MUMBAI: On Tuesday, 18 March, the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) announced its 2014 lineup of narrative and documentary features and short films for this year’s festival. The impressive program reflects the rich diversity of Indian cinema, as well as the future of Indian filmmaking, with filmmakers bringing their acclaimed films to Los Angeles (LA).
The festival, widely recognized as the premiere showcase of groundbreaking Indian cinema globally is celebrating its 12th year. The IFFLA will run from 8-13 April at ArcLight Hollywood in Los Angeles, the festival’s home since its inception.
The culinary comedy, Jadoo has been chosen as the Closing Night Gala Film. Jadoo, a delightful and delicious exploration of family bonds amidst two feuding brothers’ restaurants in England, will screen as the festival’s Closing Night Gala. Jadoo is written and directed by IFFLA alum Amit Gupta, and first premiered at the 2013 Berlinale (Berlin Film Festival). It features a wonderful ensemble cast that includes Kulvinder Ghir, Amara Karan, Harish Patel, Tom Mison, and Madhur Jaffrey. The red-carpet screening will be followed by an exclusive after-party at Nirvana-Bombay Palace in Beverly Hills.
As previously announced, IFFLA will open with Jeffrey D. Brown’s Sold, produced by Jane Charles, and executive produced by Emma Thompson.
IFFLA’s Artistic Director Jasmine Jaisinghani expressed his excitement in a press release stating that he is proud of this year’s IFFLA line-up which includes an especially diverse range of cinematic experiences, covering many regions of India and the diaspora. Jaisinghani said, “We would like to thank our Programming Advisor in India, Uma Da Cunha, for helping our programming team source some of these exceptional films.”
Program highlights also include the North American premiere of Anurag Kashyap’s latest, Ugly, an intense, masterfully directed psychological thriller that premiered in the 2013 Director’s Fortnight section of Cannes; Liar’s Dice, the remarkable directorial debut of South Indian actress Geetu Mohandas that premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival; Anup Singh’s latest feature Qissa: The Tale of a Lonely Ghost, starring Irrfan Khan (Life of Pi, Slumdog Millionaire), winner of NETPAC Award at the Toronto International Film Festival, and Dioraphte Award at the International Film Festival Rotterdam; the Audience Award winner at the 2013 Slamdance Film Festival Hank & Asha, an exploratory, romantic look at two people bonding in the digital age by newcomer James E. Duff; Nagraj Manjule’s Fandry, a highly praised debut feature for its multilayered emotion and realism on the subject of caste discrimination; Brahmin Bulls, starring Roshan Seth (Gandhi, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Mississippi Masala) and Sendhil Ramamurthy (Beauty and the Beast, Heroes) as an estranged father and son unexpectedly brought together to confront the family’s past; and Siddharth, a nuanced look at a family whose son goes missing, by lauded Canadian director and IFFLA alum Richie Mehta (Amal).
The festival’s feature documentary competition includes an eclectic mix of films from established and upcoming filmmakers that consider India’s unique traditions and dynamic future. The films include: the world premiere of The Auction House, an intimate and funny look at two brothers trying to keep their anachronistic family business going in the digital age; festival favorite Powerless, which depicts intense struggles over electricity in a mid-size Indian city; Faith Connections, IFFLA alum Pan Nalin’s beautiful and rare look at the Kumbh Mela; and the National Award-winning Shepherds of Paradise, about an arduous, mountainous trek through an animal drive in the Kashmiri winter.
The popular Bollywood by Night series returns this year with Bombay Talkies and Monsoon Shoutout. Premiering at last year’s Cannes Film Festival, Bombay Talkies is a quartet of short films that celebrates 100 years of Indian cinema. The omnibus film features work by four of India’s most exciting contemporary directors: Karan Johar, Dibakar Banerjee, Zoya Akhtar, and Anurag Kashyap, as well as a stellar cast that includes Amitabh Bachchan, Rani Mukerji, and Katrina Kaif. Monsoon Shootout is a thrilling debut by IFFLA alum writer/director Amit Kumar, about how a split-second decision made by a rookie police officer has rippling effects in his life and the lives of those around him.
The shorts competition showcases a diverse selection of 15 films that include narrative, documentary, experimental, and animated works. Highlights of this year’s program include Academy Award shortlisted Kush; Sundance award winner Love.Love.Love; and the world premiere of acclaimed director Umesh Kulkarni’s The Fly.