Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) from Oct 11 to 15 will showcase 24 films, including six narrative features, two documentary features and 16 shorts, from 13 countries and in 14 languages.
The 21st annual edition of the internationally acclaimed film festival will also feature the world theatrical premiere of Vishal Bhardwaj’s Khufiya and the world premiere of Atul Sabharwal’s Berlin, a spy thriller mystery set in the early ’90s in Delhi.
It will also have the North American premieres of Varun Grover’s dramedy All Indian Rank, Dominic Sangma’s Garo language film Rapture, and the Malayalam film Aattam (The Play) by Anand Ekarshi. In addition, there will be the LA premiere of Joram by Devashish Makhija, according to the lineup of official selections announced by IFFLA.
IFFLA’s Opening Gala selection, Vishal Bhardwaj’s Khufiya, is based on the novel Escape to Nowhere written by a former Chief of Counter Espionage agent, Amar Bhushan.
This riveting espionage thriller follows operative Krishna Mehra (Tabu) whose dangerous mission leaves her juggling between her dual identity as a spy and a lover. The film stars Tabu (Drishyam 2, Andhadhun), Ali Fazal (Mirzapur, Victoria & Abdul), Wamiqa Gabbi (Jubilee, Eclipse), and Azmeri Haque Badhon (Rehana).
The Closing Gala selection will be the North American premiere of All India Rank by writer, filmmaker, comedian, and lyricist Varun Grover, which premiered at the 2023 Rotterdam Film Festival (IFFR).
This charming coming-of-age dramedy, brimming with ’90s pop culture paraphernalia, follows a turbulent year in the life of fresh-faced Vivek as he preps for India’s toughest undergrad exam at a coaching center far away from home. Grover will be in attendance opening the evening with an exclusive stand-up performance.
During the festival, renowned Indian film director, screenwriter, music composer, and producer Vishal Bhardwaj, will host an exclusive masterclass, where Bhardwaj will dive into his filmmaking journey and multi-faceted creative process across disciplines.
Known best for his canny adaptations of Shakespeare to the Indian reality with Maqbool (2003), Omkara (2006), and Haider (2014), and having recently adapted Agatha Christie in Charlie Chopra (2023), Bhardwaj will also discuss his book to screen transitions.
Lauded also for his priceless contributions to music for films, with hits like â€œSapne Mein Milti Haiâ€ (Satya) and â€œBeediâ€ (Omkara), Bhardwaj will delve into the impact music has on films.
“We are thrilled to enter IFFLA’s third decade offering a unique and much-needed platform for emerging South Asian storytellers, and bringing a highly curated program to Los Angeles audiences,” said IFFLA Executive Director Christina Marouda.
â€œLos Angeles has become home to countless artists with roots across South Asia and its diasporas. IFFLA has long been a vital touchstone for filmmakers due to both the platform it provides for their work to be seen in the heart of the American film industry as well as the support and networking it has offered the directors, actors, and other film artists who have been a part of the IFFLA “family.”
IFFLA will host the US premieres of two documentary features. The World is Family by legendary filmmaker Anand Patwardhan (Reason, War and Peace), is his most personal film to date, that pays tribute to his parents whose lives were closely linked with India’s independence movement.
The Golden Thread by Nishtha Jain, is a lyrical homage to one of the last remaining jute mills in West Bengal, once home to the world’s largest jute industry, now ravaged by mechanization.
IFFLA’s Co-Director of Programming Thouly Dosios said, “We’re profoundly inspired to have such a wide range of generations of South Asian storytellers join together in conversation under one roof over these five extraordinary days.
“From maestros whose oeuvre continues to expand in dynamic ways, to singular emerging voices who make leaps with their second films or feature debuts, to absolute newcomers whose striking entryways into the cinematic form have us longing for more.”
Co-Director of Programming Ritesh Mehta added, “We remain deeply committed to championing women directors, the forces behind 50% of our shorts program.
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“Additionally, we are enthralled by how well the shorts represent the rich diversity of diasporic stories, from immigrant to second generation and mixed race experiences, from America to New Zealand, and beyond.”
Of the 16 short films presented in IFFLA’s main competition lineup half of them are US productions, with seven countries and 13 languages represented.
Seven features and 16 shorts will compete for the Grand Jury Prize Awards, which will be announced by the Jury members during the Awards Ceremony at the Closing Night Gala, along with the Audience Choice Awards.
For more information, please visit www.indianfilmfestival.org.