NYIFF Takes Virtual Route

By Pickle  July 21, 2020

This year the virtual New York Indian Film Festival will screen Indian films from 13 languages. Running July 24-August 2, the digital NYIFF will open with the streaming of Geetha J’s Malayalam-language Run Kalyani says Festival Director Aseem Chhabra

The 20th edition of the New York Indian Film Festival will go online, powered by MovieSaints, following in the footsteps of many other fests. Running July 24-August 2, the digital NYIFF will open with the streaming of Geetha J’s Malayalam-language Run Kalyani, about a woman who works as a cook while caring for her ailing aunt.

Dedicated to bringing these films to a New York audience and now in the new normal, to a wider global audience through the virtual platform, the festival will feature 12 narrative films, 4 documentaries and 30 shorts (both narratives and documentaries) on a range of subjects and languages. The festival is presented by the Indo-American Arts Council “We are excited to bring this year’s film selection right into audience’s homes. We will be hosting intimate conversations and chats with the filmmakers and stars involved in the movies being presented. This year all the events will stream exclusively on the MovieSaints platform,” Aseem Chhabra Festival Director, as he is gearing up for the 20th edition of the New York Indian Film Festival.

Chhabra’s transports his mind way back when NYIFF evolved. “Immediately after the terror attacks on September 11, 2001, what happened was basically people in New York City were really so scared, stopped going out, restaurants were losing business, which is exactly what has been happening now also. And the Mayor of New York at that time, Rudy Giuliani, basically asked arts organizations to do events so that people could come out because he said that it was important for people to come out and sort of do community approach. And so, in November of 2001, literally a few months after the terror attack, we held our first edition,” says Chhabra, “Run Kalyani is a gorgeous film and got a lot of love from our programming committee,” says Chhabra. The fest will close with Geethu Mohandas’ Moothon, produced by Anurag Kashyap. Mohandas’ Liar’s Dice played in the festival in 2013 and the film was entered in the 2014 Oscar foreign-language race as India’s entry. Moothon is described as a film about love and loss.

“The festival has been running for 20 years. So obviously there is a huge interest. We don’t show Bollywood films. We have nothing against Bollywood. We don’t show other popular films unless we are doing some retrospective or something like that. We showed English Vinglish two years ago when Sri Devi passed away. We are bringing films to people that they cannot access,” Chhabra adds.

All the films are subtitled in English.
For more information, visit http://iaac.us or http://nyiff.moviesaints.com

Two documentaries will be featured as the festival’s centerpieces. Vibha Bakshi’s Son Rise highlights changing the narrative on patriarchy is deeply rooted in states such as Haryana. The Q&A for Son Rise will play on July 28. And the Q&A for Tanuja Chandra’s Aunty Sudha, Aunty Radha, about her two widowed aunts who live in the family home in a village in Uttar Pradesh, streams July 29.

The languages focused on are Assamese, Bengali, Tamil, Malayalam, Hindi, Urdu, Marathi, Kannada, Ladakhi, Punjabi, Khasi, Nepali and Haryanavi. All the films will have English subtitles. The shorts program is divided into four groups: Queer Perspectives; Connection, Explores; Social Ideals & Illusions; and A Collection of Short Documentaries. The Indian film industry lost an outstanding actor and a wonderful human being, Irrfan Khan, this year and NYIFF will pay a tribute to him by reminiscing about his work in The Namesake. Joining in will be director Mira Nair and actor Kal Penn. Returning to NYIFF is Manoj Bajpayee who talks about his career, his directors and his experiences. The festival will be hosting a Special Spotlight on Anubhav Sinha’s Article 15 which completed one year in June this year. An incisive look at caste discrimination in India, the film was both a commercial and critical success in India. Member of Parliament Shashi Tharoor will open the panel sessions by moderating the Run Kalyani post-screening Q&A.

Here is the entire list of the feature films to be screened in NYIFF

Feature Narrative Films

  • Aani Maani (Hindi/ Urdu), dir. Fahim Irshad
  • Ahaa Re (Bengali), dir. Ranjan Ghosh
  • Gamak Ghar (Maithili), dir. Achal Mishra
  • Kastoori (Hindi/ Marathi), dir. Vinod Kamble
  • Knock Knock Knock (Bengali, English), dir. Sudhanshu Saria
  • Lorni- the Flaneur (Khasi), dir. Wanphrang Diengdoh
  • Moothon (Malayalam, Hindi), dir. Geethu Mohandas
  • Nimtoh (Nepali), dir. Saurav Rai
  • Run Kalyani (Malayalam), dir. Geetha J
  • Trijya (Marathi), dir. Akshay Indikar
  • The False Eye (Malayalam), dir. Rahul Nair
  • The Prologue (Bengali), dir. Chandrasish Ray

Feature Documentary Films

  • Aunty Sudha, Aunty Radha (Hindi), dir. Tanuja Chandra
  • Son Rise (Haryanvi, English), dir. Vibha Bakshi
  • Two Flags (Tamil, French, English), dir. Pankaj Rishi Kumar
  • Yeh Freedom Life (Hindi), dir. Priya Sen

NYIFF 2020 Virtual Edition Nominations

Best Film

1) Aani Maani
2) Gamak Ghar
3) Kastoori (Musk)
4) Moothon
5) Run Kalyani

Best Director

1) Achal Mishra (Gamak Ghar)
2) Akshay Indikar (Trijya)
3) Geetha J (Run Kalyani)
4) Geethu Mohandas (Moothon)
5) Vinod Kamble (Kastoori)

Best Screenplay

1) Knock Knock Knock
2) Lorni – the Flaneur
3) Nimtoh
4) The False Eye
5) The Prologue

Best Actor

1) Adil Hussain (Lorni – the Flaneur)
2) Farrukh Seyer (Aani Maani)
3) Nivin Pauly (Moothon)
4) Paran Banerjee (Ahaa Re)
5) Prasenjit Chatterjee (The Prologue)

Best Actress

1) Garggi Anathan (Run Kalyani)
2) Priyanka Verma (Aani Maani)
3) Rituparna Sengupta (Ahaa Re)
4) Vee Kumari (Halwa)

Best Child Actor

1) Pravesh Gurung (Nimtoh)
2) Sabit Khan (Flying Wagon)
3) Samarth Sonawane (Kastoori)
4) Sanjana Dipu (Moothon)
5) Vasudev Sajeesh Marar, Suryadev Sajeesh Marar & Ansu Maria Thomas (The False Eye)

Best Documentary (Feature)

1) Aunty Sudha, Aunty Radha
2) Two Flags
3) Son Rise
4) Yeh Freedom Life

Best Documentary (Short)

1) Gladiators on Wheels
2) In Thunder & Lightening
3) Niru’s News
4) Tailing Pond
5) Urmila Devi
6) Utran Conversations

Best Short (Narrative)

1) Arabian Nights
2) Grandfather
3) Hauah
4) Sekool
5) Wig

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