The 18th Annual Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles Announces Lineup and Gala Screenings

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The 18th Annual Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles Announces Lineup and Gala Screenings

The Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) today announced its 2020 lineup of narrative and documentary features, shorts, and opening night gala event. The festival will be held from April 1st - 5th 2020.

The festival will open with An Evening with Imtiaz Ali, one of Hindi cinema's most respected and charismatic writer-directors. Imtiaz Ali will be joined onstage by celebrated Indian filmmaker, Anurag Kashyap to discuss the scope and influence of Imtiaz Ali's career. Imtiaz Ali has captivated global audiences with his distinctive love stories that are relatable and original. In 2005 he made his directorial debut with the charming Socha Na Tha, quickly followed by Jab We Met, which brought him instant acclaim. His 2009 film Love Aaj Kal was a massive critical success and box office smash, which he followed up with the stylistically rich Rockstar in 2011.

Imtiaz Ali's conversation with Anurag Kashyap will be followed by the screening of one of his most lauded films, 2014's Highway, an enthralling road movie that thrust into the limelight Alia Bhatt (Dear Zindagi) one of the most formidable actors working in Hindi cinema today.

"We are thrilled to open this year's festival with an insightful and unfiltered conversation with Imtiaz Ali, moderated by longtime friend of IFFLA Anurag Kashyap," said Christina Marouda, IFFLA's Executive Director. "Imtiaz's intuitive work with actors and independent spirit are a natural fit for IFFLA."


IFFLA's Closing Night on April 5th will see the Los Angeles premiere of The MisEducation of Bindu, a delightful coming-of-age tale set in the American suburbs about a bright young Indian girl who resolves to test out of her high school, but must turn to the students who constantly torment her to raise the money for the test fee. Directed by Prarthana Mohan (Turn Around) and starring Megan Suri (How To Get Away With Murder), Priyanka Bose (Lion), and David Arquette (Scream 3), the film was produced by Mark Duplass (Safety Not Guaranteed) and Jay Duplass (Transparent) after it won their campaign in partnership with crowdfunding platform Seed&Spark to find America's Next Generation of Indie Filmmakers. The cast and Mark Duplass are expected to attend.

The lineup includes narrative and documentary features, and shorts for the festival's 18th edition, which boasts 5 World, 1 North American, 4 U.S. and 10 Los Angeles premieres, spanning 12 languages, with 50% of all films premiering directed by women.

IFFLA's feature lineup includes a vast array of highlights from the past year's international festival circuit, including IFFLA alum Bhaskar Hazarika's Tribeca 2019 selection, the romance-thriller Aamis (Ravening); SXSW 2020 sci-fi fantasy title Cargo, starring IFFLA favorites Vikrant Massey (A Death in the Gunj) and Shweta Tripathi (Masaan) as otherworldly astronauts charged with processing the recently deceased into reincarnation; Dolly Kitty and Those Twinkling Stars starring Konkana Sen Sharma (Omkara) and directed by Alankrita Shrivastava whose controversial previous film Lipstick Under My Burkha opened IFFLA 2017; Gitanjali Rao's animated opus Bombay Rose, whose handpainted images took six years to complete before its debut in the 2019 Venice Film Festival; and Geetu Mohandas, who helmed India's 2014 Oscar entry, Liar's Dice, brings the Malayalam-language Moothon (The Elder One), a Toronto 2019 premiere which blends high-paced action with beautifully rendered queer themes.

This year's selection highlights both filmmakers working in India and in the diaspora community, the latter notable especially in the festival's diverse and exciting short film selection, whose highlights include the comedy COFFEE SHOP Names starring Danny Pudi (Community), Karan Soni (Deadpool 1 & 2), Kausar Mohammed (Silicon Valley); the world premiere of Uncle, starring Ajay Naidu (Office Space), Omar Maskati (Netflix's Unbelievable), and Rizwan Manji (Schitt's Creek); and the U.S. premiere of The Loyal Man, a riveting thriller set in France among the Tamil-speaking community.

