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Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) announces Galas and a stellar line-up

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MUMBAI:  The 14 edition of the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) held at ArcLight, Hollywood in Los Angeles, California from 6 to 10 April, 2016, announced its eclectic line-up of 27 films (16 features and 11 shorts) to be screened this year.

The festival is widely recognized as the premiere showcase of ground breaking Indian cinema globally.

Opening the festival on April 6 is the U.S. premiere of the powerful Angry Indian Goddesses, from filmmaker and four-time IFFLA alum Pan Nalin. Anu Menon’s poignant Waiting, starring Naseeruddin Shah and Kalki Koechlin, closes the festival with its North American premiere on April 10. Gala tickets and passes are now available at http://www.indianfilmfestival.org/.

Three films will have their world premiere at the five-day film festival namely, CRD by Kranti Kanade, Babu’s Dilemma by Collin D'Cunha, and Anurag Kashyap produced Mochi (The Cobbler) by Saqib Pandor. In addition, there will be two North American premieres, and ten U.S. premieres.

More features and shorts from female filmmakers will be presented this year by IFFLA than ever before, including: Deepa Mehta’s gangster drama Beeba Boys; Leena Yadav’s Parched, a piercing examination of India’s patriarchal culture through the stories of four women; Ruchika Oberoi’s genre-bending triptych, Island City; and Rinku Kalsy’s documentary For the Love of a Man, about the fierce devotion shared by South-Indian superstar Rajinikanth’s fans; and in the shorts program, Payal Sethi’s Leeches, Megha Ramaswamy’s Bunny, Pritha Chakraborthy’s Ashrut (Silent Voices) and Sonejuhi Sinha’sLove Comes Later, among others.

The festival also features two LGBT titles, Hansal Mehta’s politically-charged Aligarh and the short Daaravtha (The Threshold) by Nishant Roy Bombarde, which are bold and compelling statements from filmmakers.

Tamil cinema has recently emerged as a force on the world stage, and this is exemplified in the two fascinating? Tamil features in the program: Visaaranai (Interrogation) and Kirumi (Virus).

Highlights in the shorts program include the world premiere of Mochi (The Cobbler), an impressive directorial debut from Saqib Pandor, produced by Anurag Kashyap, and the North American premiere of Anuj Gulati’s The Manliest Man, a boldly told, absurdist tale that reveals a visionary emerging director.

Attending the festival this year to present their films will be a host of celebrated filmmakers, including Bhaskar Hazarika (Kothanodi), KrantiKanade (CRD), Hansal Mehta (Aligarh), Prashant Nair & Swati Shetty (Umrika), Pan Nalin(Angry Indian Goddesses),Ruchika Oberoi (Island City), Q (Brahman Naman) and Leena Yadav (Parched).

IFFLA will also host stars from a number of films, including Kalki Koechlin (Waiting) and many of the actors featured in Angry Indian Goddesses.

Talking about the impressive line-up, Christina Marouda, Founder of IFFLA said, "India's independent filmmakers are taking bold risks, defying convention, and responding to injustice in each of these visionary films, and the results are breathtaking.” Mike Dougherty, the Director of Programming adds, “I'm extremely excited for our Los Angeles audience to experience these films, which have garnered raves from around the world, or are making their world premieres with us.”

Complete Line-up

OPENING NIGHT GALA

ANGRY INDIAN GODDESSES

India/2015/115min/DCP/Hindi and English

U.S. Premiere

Director: Pan Nalin

Logline: When an eclectic group of women gathers to celebrate the impending nuptials of a close mutual friend, sparks fly as they each discover the power - and the fury - of the angry goddesses that lie within.  

CLOSING NIGHT GALA

WAITING

India/2015/92min/DCP/Hindi and English

North American Premiere

Director: Anu Menon

Logline: While their spouses lie in comas, two strangers develop a deep connection in the hospital to help support each other through the trials of waiting and grief.

FEATURES

•ALIGARH

India/2015/114min/DCP/Hindi

Los Angeles Premiere

Director: Hansal Mehta

Logline: The true story of Dr. ShrinivasRamchandraSiras, a linguistics professor at Aligarh Muslim University whose outing and threatened termination caused an uproar.

•BEEBA BOYS

Canada/2015/103min/DCP/Punjabi and English

Los Angeles Premiere

Director: Deepa Mehta (IFFLA alum)

Logline: A ruthless and charismatic Sikh Canadian gangster leads his crew into war for drugs, money and respect.

