Tag: IFFM-2020

IFFM-2020 opens with films addressing disability & gender equality

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By SAT News Desk

MELBOURNE, 20 October 2020: The 11th International Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM), online this year will open with Vidya Balan’s Natkhat and Nachiket Samant Habadd in Marathi. The two movies can be streamed free on 23 October 2020 at iffm.com.au.The festival which will go on till 30th October will stream over 50 films in 17 languages, including 34 International Premieres and 56 Australian Premieres, available to audiences across Australia.

IFFM Festival Director, Mitu Bhowmick Lange: “Indian filmmakers – from independent short filmmakers to our most powerful directors – turn their gaze to issues of freedom and equality in the contemporary world and celebrate the diversity that defines us all. The film is a powerful way to bring people together be they sitting in a packed cinema or in 2020, in their own homes.”

All films will be available for viewing free of charge across Australia from October 23 to 30. in recognition of the pressures this year has placed on many people, IFFM is partnering with Mental Health Foundation Australia and encourages festival participants to donate to MHF when booking.

Chairperson, Vasan Srinivasan said: “The world of cinema is one that can bring joy. Sometimes sitting down and watching a film, is a great way to practice self-care and promote mental wellbeing. This is what the Mental Health Foundation Australia is all about. Cinema has the power to unite, and I wish the IFFM team all the very best in their
venture to do so.’’

The Minister for Creative Industries Danny Pearson said: “The Victorian Government is proud to support the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne. Each year the festival showcases the breadth and depth of Indian cinema and gives a platform for new talent through the short film competition. This year the festival is taking the celebrations to a new level, opening up access to film lovers across the country through this incredible – and free – online program.”

NATKHAT (transl The Brat) is a 25-minute film produced and starring Vidya Balan. One of India’s most powerful and acclaimed actors, widely recognized as pioneering a change in the portrayal of women in Hindi Cinema, Balan plays an abused mother teaching her son about gender equality and empathy through the telling of a simple bed’me story.

The delightful feature HABADDI focuses on Kabaddi a popular contact sport in Southern Asia that first originated in Ancient India. When the news of his village’s Kabbadi team traveling to Mumbai breaks out a 10-year-old boy with a speech impediment sees the opportunity to meet the girl he adores. But will he be able to chant kabbadi kabbadi without stammering?

To view the Festival program, and for booking guidelines go to – Iffm.com.au

IFFM-2020 Online Oct. 23-30 : Over 50 films in 17 languages, 34 International Premiers, 56 Aussie Premiers

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By Neeraj Nanda

MELBOURNE, 13 October: Movie bonanza for film buffs is not far off. The Indian Film Festival of Melbourne 2020s (IFFM-2020) cinema magic will cast its spell from 23-30 October, as the pandemic lockdown eases and life inches towards a normal. The announcement of IFFM-2020 online, in line with coronavirus gathering restrictions, screening of over 50 films in 17 languages, including 34 International Premieres and 56 Premiers Australian, is no surprise. The IFFM has been doing this feat for years now.

IFFM Festival Director, Mitu Bhowmick Lange says, “Indian filmmakers – from independent short filmmakers to our most powerful directors – turn their gaze to issues of freedom and equality in the contemporary world and celebrate the diversity that defines us all. The film is a powerful way to bring people together be they sitting in a packed cinema or in 2020, in their own homes.”

All films will be available for viewing free of charge across Australia from October 23 to 30 in recognition of the pressures this year has placed on many people, IFFM is partnering with Mental Health Foundation Australia and encourages festival participants to donate to the MHO when booking.

Opening the Festival are two outstanding films addressing disability and gender equality – NATKHAT (The Brat) and HABBBDI:

NATKHAT (transl The Brat) is a 25-minute film produced and starring Vidya Balan.   One of India’s most powerful and
acclaimed actors, widely recognized as pioneering a change in the portrayal of women in Hindi Cinema, Balan plays an abused mother teaching her son about gender equality and empathy through the telling of a simple bedtime story.“Natkhat makes you confront the reality that most women in this country live on a day to day basis and how we are bringing up children and how if we want to see a change, we have to bring up our children differently,” says Vidya Balan

The delightful feature HABBBADI focuses on Kabaddi a popular contact sport in Southern Asia that first originated in
Ancient India and shows how sometimes our biggest weakness becomes our biggest strength. When the news of his village’s Kabbadi team traveling to Mumbai breaks out a 10-year-old boy with a speech impediment sees the opportunity to meet the girl he adores. But will he be able to chant kabbadi kabbadi without stammering?