"This year's lineup exemplifies the boundless creativity on display in the Indian independent film community and its diaspora" said Mike Dougherty, IFFLA's Director of Programming. "Visitors to IFFLA this year have their choice of animation, sci-fi/fantasy, romance, documentary, comedy, thriller and more, in films that in typical IFFLA fashion deal with hard-hitting political themes, and that challenge as well as entertain. I couldn't be more proud of the films we're presenting."

An exciting highlight of this year's IFFLA will be back-to-back Master Classes with two of India's top filmmakers Imtiaz Ali and Anurag Kashyap. Imtiaz Ali will discuss how he works with actors to create the vast world his characters inhabit within his films. Anurag Kashyap will discuss the arc of his career aided by various clips of his work to demonstrate how directing skills can develop over time, and lessons he's learned on set over the course of his impressive filmography.. These exciting programs will run on Saturday, April 4 and are open to all audiences and passholders.

The renowned premiere global showcase for groundbreaking Indian cinema, IFFLA will take place this year April 1-5 at Regal L.A. LIVE: A Barco Innovation Center in Los Angeles. The Opening Night Gala presentation will take place at ArcLight Hollywood, with an after-party to follow hosted by Spice Affair in Beverly Hills. Passes and Gala tickets go on sale today, February 19. Individual tickets will go on sale on February 25 at www.indianfilmfestival.org.

Now in its 18th year, the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) is a nonprofit organization devoted to a greater appreciation of Indian cinema and culture by showcasing films and promoting the diverse perspectives of the Indian diaspora.

The five-day festival is the premiere platform for the latest in cutting-edge global Indian cinema and bridges the gap between the two largest entertainment industries in the world - Hollywood and India.

Opening Night Gala

An Evening with Imtiaz Ali, followed by a screening of Highway

Join us for a special evening as we celebrate Imtiaz Ali, one of Hindi cinema's most respected and charismatic writer-directors. The program will feature an on-stage conversation between Ali and Anurag Kashyap, acclaimed IFFLA alum and a veteran of Indian independent cinema, leading into a screening of Ali's enthralling 2014 romantic road thriller, Highway. The red carpet event will take place at ArcLight Hollywood, followed by a dinner reception and after party hosted by Spice Affair.

Ever since his disarming debut in 2005's Socha Na Tha, Imtiaz Ali has been felicitated for his distinctive viewpoint on love and romance, vulnerable male characters, and layered female characters. If in his 2007 commercial hit Jab We Met, Ali delighted audiences with the chemistry between a plucky Kareena Kapoor and a reticent Shahid Kapoor, in his 2011 Rockstar, he sculpted a monument of Ranbir Kapoor's formidable acting talent while setting to story one of the memorable soundtracks of the decade.

What makes Ali so popular with both cinephiles and everyday moviegoers is his enviable ability to marry utterly relatable characters with their unusually developed conflicts. Highway is a stellar example of all of Imtiaz's virtues as a storyteller.


Highway
India/2014/133mins/Hindi

Director: Imtiaz Ali

Producers: Sajid Nadiadwala, Imtiaz Ali

Screenwriter: Imtiaz Ali

Cinematographer: Anil Mehta

Editor: Aarti Bajaj

Cast: Alia Bhatt, Randeep Hooda, Durgesh Kumar, Saharsh Kumar Shukla

The film that overnight made Alia Bhatt one of the most formidable actors of her generation, Highway is the tale of the spoilt daughter of a powerful Delhi industrialist who on the eve of her wedding is abducted by a hard-hearted truck driver (an exceptional Randeep Hooda). Their escape from the authorities leads them through some starkly beautiful landscapes of Kashmir, Rajasthan and Punjab, as well as towards the confrontation of a deep common pain in their pasts. As an audience we become wayfarers along their endearing journey that spins the wheels of the rich girl--poor boy trope. Expertly reining in melodrama with an authentic sense of place, Imtiaz Ali guides his characters towards realizations about freedom and bondage, and most impactful of all, how their feelings for each other might not simply be a matter of circumstance. Highway is ultimately an empowering film about the courageous choices women make in a world dictated by men.

