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  • Photos: Neetu Singh Kapoor and Rishi Kapoor at 11th Annual New York Indian Film Festival Opening Night

    Posted by Lia Chang

    (L-R) Neetu Singh Kapoor and Rishi Kapoor on the red carpet. Photo credit:

    The 11th Annual New York Indian Film Festival kicked off in spectacular fashion on Wednesday night, May 4, with the Opening Night celebration which featured the U.S. Premiere of the Delhi-set comedy “Do Dooni Chaar,” Disney’s first live-action Hindi film. The star-studded red carpet premiere, held at Manhattan’s prestigious Paris Theater, was attended by special guests Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh Kapoor along with writer/director Habib Faisal. Also attending the premiere were Aparna Sen, Madhur Jaffrey, Aditya Bhattacharya, Ajay Naidu, Samrat Chakrabarti, Meetu Chilana, Rehana Mirza, Pulitzer Prize winner Siddhartha Mukherjee, Sarita Choudhury, Ami Sheth, Poorna Jagannathan, and many other actors and filmmakers whose films will play at NYIFF through Closing Night on Sunday, May 8, 2011.

    (L-R) Rishi Kapoor, Neetu Singh Kapoor, director Habib Faisal, and NYIFF director Aseem Chhabra at the post-screening Q&A. Photo credit:

    Following the screening of “Do Dooni Chaar” was a discussion with Faisal and the Kapoors moderated by festival director Aseem Chhabra which had the audience laughing throughout. A gala benefit dinner followed at the opulent Jumeirah Essex House on Central Park South.

    (standing L-R) IAAC Executive Director Aroon Shivdasani and NYIFF director Aseem Chhabra. (seated L-R) Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh Kapoor at the gala dinner. Photo credit:

    The 11th Annual New York Indian Film Festival, presented by the Indo-American Arts Council (IAAC), is the oldest and most prestigious Indian film festival in the country. NYIFF runs from Wednesday, May 4 to Sunday, May 8 with 25 feature films including 15 World and U.S. Premieres, industry panels, photo exhibits, afterparties, and more. Tickets are available online at
  • Samrat Chakrabarti stars in Soham Mehta’s Fatakra, Shiva Bajpai’s Raju, and Rehana Mirza’s Zameer & Preeti at NYIFF

    Posted by Lia Chang

    Samrat Chakrabarti Photo by Lia Chang

    Award-winning actor and musician Samrat Chakrabarti scores another trifecta starring in three short films at the Tribeca Cinemas – Rehana Mirza’s Zameer & Preeti: A Love Story on Friday, May 6, and Soham Mehta’s Fatakra and Shiva Bajpai's Raju on Saturday, May, 7, as part of the 11th Annual New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF).

    Rehana Mirza’s ‘Zameer & Preeti: A Love Story’ screens on May 6 at 3:30pm. copyright 2011 Rehana Mirza

    Last year, Chakrabarti’s talents were on display in three films at the Festival. He created the score for Sundaram Tagor’s documentary The Poetics of Color: Natvar Bhavsar, and had roles in Claire McCarthy’s The Waiting City opposite Radha Mitchell and Joel Edgerton, and in Ajay Naidu’s Ashes.

    The New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF), presented by the Indo-American Arts Council (IAAC), is the oldest and most prestigious Indian film festival in the country. NYIFF continues through May, 8, 2011 and tickets are available online at

    Friday, May 6, 2011, Tribeca Theater 1, 3:30pm Chakrabarti plays a Muslim groom about to wed a Hindu bride in New Jersey in Rehana Mirza’s Zameer & Preeti: A Love Story. When the groom gets a case of cold feet, will the wedding become just another case of religious conflict? Buy Tickets

    Soham Mehta’s Fatakra screens on Saturday, May 7 at 6pm. copyright 2011 Soham Mehta

    Saturday, May 7, 2011, Tribeca Theater 1, 6 pmIn Soham Mehta’s Fatakra, Chakrabarti plays Naveen, who left India to chase his dreams in America. Three years and a recession later, his wife and son finally join him. Fatakra (Firecracker) tells the story of the sparks that fly on their first day together as dreams collide with reality. Chakrabarti also composed the score for the film, which has been nominated for a Student Academy Award. Buy Tickets

    Shiva Shankar Bajpai's ‘Raju’ screens on May 7 at 9pm....

  • Victory Gardens appoints renowned director and playwright Chay Yew as its new Artistic Director

    Posted by Lia Chang



    Chay Yew © 2011 Lia Chang

    Congratulations to award-winning director and playwright Chay Yew, who has just been appointed as the new Artistic Director of the Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago, Il. Yew will begin full-time with Victory Gardens in July, 2011.

    Chay Yew’s appointment comes as Dennis Začek, VG’s Artistic Director of 34 years, retires from the post.

