Festival also honors two longstanding supporters.
Indian American Namrata Singh Gujral won the “Best Director” award in the recently concluded Washington DC South Asian Film Festival 2018, which was held at Montgomery College in Rockville, MD.
Gujral’s film 5 Weddings, which highlights the challenges faced by the transgender community in India, known as “hijras,” was the festival’s closing night film.
Nearly three-dozen independent feature, short and documentary films were screened at the three-day festival which ended on September 9.
The festival was held in partnership with Montgomery College and Women in Film and Television (WIFT).
RELATED: 7th DC South Asian Film Festival showcasing independent cinema opens (September 8, 2018)
Here are winners of other awards:
Rising Star Actor: Vibhav Roy
International Rising Star Actor: Suraj Sharma
Best Actor: Inaamul Haq; Movie: Nakkash
Best Actress: Kalyanee Mulay; Movie: Nude
Best Story: T for Taj Mahal
Best Short Film: Rogan Josh
Best Feature Film: What Will People Say
Best Documentary: Unknown Mountaineers
Best Documentary, Jury Mention: The Girls Are Not Brides
Rising Star Director: Danish Renzu
Audience Poll Best Short Film: The Lost
Audience Poll Best Feature Film: T for Taj Mahal
Audience Poll Best Documentary: Salam
Life Time Achievement Award: Boney Kapoor
At the closing night ceremony, the festival also honored two of its longstanding supporters: prominent immigration lawyer and philanthropist Sheela Murthy and entrepreneur and philanthropist Frank Islam.
Delivering the keynote address on Sunday, Islam pointed out the theme of the festival — women’s empowerment — and highlighted the need for more women filmmakers.
“The women’s place has been in front of the camera,” the Indian American entrepreneur, whose foundation, Frank Islam and Debbie Driesman Foundation, has been one of the supporters of DCSAFF for the past four years. “In this 21st century, we need to see more – many more – women behind the camera, producing, directing, writing screenplays, designing sets, performing every job that is required to produce a quality film. That must be the starting line though and not the finish line.”
Murthy, whose nonprofit Murthy Nayak Foundation has been among early supporters of DCSAFF, said the “festival capped an entertaining weekend, with fun and learning opportunities for the entire family.”
“DC SAFF is the premier event on the east coast for films from the Indian sub-continent where we can learn about the cultures of countries like India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka,” the lawyer said. “This year the films were exceptional with some films showcasing humor and others on serious topics. The actors included both eastern and western actors with some Hollywood Oscar nominated actors in the movies.”