Closing Night Gala

The MisEducation of Bindu

India/2019/92mins/English

Director: Prarthana Mohan

Producer: Edward Timpe

Screenwriters: Kay Tuxford, Prarthana Mohan

Cinematographer: Dani Sanchez-Lopez

Editor: Mike Villasuso

Cast: Megan Suri, David Arquette, Priyanka Bose, Philip Labes, Gordan Winarick, Jake Morrissy

Her homeschooling days behind her, Bindu is an Indian teen fed up with high school and determined to test out early. When a small fee is ALL THAT stands in the way of her freedom, she'll have to confront her bullies and pool her resources before the day is up.

Narrative Features:

Aamis (Ravening)

India/2019/107mins/Assamese

Los Angeles Premiere

Director: Bhaskar Hazarika

Producer: Shyam Bora

Screenwriter: Bhaskar Hazarika

Cinematographer: Riju Das

Editor: Shweta Rai Chamling

Cast: Lima Das, Arghadeep Baruah, Neetali Das

Forbidden by society from consummating their desires, a PhD student and a married pediatrician sublimate their feelings for one another into a sensual obsession with exotic meats that drives them to break the ultimate taboo.

Bombay Rose

UK/France/India/Qatar/2019/93mins/Hindi

Los Angeles Premiere

Director: Gitanjali Rao

Producers: Rohit Khattar, Anand Mahindra

Screenwriter: Gitanjali Rao

Cinematographer: Paperboat Design Studios

Editor: Gitanjali Rao

Cast: Cyli Khare, Amit Deondi, Gargi sole, Makrand Deshpande

Several tales of love are connected by a single red rose in Gitanjali Rao's animated feature debut.

Cargo

India/2019/113mins/English

Los Angeles Premiere

Director: Arati Kadav

Producers: Navin Shetty, Shlok Sharma, Arati Kadav

Screenwriter: Arati Kadav

Cinematographer: Kaushal Shah

Editor: Paramita Ghosh

Cast: Vikrant Massey, Shweta Tripathi, Nandu Madhav

Prahastha, a demon who works in solitude aboard a spaceship transitioning the recently deceased into their next life, has his predictable routine thrown into chaos when a popular new demon is assigned to work alongside him.

Children of the Sun (Gaadi)

Sri Lanka/2019/103mins/Sinhalese

Los Angeles Premiere

Director: Prasanna Vithanage

Producers: Sandya Salgado, Alan McAlex, Ajay Rai, H.D. Premasiri, Prasanna Vithanage

Screenwriter: Prasanna Vithanage

Cinematographer: Rajeev Ravi

Editor: A. Sreekar Prasad

Cast: Sajitha Anuththara, Dinara Punchihewa

In early 1800s Ceylon during the advent of British colonialism, a forbidden love story unfolds when a Buddhist noblewoman is exiled to marry a man from the outcast community after the noblemen's covert deal to oust the island's Tamil king goes awry.

Dolly Kitty And Those Twinkling Stars

India/2019/130mins/Hindi

Los Angeles Premiere

Director: Alankrita Shrivastava

Producer: Ekta Kapoor

Screenwriter: Alankrita Shrivastava

Cinematographer: John Jacob Payyapalli

Editor: Charushree Roy

Cast: Konkona Sen Sharma, Bhumi Pednekar, Aamir Bashir, Amol Parashar

Two cousins-one a dreamer in a call center for a romance app, the other a government employee faking romance IRL-find themselves desperately entangled in the trappings of love and desire in the materialistic enclaves of Noida.

The sisters' search for genuine intimacy initially drives them apart, even as the men in their lives prove gutless romeos. Anchored by committed performances by Konkana Sen Sharma and Bhumi Pednekar, IFFLA alum Alankrita Shrivastava's (Lipstick Under My Burkha) surprisingly tender melodrama cruises the bombastic urban cultures of northern India where souls desperate for connection abandon themselves behind shocking pink facades, unable to extract the boys from the toys or the caresses from the carnival rides.

Eeb Allay Ooo!

