2019 Indian Film Festival of LA announces award winners

Indian Film Festival

India Post News Service

LOS ANGELES: The 17th annual Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) concluded April 14 with a red carpet and gala that featured the world premiere of director Megha Ramaswamy’s The Odds, a coming-of-age tale about two teenagers who skip school on an important exam day and go on a fantastical journey through Mumbai. The evening also featured the presentation of the festival’s Grand Jury and Audience Choice Awards presented by HBO.

IFFLA is widely recognized as the premiere event t showcase groundbreaking Indian cinema globally. The festival took place April 11-14, 2019, at Regal LA Live: A Barco Innovation Center in Los Angeles, California, with the gala presentations made at the Ahrya Fine Arts Theater in Beverly Hills.

This year’s line-up boasted five world premieres, two North American premieres, two US premieres and 11 Los Angeles premieres. The films were presented in nine different languages, and 50 per cent of the line-up came from female directors.

Director Praveen Morchhale’s Widow of Silence took home the Grand Jury Prize for Best Feature.

“We present the grand jury prize to a film that illuminates a condition that most of the world doesn’t get to see and shines a light on the characters that live through it everyday,” said the Grand Jury of their decision. “This filmmaker’s civic disobedience illustrates their love and compassion for their country and their people, and the craft of their filmmaking was beautifully wise and refined.”

From left to right: Director Praveen Morchhale, Director Shazia Iqbal, Director Anand Patwardhan
From left to right: Director Praveen Morchhale, Director Shazia Iqbal, Director Anand Patwardhan

“A layered portrait of a woman determined to pursue her needs and impulses,” the Grand Jury said as the Best Short was presented to The Field by director Sandhya Suri.

“The film takes images that normally evoke a sense of fear and flips the narrative on its head redefining a new more empowered world for the female protagonist and exploring an often unseen story of a woman’s drive and agency over her own body and life,” the jury added.

“Set against a visually stunning landscape and beautiful photography of rural India, the filmmaker’s adept storytelling comes to life flowing through rhythmic twists and turns imbued with both the mundane day-to-day life and desirous love.”

The audience awards went to Anand Patwardhan’s politically-charged documentary Reason for Best Feature, and Bebaak (Dying Wind in Her Hair) for Best Short.

The 2019 narrative film jury included director Amman Abbasi (Dayveon), Arcadia University media, communication professor Shekhar Deshpande, and Array vice president Tilane Jones.

The short film jury featured director Amy Adrion (Half the Picture), director Andrew Ahn (Spa Night, Driveways), and producer Megha Kadakia (The Tiger Hunter, Miss India America).

The festival opened April 11 with a tribute and moderated discussion with legendary Indian actress Tabu, paired with a screening of her latest film Andhadhun, directed by Sriram Raghavan. Additional weekend highlights included director Ritesh Batra’s Photograph, unforgettable debut feature by director Ronny Sen Cat Sticks, moving family drama Love Goes Through Your Mind, directed by UCLA alum Ronak Shah, and the heart warming family film Chippa directed by Safdar Rahman. A TV-centric panel discussion “Breaking in Brown: Making it to Series in TV’s Golden Age” highlighting the work of South Asian actors, directors, writers and producers was also held.

Now in its 17th year, the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) is a non-profit organization devoted to a greater appreciation of Indian cinema and culture by showcasing films and promoting the diverse perspectives of the Indian diaspora.

The four-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 is showcasing nearly 25 films from the Indian filmmaking community across the globe.