•BRAHMAN NAMAN

UK/2015/90min/DCP/English

Los Angeles Premiere

Director: Q

Logline:  A team of misfits at Bangalore University makes an alcohol-fueled cross-country journey to the National Quiz Championships, determined to defeat their archrivals and lose their virginities.

This year’s Sundance Film Festival heard non-stop buzz about director Q’s latest brazen cinematic provocation: a 1980s-set coming-of-age sex comedy. There’s much more on this film’s mind than young lust and sexual hijinks…but it does have plenty of that to spare!

•CRD

India/2016/108min/DCP/Hindi and English

World Premiere

Director: Kranti Kanade (IFFLA alum)

Logline:  As aspiring writer Chetan prepares to compete in a prestigious college theater festival, he explores his creative impulses in radical, hilarious and destructive ways.

•FOR THE LOVE OF A MAN

India/2015/82min/DCP/Tamil and English

U.S. Premiere

Director: Rinku Kalsy

Logline: An entertaining and unforgettable look at the godlike devotion by millions of fans for South-Indian super-star Rajinikanth.

•ISLAND CITY

India/2015/111min/DCP/Hindi

U.S. Premiere

Director: Ruchika Oberoi

Logline: Three stories set in the sprawling city of Mumbai reveal the absurd, bittersweet and heartbreaking ways three characters attempt to push back against society’s plans for them.

Oberoi brilliantly plays with genre as her film effortlessly shifts from absurdist comedy to escapist fantasy to realist drama (there’s even a tinge of science fiction). Though each character’s journey is markedly different, their goals are similar: to push back against the demands forced on them without any regard for their personal desires. Oberoi’s unique vision won the Best Young Director Award of the Venice Days section at the 2015 Venice Film Festival.

•KIRUMI (Virus)

India/2015/99min/DCP/Tamil

U.S. Premiere

Director: Anucharan Murugaiyan

Logline:  An irresponsible young man finds work as a police informant, but his careless tactics soon anger some of Chennai’s most dangerous criminals, and put him and his loved ones in jeopardy.

First-time director Anucharan Murugaiyan delivers a riveting, white-knuckle thriller from a script co-written with rising star and Tamil filmmaker M. Manikandan (director of 2015 IFFLA Audience Award winner THE CROW’S EGG). Their collaboration is a fine example of Tamil cinema's recent emergence as a force on the world stage, and a superb elevation of the crime genre into a stylish, sophisticated look at corruption from the inside.

•KOTHANODI (The River of Fables)

India/2015/117min/DCP/Assamese

U.S. Premiere

Director: Bhaskar Hazarika

Logline:  A darker side to motherhood is revealed in these Assamese folktales about four women’s strange and unsettling relationships with their children.

•MASAAN (Fly Away Solo)

India, France/2015/109min/DCP/Hindi

Director: Neeraj Ghaywan (IFFLA alum)

Logline:  Four very different lives intersect along the Ganges, each longing to escape the moral constructs of a small town.

In the past year, IFFLA alum Neeraj Ghaywan’s debut feature has become one of the most celebrated independent Indian films in recent memory. Its premiere in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard section saw the film win the prestigious FIPRESCI prize, and the section’s jury honored Ghaywan with the Promising Future Award. The film’s release in India garnered rave reviews and is poised to make stars of its talented young cast, including Vicky Kaushal, Richa Chadha and Shweta Tripathi.

•OTTAAL (The Trap)

India/2014/81min/DCP/Malayalam

U.S. Premiere

Director:  Jayaraj Rajasekharan Nair

Logline: When an orphan's kind grandfather falls ill, the young boy is confronted with the bleak fate of millions of children worldwide.

Winner of the Crystal Bear in the Generation Kplus section of the 2016 Berlin International Film Festival, OTTAAL is directed with patient mastery by director Jayaraj Rajasekharan Nair, and anchored by a heartbreaking performance from its young lead, Ashanth K. Sha.

•PARCHED

India/UK/USA/2015/117min/DCP/Hindi

Los Angeles Premiere

Director: Leena Yadav

Logline: Four small-town women struggling with mistreatment and misogyny find surprising ways to take control of their lives.

Leena Yadav's drama premiered at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival, and went on to play the Stockholm International Film Festival, where it won the festival’s Impact Award. With vivid, lived-in performances and a script by Yadav that never simplifies what is a complex reality for many Indian women, PARCHED spotlights a harsh patriarchal culture and the women and girls who remain steadfast within it.

•UMRIKA

India/2015/102min/DCP/Hindi

Los Angeles Premiere

Director: Prashant Nair (IFFLA alum)

Log line: A young man must learn the truth about what happened to his older brother after he left their small Indian village for the magical, faraway land of “Umrika.”

