Danish Renzu’ film ‘The Illegal’, starring Suraj Sharma, to be screened at Austin Film Festival, which starts on Oct. 24

Danish Renzu
Danish Renzu

The film will also be screened next month at the Asian World Film Festival, LA.

Directed by Danish Renzu, the film will also be screened next month at Asian World Film Festival, LA

Stories of immigration and assimilation are a new norm in Donald Trump’s America. In an interesting irony of sorts, the more the anti-immigrant sentiment has been promulgated, the more stories of people of color and their struggles in every day America are being told across platforms.

The Illegal, directed by UCLA alumnus and Indian American filmmaker Danish Renzu, is one such tale of immigration, strife and the struggle to realize dreams in a new country. The film will be screened at the upcoming Austin Film Festival, to be held in Austin, Texas, from October 24 to 31. It will be shown in the Official Competition segment on October 26 and October 29 at Rollins Theatre and Galaxy Island, respectively in Austin.

The film tells the gritty tale of a young student from middle class India, who is forced to drop out from his film school to support his family. His circumstances lead him to work as an undocumented worker in the United States.

REVIEW: In ‘The Illegal,’ Indian American Danish Renzu delivers another socially relevant and touching film (September 25, 2019)

Suraj Sharma, who plays the protagonist Hassan, is a relatable character for hundreds of immigrants who come to the US to live the American dream, but often end up feeling shortchanged either because of their circumstances and lack of opportunities for them, or due to racism.

“The film is about a young Indian student from Daryaganj in Delhi who embarks on a journey to America in order to attend his dream film school,” said Renzu. “However, he ends up working in a restaurant which becomes an obstacle toward his goals. The film stars Suraj Sharma in the lead, along with an ensemble cast of Adil Hussein, Shweta Tripathi, Neelima Azim, and prominent faces from Hollywood such as Iqbal Theba and Jay Ali. The film was mostly shot in Los Angeles, and we also had a four days schedule in Daryaganj.”

The 2019 Austin Film Festival will be the 26th edition of the festival. The eight-day long festival is a hot bed for emerging and established filmmakers. The festival will also have, besides screening of films, television premiers and documentaries, script reading, and question and answer sessions with many filmmakers.

After Austin, The Illegal will be screened at the Asian World Film Festival in Los Angeles on November 10, followed by the Vancouver South Asian Film Festival.

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