India/2019/97mins/Hindi

US Premiere

Director: Prateek Vats

Producer: Shwetaabh Singh

Screenwriter: Shubham

Cinematographer: Saumyananda Sahi

Editor: Tanushree Das

Cast: Shardul Bhardwaj, Mahender Nath, Shashi Bhushan, Nutan Sinha, Naina Sareen, Nitin Goel

Hired as a "monkey repeller" to scare away primates from Delhi's government buildings, Anjani unexpectedly connects with his animal aggression as he struggles against his exploitative boss and the pressures of social conformity.

Just Like That

India/2019/120mins/Hindi

US Premiere

Director: Kislay

Producer: Shwetaabh Singh

Screenwriter: Kislay

Cinematographer: Saumyananda Sahi

Editor: Tanushree Das

Cast: Mohini Sharma, Harish Khanna, Sadhna Singh, Trimala Adhikari, Saumya Jakhmola, Shivam Sharma

After her husband of 52 years dies, Mrs. Sharma defies the expectations of her family and refuses to move in with them, choosing instead to forge her own path and strike up new friendships that make her THE TALK of her small town.

Moothon (The Elder One)

India/2019/119mins/Malayalam, Hindi

Los Angeles Premiere

Director: Geetu Mohandas

Producer: Vinod Kumar

Screenwriter: Geetu Mohandas

Cinematographer: Rajeev Ravi

Editors: Ajith Kumar, Kiran Das

Cast: Nivin Pauly, Shashank Arora, Roshan Mathew, Sanjana Dipu, Sobhita Dhulipala

14-year-old Mulla leaves home behind to find his long-lost brother in the dangerous streets of Mumbai, falling under the sway of a local crime boss with secrets of his own.

Documentary Features:

Because We Are Girls

Canada/2019/85mins/English, Punjabi

Los Angeles Premiere

Director: Baljit Sangra

Producers: Selwyn Jacob, Shirley Vercruysse

Screenwriter: Baljit Sangra

Cinematographer: Grant Baldwin

Editors: Carmen Pollard, Jessica Dymond

Cast: Jeeti Pooni, Kira Pooni, Salakshana Pooni, Narinder Pooni, Gurdev Pooni

The dark underbelly of a Punjabi Canadian family in Williams Lake, British Columbia lies exposed when three sisters break more than two decades of silence by taking legal action against their sexually abusive cousin and confronting the members of their immediate family who enabled him.

Pariah Dog

USA/2019/77mins/Bengali, English

Los Angeles Premiere

Director: Jesse Alk

Producer: Jesse Alk

Screenwriters: Jesse Alk, Koustav Sinha

Cinematographer: Jesse Alk

Editor: Jesse Alk

Cast: Subrata Das, Malika Sarkar, Kajal Halder, Pinaki Dasgupta

Four marginalized, deeply compassionate individuals battle with personal pain, poverty and social discrimination to do the thing they love above all: take care of the pariah stray dogs that roam the streets of Kolkata.

Shorts:

Bittu

India/USA/2020/17mins/Hindi

World Premiere

Director: Karishma Dev Dube

Producer: Mary Evangelista

Screenwriter: Karishma Dube

Cinematographer: Shreya Dube

Editors: Colin Elliott, Karishma Dube

Cast: Rani Kumari, Renu Kumari, Saurabh Saraswat

When adversity strikes, the future may depend on Bittu, a defiant young girl with a brilliantly foul tongue.

Coffee Shop Names

USA/2020/8mins/English

Los Angeles Premiere

Director: Deepak Sethi

Producer: Valerie Steinberg

Screenwriter: Deepak Sethi

Cinematographer: Jack McDonald

Editor: Stephanie Kaznocha

Cast: Danny Pudi, Karan Soni, Kausar Mohammed, Anders Holm

As they wait for the barista to call out their coffee drinks, three Indian colleagues fantasize about their alternate personas that inspired their fake Americanized names.

Custody

India/2019/23mins/Hindi, English, Bengali, Marathi

US Premiere

Director: Ambiecka Pandit

Producer: Ambiecka Pandit

Screenwriters: Ambiecka Pandit, Karan Pandit

Cinematographer: Satya Rai Nagpaul

Editor: Atanu Mukherjee

Cast: Karan Pandit, Trimala Adhikari, Geetika Vidya, Swaroopa Ghosh, Tanaji Dasgupta, Sanghmitra Hitaishi

When carelessness results in tragedy, a group of friends celebrating New Year's Eve in Mumbai turn on each other.