Showcasing winning performances by Suraj Sharma (LIFE OF PI) and Tony Revolori (THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL), UMRIKA won the Sundance World Cinema Dramatic Audience Award along with other accolades at festivals around the world. With a moving mix of humor, piercing loss and sacrifice, writer-director and IFFLA alum Prashant Nair captures the power of stories about the faraway, mythical places that are never quite real, but we still risk everything to reach.

•VISAARANAI (Interrogation)

India/2015/108min/DCP/Tamil

Los Angeles Premiere

Director: Vetri Maaran

Logline: When a Tamil-speaking immigrant lands in jail on trumped up charges, he must navigate a labyrinth of police brutality and corruption.

SHORTS

•ASHRUT (Silent Voices)

India/2014/26min/DCP/Bengali

Los Angeles Premiere

Director: Pritha Chakraborty

Logline: An intimate documentary portrait of three sisters and their mother that explores the women’s unrealized dreams and confinement to domesticity.

•BABU’S DILEMMA

India/2015/24min/HDCAM/Hindi and English

World Premiere

Director: Collin D'Cunha

Logline: An immigrant construction worker in Dubai who can barely make ends meet must find a way to send an expensive gift to his wife back in India.

•BUNNY

India/2015/15min/DCP/Non-dialogue

Los Angeles Premiere

Director: Megha Ramaswamy

Logline: A young girl mourns the death of her stuffed bunny.

•CHHAYA (The Shadow)

UK/2015/10min/DCP/Non-dialogue 

Director: Debanjan Nandy

Logline: Fantasy and reality vehemently clash in the nursing home quarters of a lonely widower.

•DAARAVTHA (The Threshold)

India/2016/30min/DCP/Marathi

U.S. Premiere

Director: Nishant Roy Bombarde

Logline: Torn between a patriarchal Indian upbringing and his natural urge to identify with the opposite gender, an adolescent boy discovers his sexuality.

•LEECHES

India/2016/27min/DCP/Urdu and Dakhani

U.S. Premiere

Director: Payal Sethi

Logline: A woman embarks on a dangerous journey to save her young sister from being sold as a One-Day Bride.

•LOVE COMES LATER

USA/2015/10min/Blu-ray/English

Los Angeles Premiere

Director: Sonejuhi Sinha

Logline: An undocumented motel worker faces a life-altering decision when she discovers she’s pregnant.

•MAST QALANDAR

India/2015/15min/DCP/Punjabi and Hindi

U.S. Premiere

Director: Divij Roopchand

Logline: All this rap-loving Sikh boy wants for his thirteenth birthday is a new hairdo.

•MOCHI (The Cobbler)

India/2016/20min/Blu-ray/Hindi and Marathi

World Premiere

Director: Saqib Pandor

Logline: When a struggling shoe repairman loses an expensive pair of shoes, his entire world starts to crumble.

•PLAYGROUNDS

India/2014/18min/Blu-ray/Hindi and Tamil

U.S. Premiere

Directors: ShamikSen Gupta, Pallavi MD

Logline: When a rickshaw driver discovers a young boy in the back seat of his auto, he embarks on a dark journey to find the child’s parents.

•THE MANLIEST MAN

India/2016/23min/DCP/ Hindi and Bundeli

North American Premiere

Director: Anuj Gulati

Logline: When the village potter fails to produce a son, the community Chief calls for a “manlier” man to help the family bear a male offspring.

About IFFLA

Now in its 14th 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. The festival will showcase more than 25 films from the Indian filmmaking community across the globe, host the highly anticipated Opening and Closing red carpet Galas, and the Closing Awards ceremony.

About ArcLight Cinemas

ArcLight Cinemas, created by Pacific Theatres, a privately owned, Los Angeles based company with 60 years of theatrical exhibition history throughout California, Hawaii and Washington. ArcLight Cinemas operates five theaters in California including Hollywood, Pasadena, Sherman Oaks, El Segundo and La Jolla, and one theater in Bethesda, Md., with additional theaters under construction in Chicago and Santa Monica, California, slated for a 2015 opening. ArcLight also owns and operates the historic Cinerama Dome and programs the TCL Chinese Theatre and IMAX in Hollywood. Pacific Theatres currently operates theaters in Los Angeles that include The Grove and The Americana at Brand in Glendale, CA.

Christina Marouda, Founder of IFFLA and participant filmmakers are available for interviews. Kindly let us know if you would like to speak to anyone of them.

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