13th Annual New York Indian Film Festival Opens with Feroz Abbas Khan’s Dekh Tamasha Dekh on April 30, Closes with Filmistaan on May 4,

Posted by Lia Chang

The Indo-American Arts Council (IAAC) is presenting the 13th Annual New York Indian Film Festival, the oldest and most prestigious film festival for Indian cinema in North America, from Tuesday, April 30 to Saturday, May 4, 2013 in New York City.

The New York Indian Film Festival will kick off its week-long festivities with a star-studded Opening Night red carpet premiere of Feroz Abbas Khan’s DEKH TAMASHA DEKH on April 30, 2013, which will take place at the Skirball Center for Performing Arts.

L-R, Nikhil Ratnaparkhi and Satish Kaushik in Dekh Tamasha Dekh.

L-R, Nikhil Ratnaparkhi and Satish Kaushik in Dekh Tamasha Dekh.


Festival screenings will take place throughout the week at Tribeca Cinemas, with Nitin Kakkar’s FILMISTAAN on May 4, 2013, the Closing Night selection to be followed by the annual awards ceremony and after-party at the Skirball Center for Performing Arts. This year marks the launch of a new award at the 2013 Festival that honors student-created short films (five minute or less). Through open, no-fee submissions from film schools, one student will be selected to receive a special award at the Closing Night Award Ceremony

Lyrically interwoven, DEKH TAMASHA DEKH is a social and political satire that cuts deep to the heart of many current issues, a true story based off true events. Written by renowned marathi playwright Shafaat Khan, who creates finely nuanced characters with depth and dimensions and sets them against a lush visual backdrop of a small village in India. The cast features Satish Kaushik, Tanvi Azmi, Vinay Jain, Sharad Ponkshe, Ganesh Yadav, Apoorva Arora and Alok Rajwade. Director Feroz Abbas Khan has directed some of India’s finest acting talent during his career of over two decades and he is at the forefront of Indian theatre today. His debut Film “Gandhi My Father” received rave reviews and won several national and international awards. He now showcases his new cinematic vision as the opening night film for the festival.

“IAAC has an imagination that has expanded to embrace and celebrate the artistic expression of the entire sub- continent,” Khan says. “I was privileged to perform my play Mahatma v/s Gandhi as one of its earlier programs. Gandhi My Father was part of the film festival in 2007.

He adds, “Dekh Tamasha Dekh is a movie I have waited for twelve years to realize. Finally, it was the faith of Mr. Kishore Lulla and Eros International, that it is ready to face the world. The opening night film at NYIFF 2013 is a huge responsibility and honor. I remain grateful to all at IAAC for believing in the film.”

For the closing night of NYIFF, debut director Nitin Kakkar brings his cinematic work of art, FILMISTAAN, exploring Indo-Pak relationships with subtle brilliance. The protagonist, aspiring actor Sharib Hashmi, is assisting an American film crew shooting a documentary in the Indo-Pak border when one night he is kidnapped and held hostage in a small village in Pakistan. When the terrorist group realizes they have kidnapped an Indian and not an American, Hashmi is kept hostage until the mix-up is corrected, and he begins a burgeoning friendship with a young Pakistani. The cast also features Kumud Mishra, Gopal Datt and Inaamulhaq.

“We are proud to be the among the first supporters of immensely talented directors like Feroz Abbas Khan and Nitin Kakkar, says Aseem Chhabra, Festival Director. “It is in keeping with our mission to bring a diverse group of voices to the forefront. The themes of communal harmony and antagonism are shared in our opening and closing films and sheds light to important issues.”

Both directors will be in attendance at the festival.

In conjunction with their stellar cinematic line-up, NYIFF also presents excellent, informative networking events in the form of industry panels. These panels explore in depth such topics as financing, distribution, and production in an increasingly global market, and are helmed by esteemed experts in the film industry.

The New York Indian Film Festival (originally the IAAC Film Festival) started in 2001 following the devastation of the September 11 attacks on New York City. This festival creates an awareness and better understanding of the people and stories from the Indian Diaspora by bringing the most acclaimed feature films, documentaries, and shorts from that region to America’s biggest and most remarkable city. Mira Nair’s ‘Monsoon Wedding’ closed IAAC’s first festival before its worldwide theatrical release. Since then, the festival has provided first-looks at many acclaimed films, including Deepa Mehta’s Oscar-nominated ‘Water,’ Nair’s ‘The Namesake,’ the Sundance audience award-winning ‘Valley of Saints,’ the South by Southwest award-winning, ‘Kumare,’ ‘Gangs of Wasseypur Part 1,’ and the New York Premiere of Danny Boyle’s ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ which won eight Oscars including Best Picture. Some of the artists who have lent their support to the festival include Nair, Mehta, Salman Rushdie, Madhur Jaffrey, Padma Lakshmi, Shabana Azmi, Rishi Kapoor & Neetu Singh Kapoor, Shashi Tharoor, and the late Ismail Merchant.

“I am thrilled to entertain, educate and challenge audiences with yet another year of fantastic Independent films from every country in the Indian subcontinent as well as the global Indian diaspora,” says Indo-American Arts Council Executive Director Aroon Shivdasani. Film Festival Director Aseem Chhabra adds, “We are particularly excited about this year’s festival since it marks 100 years of Indian cinema. As such, we are curating a series of recently restored classics from India, never seen before in this condition. There is no better place for these films to be showcased than at this year’s New York Indian Film Festival.”

For IAAC Membership and NYIFF Tickets:
Celebrating its 13th year, NYIFF will run April 30 to May 4. Memberships may be purchased athttp://www.iaac.us/Contribution.htm.

Festival Passes and Individual Tickets go on sale in April at the festival’s website: www.iaac.us/NYIFF2013.

About the Indo-American Arts Council (IAAC):
The Indo-American Arts Council is a registered 501(c)3 not-for-profit, secular service and resource arts organization charged with the mission of promoting and building the awareness, creation, production, exhibition, publication and performance of Indian and cross-cultural art forms in North America. The IAAC supports all artistic disciplines in the classical, fusion, folk and innovative forms influenced by the arts of India. We work cooperatively with colleagues around the United States to broaden our collective audiences and to create a network for shared information, resources and funding. Our focus is to work with artists and arts organizations in North America as well as to facilitate artists and arts organizations from India to exhibit, perform and produce their works here.

About the New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF):
The New York Indian Film Festival is the oldest, most prestigious film festival in the United States. It is dedicated to showcasing, promoting and building an awareness of Independent, arthouse, alternate and diaspora films from/about/connected to the Indian subcontinent. Our mission is to encourage filmmakers to tell their stories, to educate North America about them and their talent and to facilitate the making and distribution of these films. NYIFF boasts five days of premiere screenings of feature, documentary & short films, industry panels, special events, retrospectives, red carpet galas, an award ceremony, packed audiences and amazing media coverage.

 

Lia Chang


Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist.