FESTIVAL HIGHS

2017 Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles announces Award Winners

The 15th annual Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) began on April 5th and concluded on Sunday evening (April 9th) with a red carpet and gala that featured the Los Angeles premiere of Shubhashish Bhutiani’s ‘Hotel Salvation’ starring Adil Hussain who was in attendance, as well as the presentation of the festival’s Grand Jury and Audience Choice Awards presented by HBO.

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.

 

A still from ‘Hotel Salvation’

 

The festival is widely recognized as the premiere showcase of groundbreaking Indian cinema globally. This year the festival featured two World premieres, five North American premieres, five U.S. premieres, and eleven LA premieres. This festival premiered work representing twelve languages, and highlighted a combination of exciting first and second-time filmmakers and experienced cinema masters returning with new work.

Grand Jury Winners

 ‘The Golden Wing’, directed by Bobby Sarma Baruah took home the Grand Jury Prize for Best Feature. In awarding the Grand Prize, the narrative jury stated: “We wanted to recognize this  work for its artistry in storytelling and filmmaking, its exploration of class and society, and for  the seamless and elegant way in which it incorporates music and performance. This is a film that  celebrates a woman’s independence, her compassion and humanism and ultimately her enduring  reputation as an artist.” ‘The Golden Wing’ was filmed in Assam in the rare Rajbangshi language.  (Still from the film, on left)

A special jury mention was made for ‘Lady of the Lake’, directed by Haobam Paban Kumar “for its inspired and distinctly cinematic fusion of magical realism and docu-fiction approaches in depicting the beleaguered fishing community living atop and among the hypnotic floating biomasses of Loktak Lake in the little-photographed Manipur region.”

The Grand Jury Prize for Best Short was presented to ‘Devi’, directed by Karishma Dube. Regarding the Grand Jury Prize for Best Short, the jury awarded “its well-defined characters, elegant narrative economy and subtle performances depicting a taboo gay attraction.” (Still from the film, on right)

Shorts Special Mention was given to ‘Gudh’, directed by Saurav Rai “for lyrical storytelling to a film that uses poetic wandering of a child’s memory in a way that is quietly acrobatic, emotionally resonant and ultimately elevates its storytelling to a cinema of the senses.”

Audience Choice Awards

The audiences at this year’s IFFLA chose the following as their favourites in different categories –

Best Feature (Documentary): ‘An Insignificant Man’, directed by Khushboo Ranka and Vinay Shukla
A crowd funding campaign was launched in 2014 in order to garner financial support to see the film till its final stages. The largest of its kind in India, the campaign collected close to 600% of the target amount from contributors in India as well as other countries. The documentary is about the rise of anti-corruption protests in India and the formation and rise to power of the Aam Aadmi Party (Common Man’s Party).

Best Feature (Narrative): ‘A Billion Colour Story’, Padmakumar Narasimhamurthy
The film follows Hari, an exceptionally perceptive 21st century metropolitan kid, brought up in comfort, love and kindness. His parents, specially his father, have always taught him to love his country. However, certain disturbing twists and turns in their life change their circumstances and upset their idyllic existence.

Best Short: ‘Aaba’, directed by Amar Kaushik
Shot in the picturesque Arunachal Pradesh, the story of ‘Aaba’ revolves around an orphan girl from the Apatani tribe, who comes across the news of her grandfather reaching the terminal stages of lung cancer. As he starts counting his days, unexpected developments take place.

The prestigious 2017 narrative film jury was composed of David Marriott (VP, Acquisitions & Distribution, Cinelicious), Gingger Shankar (composer), and Kim Yutani (Sundance Film Festival). Actor Ritesh Rajan, Producer Kim Sherman and Kelly Thomas were the jurors for the short film categories.

From left to right: Satish Kaushik (producer/actor of ‘A Billion Colour Story’), Padmakumar Narasimhamurthy (director of ‘A Billion Colour Story’), Khushboo Ranka and Vinay Shukla (co-directors of ‘An Insignificant Man’), Bobby Sarma Baruah (director of ‘The Golden Wing’), Basanta Kumar Baruah (producer of ‘The Golden Wing’), Karishma Dube (director of ‘Devi’), and Amar Kaushik (director of ‘Aaba’)

 

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