene after five amazing years. If you want to find out more about South Asian cinema, come to London and soak yourself in a week of magnificent, world class cinema".
Talent will be available for interviews.
For more information on the festival please visit: www.londonindianfilmfestival.co.uk
Join us on social media: www.facebook.com/LondonIndianFilmFestival www.twitter.com/LoveLIFF
For press enquiries, please contact:
Ashanti Omkar: firstname.lastname@example.org
London Indian Film Festival is supported by partners including: Pure Heaven, British Film Institute, Grange Hotels, Satyajit Ray Foundation, Cineworld, Zee Cinema, BBC London and BBC Asian Network.
Notes to Editors
SOLD | EUROPEAN PREMIERE | OPENING NIGHT JULY 10
English Language | 97 mins | USA | Dir. Jeffrey D Brown with Gillian Anderson, Seema Biswas, David Arquette, Niyar Saikia, Tillotama Shome, Parambrata Chatterjee.
Executive produced by actor Emma Thompson, Sold will be the red carpet European Premiere opening night film of the Fifth annual London INDIAN Film Festival (July 10-17). This film is a powerful, survival against the odds tale about a young Nepali girl who is trafficked to Kolkata, India.
Q&A with Dir. Jeffrey D Brown and Actor Gillian Anderson, other talent expected
HEMALKASA WORLD PREMIERE | CLOSING NIGHT July 17
Hindi with English subtitles | 117 mins | India Dir. Samruddhi Porey | with Nana Patekar, Sonali Kulkarni, Mohan Agashe. Special guests expected.
This inspirational and incredibly moving biopic follows the selfless journey of Dr. Prakash Baba Amte and his wife Dr. Mandakini Amte, a couple who dedicated their lives to a project for the development of tribal people of Maharashtra, India, in the toughest of conditions with little or no support from the establishment.
Q&A with special guests.
MILLION DOLLAR ARM | UK PREMIERE | CENTREPIECE GALA JULY 14
English language | 124 mins | US |
Dir. Craig Gillespie | With Jon Hamm, Suraj Sharma, Madhur Mittal, Lake Bell, Alan Arkin
An inspirational true story that follows the uplifting journey of two Indian boys whose lives are transformed by a national TV contest and against the odds end up going to the US to train to become major sports stars.
SANTOSH SIVAN MASTERCLASS
India's most celebrated cinematographer and a successful director, whose credits include The Terrorist, Bride & Prejudice and Roja, delivers a rare masterclass at the British Film Institute.
FARHAN AKHTAR SCREEN TALK
The renaissance man of Indian entertainment, who acts, directs, writes, produces and sings discusses his storied career that includes Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, Dil Chahta Hai, Don and Rock On at the British Film Institute.
QISSA: THE TALE OF A LONELY GHOST | UK PREMIERE
Punjabi with English subtitles | 109 min | India, Germany, Netherlands, France | Dir. Anup Singh | with Irrfan Khan, Tillotama Shome, Rasika Dugal.
Acclaimed actor and LIFF 2013 guest Irrfan Khan (Lunchbox, Life of Pi), plays the role of Umber Singh, a rural Sikh, dispossessed from his homeland by the Partition, who obsessively focuses on the 'ideal' of having a son and heir, but as his fourth daughter is born he hides the child's true identity.
Q&A with Dir. Anup Singh
ANIMA STATE | EUROPEAN PREMIERE
Urdu with English subtitles | 80 mins | Pakistan/UK Dir. Hammad Khan | with Uns Mufti, Malika Zafar, Osman Khalid Butt.
A man with a bandage mask across his face goes on a shooting spree across a Pakistani city, in this unflinching and surreal look at contemporary Pakistan that will provoke and entertain in equal measure.
Q&A with Dir. Hammad Khan
APUR PANCHALI (APU'S SONG) | UK PREMIERE
India with English subtitles | 97 min | Dir. Kaushik Ganguly | with Parambrata Chatterjee, Ardhendu Banerjee, Parno Mitra.
One of the greatest child characters in cinema history is the little boy Apu in Satyajit Ray's Pather Panchali (Song of the Little Road) and Kaushik Ganguly's heart-touching, jewel box of a film is inspired by the real-life actor Subir Banerjee, who played the young Apu.
Q&A with Dir. Kaushik Ganguly
HANK AND ASHA | EUROPEAN PREMIERE
English language l 73 Mins l USA l Dir James E. Duff | with Andrew Pastides, Mahira Kakkar.
Winner of the Slamdance Audience Award, this tender delight of a movie tells of the courtship of two loveable young strangers searching for connection in an online world.
Q&A with Dir. James E Duff
SHONGRAM (STRUGGLE) | WORLD PREMIERE
Bangla with English subtitles | 103 mins | Bangladesh/UK | Dir. Munsur Ali | with Anupam Kher, Asia Argento, Amaan Reza, Dilruba Yasmeen Ruhee.
