The 7th Annual Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles announced its 2009 Award winners with Nina Paley’s SITA SINGS THE BLUES as the winner of the Grand Jury Prize for Best Narrative Feature and Nandita Das’s FIRAAQ receiving an Honorable Mention in the category. Rajesh Jala’s CHILDREN OF THE PYRE was named as the winner of the Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary. Dipti Gogna’s NARMEEN won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Short with Sushrut Jain’s ANDHERI receiving an Honorable Mention.
Watch Sita Sings the Blue
Audience Choice Awards went to Sooni Taraporevala’s LITTLE ZIZOU for Narrative, Faiza Ahmad Khan’s SUPERMEN OF MALEGAON for Documentary and Gregg Helvey’s KAVI for the Short Film category.
Christina Marouda, IFFLA Director, said, “This film festival has been a pivotal one in celebrating the impressive diversity of filmmaking styles and vision from both well known Indian filmmakers and new cinematic voices emerging in the Indian filmmaking community. And the award winners only highlighted that fact. IFFLA also took another important step in establishing itself as a key annual event for the Hollywood and Indian entertainment business community to come together and collaborate.”
BEST NARRATIVE FEATURE: SITA SINGS THE BLUES
DIR/PROD/SCR/ED: Nina Paley
Cast: Annette Hanshaw, Aseem Chhabra, Manish Acharya, Bhavana Nagulapally, Reena Shah
HONORABLE MENTION: FIRAAQ
DIR: Nandita Das
Cast: Naseeruddin Shah, Tisca Chopra, Paresh Rawal, Deepti Naval, Raghuveer Yadav
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: CHILDREN OF THE PYRE
DIR: Rajesh Jala
BEST SHORT FILM: NARMEEN
DIR: Dipti Gogna
HONORABLE MENTION: ANDHERI
DIR: Sushrut Jain
NARRATIVE: LITTLE ZIZOU
DIR: Sooni Taraporevala
Cast: Boman Irani, Sohrab Ardeshir, Zenobia Shroff, Shernaz Patel, Imaad Shah, John Abraham
DOCUMENTARY: SUPERMEN OF MALEGAON
DIR: Faiza Ahmad Khan
DIR: Gregg Helvey
2009 IFFLA JURY MEMBERS:
Paul Federbush is a thirteen-year independent film production, development and acquisition executive. While Paul has spent the majority of his career working within the studio system, most recently as a founding member and Senior Vice President of Production and Acquisitions at Warner Independent Pictures (WIP), he has also served as a conduit between the studios and the worlds of independent and international film. Some films acquired during his tenure at WIP include SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, PARADISE NOW, and GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK.
Rana Joy Glickman
Rana Joy Glickman rode into the film industry on horseback starting out as an equestrian stunt woman. Raised in NYC, Rana Joy was immersed in theater, film, photography, ballet, and music. She ultimately started producing, writing and directing. Her films have premiered at many festivals including Sundance, SXSW, Cannes, Berlin, Venice, Toronto and New York. Some of her films include: GOD SAID, “HA!” KICKING AND SCREAMING, FULL TILT BOOGIE, FEMALE PERVERSIONS, and SLEEP WITH ME. Her production company Shakrah Films is in post and development with a slate of captivating independent films.
An award-winning public radio arts and culture reporter, Matt Holzman is now the producer of The Business, public radio’s show about the business of show business heard locally on KCRW 89.9FM. He also comments on the state of the business with The Business Brief during KCRW’s afternoon broadcast of NPR’s All Things Considered and is the curator and host of Matt’s Movies, the station’s highly-regarded screening series for members. His opinions can be strongly swayed by a generous serving of homemade Tikka Masala.
Richard Shepard is an Emmy-Winning director (for the pilot of UGLY BETTY) of such movies as THE MATADOR with Pierce Brosnan and Greg Kinnear, and THE HUNTING PARTY with Terrence Howard and Richard Gere. Besides UGLY BETTY, Richard directed the pilot for CRIMINAL MINDS. His latest film, I KNEW IT WAS YOU, a documentary about John Cazale (Fredo in THE GODFATHER), premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival and will air on HBO in the fall.
Gill Dennis is a Master Filmmaker-in-Residence at the American Film Institute Conservatory. In addition to the 2005 film WALK THE LINE, he wrote the mini-series “Home Fires” for Showtime, which was selected by Time Magazine as among television’s Top Ten in 1987 and has received the Los Angeles Critics Circle Award for Distinguished Direction in the theater. Recently, Gill wrote THE SMALL BOAT OF GREAT SORROWS for Kennedy/Marshall, THE TATTOOED SOLDIER for Davids/Canton, and FOREVER with Tatia Pilieva for Present Pictures.
Mark Jonathan Harris
Mark Jonathan Harris is an Academy-Award® winning documentary filmmaker, journalist, novelist, and film professor. Among the many documentaries he has written, produced and/or directed are THE LONG WAY HOME and INTO THE ARMS OF STRANGERS: STORIES OF THE KINDERTRANSPORT, both winners of an Academy Award® for Best Feature Length Documentary in 1997 and 2000, respectively. Since 1983 Harris has taught filmmaking at the School of Cinema-Television at the University of Southern California, where he is a Distinguished Professor.