    “We are extremely pleased and excited that Chay Yew has joined our company to continue the VG legacy that Dennis has developed over the past three decades,” said Board President Jeffrey Rappin. “He brings vast experience in new work development and, in partnership with Executive Director Jan Kallish, he will lead VG in bringing the best new work and artists to our stages. We are confident that our company is in good hands and that the mission of VG will be continued with Chay as artistic leader.”

    “I’m excited and deeply honored to continue Dennis Začek’s vision in providing an artistic home for emerging and established theater artists in Chicago and around the country,” said Yew. “I plan to refine and amplify Victory Gardens’ mission of championing new plays and diversity as the mission remains close to my heart and everything I’ve done in American Theatre.”

    Yew was the Founding Director of the Asian Theatre Workshop at the Mark Taper Forum and an Associate Artist, he also produced and presented several seasons at the Mark Taper Forum’s Taper Too. Some productions include Luis Alfaro’s Black Butterfly Jaguar Girl Pinata Woman and Other Superhero Girls Like Me, Jessica Goldberg’s Good Thing, Sunil Kuruvilla’s Rice Boy, Lynn Manning’s Weights, Ron Conboy’s Drive My Coche, a sixteen-playwright collaboration The Square, and John Walch’s The Circumference of a Squirrel.

    While at the Taper’s Asian Theatre Workshop, he produced Alice Tuan’s Ikebana (with East West Players), Alec Mapa’s I Remember Mapa (With EWP, Asian American Theatre Company, Northwest...

  • AEA celebrates Asian Heritage Month with Leviathan Lab’s Asian American Female Playwright’s Short Play Festival in NY, May 12, 13

    Posted by Lia Chang


    Elaina Erika Davis

    Leanne Cabrera, Nora Chau, Elaina Erika Davis, Siho Ellsmore, Nancy Eng, Christine Toy Johnson, Dorim Lee, Marisa Marques, May Nazareno, Kristine M. Reyes, Eileen Rivera and Susan Soon He Stanton are the playwrights whose new works will be featured in the first Asian American Female Playwrights Short Play Festival on May 12th and 13th at the AEA Audition Center, 165 West 46th Street in New York at 7 pm.

    Christine Toy Johnson Photo by Bruce Alan Johnson

    Presented by AEA’s Eastern Region Equal Employment Opportunity Committee and Leviathan Lab in celebration of Asian Heritage Month, the Asian American Female Playwrights Short Play Festival was the brainchild of Christine Toy Johnson (Playwright/Actor and Co-chair of AEA’s EEOC), Ariel Estrada (EEOC member and founder of Leviathan Lab), Nelson T. Eusebio III (Resident Director at Leviathan Lab), and Ji-Hyun Lee (playwright) who joined forces to create a platform for Asian American female playwrights.

    Admission is free, RSVP to AEA Business Representative Pearl Brady:

    May 12, 13AEA Audition Center165 W. 46th StNew York7pm

  • Newport Beach Film Festival's Asian Showcase by Stephen Rakower

    Posted by Stephen Rakower

    By Stephen Rakower

    Tickets to events and screenings at the 2012 Newport Beach Film Festival go on sale beginning April 1, 2012.

    A preview of the film festival's offerings April 26 - May 3, 2012 show once again a slate of 350 films from 40 countries. With the festival centered in the beautiful seaside community of Newport Beach, the community goes 'all-out' with its parties and programs for filmmakers.  Here's a preview of the 2012 line-up The festival has a variety of offerings where you can watch films grouped by themes, location or genre such as French, Australian, or Surfing films. Below, you can check out last year's film festival's "Asian Showcase." 



    By Stephen Rakower

    The 2011 Newport Beach Film Festival is in full swing, April 28 to May 5 with 350 feature films, documentaries and shorts screening from 40 countries, with filmmakers attending from all over the world, free screenwriting and filmmaking seminars, and lavish After-Parties that go from 10pm to 2am - well into the late night.

    On Saturday April 30, festival attendees were treated to free events including "A Conversation with Aaron Sorkin" with a personal appearance by Aaron Sorkin, award-winning screenwriter, producer and playwright, and seminars led by award-winning industry professionals on directing and film composing. On Sunday May 1, for the fourth year, Walt Disney Studios presented a collection of rarely seen animated works, hosted by Academy Award nominated film producer Don Hahn and Disney Director/Producer David Bossert. 

    The Opening Night film last Thursday April 28 was the world premiere of East Fifth Bliss, starring Michael C. Hall, Peter Fonda and Lucy Liu. The After-Party sponsored by Esquire Magazine at Fashion Island featured specialty cuisine from acclaimed Newport Beach area restaurants, and a fashion show by top international designers.

    Tonight's Asian Showcase featured Go LaLa Go! from China, directed by Xu Jinglei, Harmony from Korea directed by...

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