In this powerful romantic drama set during the 1971 liberation struggle of Bangladesh, a Muslim falls in love with a Hindu, but their peaceful life is suddenly interrupted by war.
Q&A with Dir. Munsur Ali and other special guests
AN AMERICAN IN MADRAS | EUROPEAN PREMIERE
English, Tamil, Hindi with English subtitles | 80 minutes | India | Dir. Karan Bali | with Kamal Haasan, Radha Viswanathan, K. Hariharan.
This fascinating and fast-paced documentary traces the journey of American-born filmmaker Ellis R. Dungan who arrived in India in 1935 intending to stay for 6 months but ended up staying for 15 years, during which he brought many technical innovations to the developing Tamil Film Industry of the 1930s and '40s, and infused a sense of professionalism into its filmmaking, all without understanding a word of the language!
Q&A with Dir. Karan Bali
SULEMANI KEEDA (WRITERS) | EUROPEAN PREMIERE
Hindi with English subtitles | 89 mins | India/US | Dir. Amit V Masurkar | with Naveen Kasturia, Mayank Tewari, Aditi Vasudev.
This tale of two struggling writers dare to dream big and try to peddle their screenplay in Bollywood is a racy romp through the filmi underbelly of Mumbai richly populated with a host of Bollywood celebrities in cameos, playing themselves.
Q&A with Dir. Amit V Masurkar
ULIDAVARU KANDANTHE (AS SEEN BY THE REST) | INTERNATIONAL PREMIERE
Kannada with English subtitles | 154 mins | India | Dir. Rakshit Shetty | with Rakshit Shetty, Kishore, Tara.
This dazzling epic manages to cram in homages to Sin City, Pulp Fiction, Agneepath, Scarface, Shankar Nag, Rashomon and a host of other tributes while being a kinetic suspense thriller that deals with five interconnected stories, where a journalist sets out to uncover the truth behind an incident from the past, through the perspectives of different people, and how they and their lives are intertwined with it.
GOOPI GAWAIYA BAGHA BAJAIYA | EUROPEAN PREMIERE
Hindi with English subtitles | 79 mins | India | Dir. Shilpa Ranade, with voices of Manish Bhawan, Shailendra Pande, Rajeev Raj.
Premiered at Toronto Film Festival, The World of Goopi and Bagha is a delightful and hilarious animated feature, based on a story for children of all ages immortalised by Bengali filmmaker Satyajit Ray.
KANYAKA TALKIES (VIRGIN TALKIES) | EUROPEAN PREMIERE
Malayalam with English subtitles | 115 mins | India | Dir. K.R. Manoj, with Murali Gopy, Lena Kumar, Indrans, Manianpilla Raju.
In this gripping tale a twenty-year-old movie theatre showing soft porn as its mainstay gets converted into a church and the new parish priest suffers a crisis of faith as he hears disturbing voices from porn stars from past screenings.
BAREFOOT TO GOA | EUROPEAN PREMIERE
Hindi with English subtitles l 80 mins | India | Dir. Praveen Morchhale | with Purva Parag, Farrukh Jaffar, Saara Nahar.
A hit at festivals around India, Barefoot to Goa explores with great sensitivity the Indian middleclass dilemma of what to do with ageing parents and the intergenerational ties that powerfully bind families together, and follows two children on a road trip adventure across India as they run away from home to visit their ailing grandmother.
ILAI (LEAF) | EUROPEAN PREMIERE
Tamil with English subtitles l 67 mins | India | Dir. Rajiv Reddy Pochareddy | with Manjula Odanadi, Pritham Charavarthy, Mighty Gibson.
A lonely little girl from the countryside accidentally finds herself in a bustling metropolis where she doesn't know the city's language, or understand its high-speed ways.
SATYAJIT RAY FOUNDATION'S SHORT FILM COMPETITION
Languages: Various with English subtitles Total Running Time: 115 mins
LIFF presents the prestigious Satyajit Ray Foundation's annual short film competition.
Shortlisted films are:
KUSH | Dir. Shubhashish Bhutiani | India.
COUNTRY OF BODIES, BOMBAY IN DANCE | Dir. Puneet Rakheja | India.
RANI | Dir. Manish Sharma | India.
NO LOVE LOST | Dir. Shekhar Bassi | UK.
FLY BIRD (CHIDIYA UDH) | Dir. Pranjal Dua | India.
ALCHEMY | Dir. Pranay Patwardhan, Janmeet Singh, Shivangi Ranawan | India, China.
OUT POST | Dir. Shiva Shankar Bajpai | India.
DEVIL IN THE BLACK STONE (KAPPU KALLINA SAITANA) | Dir. Ananya Kasaravalli | India.
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