In January 2009 Michael Lumpkin took over the leadership of the International Documentary Association as its new Executive Director. He had previously served as both Executive Director of Frameline and Festival Director for the San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival. He also co-produced the highly acclaimed documentary THE CELLULOID CLOSET. Michael has participated as a competition juror for the Sundance Film Festival, and served in an advisory capacity for numerous film festivals around the world.
David Tenzer is an entertainment lawyer, business consultant and content producer, with extensive experience in many sectors of the media industry. For more than 20 years, David worked at Creative Artist Agency as an executive in Motion Picture Business Affairs before moving on to head Television Business Affairs. As a television packaging agent, David was responsible for selling more than 40 produced series, movies and specials, with budgets in excess of $800 million. David currently is on the board of directors of the International Documentary Association and the Banff World Television Festival.
Rupak Ginn’s love for acting started at a young age and followed him into college at Harvard University, where during his senior year, director Mira Nair offered him a supporting role in THE NAMESAKE. Upon graduation, he ventured into the off Broadway world of New York City theater before he moved to Los Angeles. While in Los Angeles, he landed a breakout role in Disney’s “The Cheetah Girls: One World”, where he played romantic lead Rahim, a Bollywood star. Rupak sits on Variety’s Power of Youth Advisory Board and volunteers with Aid Still Required in their campaign against genocide in Darfur.
Linda “O.” Olszewski
Linda “O.” Olszewski joined SHORTS INTERNATIONAL in January 2006 as co-head of global acquisitions. She acquires for and leads SHORTS on iTUNES USA, UK & Canada, and acquires films for SHORTS TV, television broadcast, new media and airline clients. Her credits include co-founder/director of the DreamWorks Short Film Festival; worldwide acquisitions director for EVEO; head of shorts for THE HATCHERY; and senior programmer for the Palm Springs Short Film Festival.
Hebe Tabachnik is a short film programmer for Sundance and Los Angeles Film Festival (LAFF), as well as a feature film Latin American Consultant for the LAFF and Palms Springs International Film Festival. She also serves on the selection committee and the Board of Directors for Dance Camera West. She is also the Co-Founder and Vice President of Lokro Productions, Inc., a film production company established in 1999 which produced the 3-D World Film Expos in 2003 and 2006, the largest retrospectives on 3-D films ever presented in the U.S.
The Indian Film festival of Los Angeles kicked off with the Opening Night Gala presentation of Anand Surapur’s THE FAKIR OF VENICE on Tuesday, April 21, 2009 at the ArcLight Hollywood Cinemas in Hollywood. The evening’s festivities also included an after party at Crimson & Opera featuring culinary delights by Chakra Cuisine and performances by DJ Sandeep Kumar and Indian/Bollywood Fusion dance and drama team Project Pulse. Opening Night also featured the official launch of CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s and Suneel Gupta’s Kahani Movement. The brothers are co-founders of the film project to capture and share stories from Indians that immigrated to the United States. Kahani accomplishes this by motivating second-generation Indian Americans to pick up a camera, interview their parents, and then post that footage to a central website.
Other highlights included a salute to Bollywood legend Anil Kapoor one of Indian cinema’s most significant and popular personalities which included screenings of Kapoor’s classic films LAMHE (1991) and VIRASAT (1997) as well as the world premiere of the English language version of Kapoor’s production of GANDHI, MY FATHER (2007). IFFLA also continued its ongoing commitment to supporting and showcasing restored prints of Indian classic films, as it paid homage to BR Chopra by screening his classic, NAYA DAUR.
The presentation of the 2009 IFFLA Industry Leadership Award to Richard Fox and Amit Khanna took place on Thursday, April 23 at the House of Blues in West Hollywood. Fox is the Executive Vice President of Warner Bros. International and heads up all of Warner Bros.’ non-US initiatives in all phases of the entertainment industry. Khanna is the Chairman of Reliance BIG Entertainment, the media arm of the $75 billion Ambani Group that recently completed its purchase of Dreamworks and announced that it would spend $1 billion on the Indian film and entertainment business. Presenting the awards were Walt Disney International Chairman Andy Bird and Deborah Bothun, entertainment media and communications advisory leader, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. The event also included a musical performance by Gingger Shankar.
IFFLA’s popular Rhythm Village, presented by Rukus Avenue, featured free public outdoor entertainment at the ArcLight Hollywood Cinemas courtyard including performances by the entertaining and eclectic talent assembled are the South Asian acapella group Andaaz; performing duo The Dyad; “conscious” music artist Hoodini; the desi outfit O.C.P.; IFFLA alumni and sketch performer Rasika Mathur; experimental fusion group, The Rhetoricalz; and singer songwriter and multi-instramentalist Tasneem Nanji.
The festival closed with the IFFLA Closing Night Gala presentation of YES MADAM, SIR on Sunday, April 26 at ArcLight Hollywood. A documentary profiling Dr. Kiran Bedi, the first woman to join the Indian Police Service and a controversial and inspiring figure in India. Dr. Bedi attended the festival as a guest of honor that evening along with director, Doneman. The evening concluded with an after party at The Cabana Club, which once again featured culinary delights by Chakra Cuisine and performances by DJ Sandeep Kumar and Indian/Bollywood Fusion dance and drama team Project Pulse.
The 2009 IFFLA lineup showcased 21 features (16 narrative and 5 documentary) and 16 shorts for a total of 37 films representing 5 countries.
The Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) is a non-profit organization devoted to a greater appreciation of Indian cinema and culture by showcasing films, honoring entertainment industry business executives and promoting the diverse perspectives of the Indian diaspora.