The Flying Trunk

India/2019/13mins/Pahari

World Premiere

Director: Siddharth Chauhan

Producer: Siddharth Chauhan

Screenwriter: Siddharth Chauhan

Cinematographers: Yashwant Kumar Sharma, Siddharth Chauhan

Editors: Kartik Jaryal, Ish Sharma & Siddharth Chauhan

Cast: Arush Thakur, Divya Tegta Saagar, Zunchi Devi, Sheetal Mehta

In a remote Himalayan village, a young orphan boy's imagination is fueled by his eccentric grandmother's fantastical tales.

Ghazaal

India/2019/15mins/Persian

Director: Ragini Bhasin

Producer: Kevin Wang

Screenwriter: Ragini Bhasin

Cinematographer: Connor Vickers

Editor: Emma Wang

Cast: Ghazaal Khirandesh, Bilal Khirandesh, Farid Khirandesh

A resourceful teenager living in a refugee camp where basic personal hygiene has become a luxury is on a mission to survive the onset of her menstrual period.

The Loyal Man

France/2019/37mins/Tamil, French

US Premiere

Director: Lawrence Valin

Producers: Simon Bleuzé, Marc Bordure

Screenwriters: Marlene Poste, Lawrence Valin

Cinematographer: Maxence Lemonnier

Editor: Anais Manuelli

Cast: Lawrence Valin, Aurora Marion, Anthonythasan Jesuthasan

A devoted henchman's loyalty to Sir, the feared leader of the Parisian Tamil mafia, is shaken when he takes a young immigrant woman under his wing.

Proof (Saboot)

India/2019/20mins/Hindi

Los Angeles Premiere

Director: Nishtha Jain

Producer: Ritesh Jaltare

Screenwriter: Nishtha Jain

Cinematographer: Deepti Gupta

Editor: Nishtha Jain

Cast: Ritesh Jaltare, Susmita Sur, Martin Jishil, Nidhi Mishra, Aman Jeet, Rakhi Mansha

A novice gynecologist at a government hospital in Delhi gets a lesson in callous indifference and bureaucracy when a victim of sexual assault arrives for care at his clinic.

The Shower

USA/2019/14mins/English

World Premiere

Director: Mahesh Pailoor

Producers: Adil Chamakh, Pia Shah

Screenwriter: Pia Shah

Cinematographer: Taylor Frontier

Editor: Mahesh Pailoor

Cast: Pia Shah, Emily C. Chang, Rupak Ginn

Two worlds collide when Maya's oldest friend shows up at her baby shower, single and child-free.

The Song We Sang

India/2020/20mins/English, Hindi

World Premiere

Director: Aarti Neharsh

Producers: Rahul Tejwani, Chintan Bhatt, Manan Bhatt

Screenwriters: Aarti Neharsh, Chintan Bhatt

Cinematographer: Nishant Gala

Editor: Manan Bhatt

Cast: Serena Walia, Ayushi Gupta

Roaming the streets of Ahmedabad on a festive Navaratri night, two young women may have the chance to fall for each other.

Sunday

India/2019/10mins/Hindi

North American Premiere

Director: Arun Fulara

Producer: Arun Fulara

Screenwriter: Arun Fulara

Cinematographer: Rangoli Agarwal

Editor: Kaivalya Kayande

Cast: Shrikant Yadav, Prakash Joshi

A middle aged man makes a pilgrimage to his favorite barber shop every Sunday, rain or shine. And it's not just for a shave.

Uncle

USA/2019/12mins/English

World Premiere

Director: Andrew Carter

Producers: Kahlil Maskati, Andrew Carter, Omar Maskati, Cory Yee, Amy Hartman

Screenwriter: Kahlil Maskati

Cinematographer: Patrick Ouziel

Editor: Andrew Carter

Cast: Omar Maskati, Ajay Naidu, Rizwan Manji

A father and son's daily morning commute is the perfect time for some good bickering and their chance for connection.




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