An IFFM-2020 media release says, ” The 2020 Festival features five dynamic program streams of new and classic films from India and the subcontinent.‘Hurrah Bollywood’, the best mainstream Hindi cinema from the last twelve months; ‘Beyond Bollywood’ art-house and cinema in regional Indian languages; ‘Films from the Subcontinent’ – Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal; ‘Film India World’ focussing on Indian films that cross international borders, and the Documentary section including a number of critically acclaimed documentaries. Stand out highlights include the micro-budgeted, guerilla-filmed noir LORNI THE FLANEUR; THE ILLEGAL,” a timely film about immigrants in the U.S” (Variety);EEB ALLAY OOO!, award-winning director Prateek Vat’s uses monkeys as a metaphor to satirize blind faith and superstition in modern India, and MOTI BAGH, a documentary film based on the struggle of a farmer in a remote Himalayan village which is India’s official entry in this year’s Oscars.”

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The festival will pay special tribute programs honoring the works of 3 of India’s finest actors Rishi Kapoor, Irrfan Khan, and Sushant Singh Rajput, all of whom sadly passed away this year.

“‘Together’ is the theme of the 2020 IFFM Short Film Festival Competition which this year received a remarkable and unprecedented 3000+ entries indicating people’s creativity during the lockdown. A selection of the best films submitted is available for viewing during the Festival and the winner will be announced.

The winning film is being judged by Varun Sharma, our 2011 Short Film Competition. This year, Varun is making his directorial debut with the feature film BUNTY AUR BUBLI 2, starring Rani Mukherji and Saif Khan. We are hugely proud,” says Mitu Bhowmick Lange.

The festival is being supported by the Victoria Government/Film Victoria, City of Melbourne, BlackMagic, Mental Health Foundation of Australia, Singapore Airlines, G’Day India, South Asia Times (SAT), Civic Outdoor, IndusAge, RRR, and Radio Hanji.

Full festival information can be accessed at – iffm.com.au

Facebook – @IndianFilmFestivalOfMelbourne @FilmVic @MBFWorld
Twitter – @iffmelbourne @FilmVictoria @MBFWorld
Instagram – @IFFMelb @FilmVic

Cinema needs to reflect the truth of the times: Aparna Sen

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Photo: SAT

By Neeraj Nanda

MELBOURNE, 5 July 2020: Cinema needs to reflect the truth of the times, says Aparna Sen India’s leading cinema actress and director. She was answering questions by Rajeev Masand during a zoom interview, for the IFFM Film Club, Melbourne.

Aparna’s 2019 Bengali movie ‘Ghewre Barey Aaj’ (Home and the World) is loosely based on slain journalist Gauri Lankesh, a triangle story of a Hindu nationalist professor, a Dalit girl and her liberal editor husband. The background is India’s current political climate.

Answering to Rajeev Masand’s questions, Aparna detailed her story writing in school and development as an actor, writer, and director over the years.

” Times have now changed and I feel worried about the lack of harmony in India. Hindus, Muslims, and others fought together for the independence of the country.

My idea of India is under threat and telling the story of an individual in the context of the times is important,” she says.

On a question by SAT about the role of a film person when the idea of India is under threat, she says, actually, it is up to the filmmaker and their conscience. There are people who are afraid to speak. It’s important to reflect the times.”

IFFM-2020 Director Mitu Bhowmick Lange appreciated all participants and Aparana Sen’s participation in the web interaction conducted by Rajeev Masand and hoped Aparna will be in Australia for the next International Film Festival of Melbourne.

IFFM-2020 from October 30 to November 7

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By SAT News Desk

Monday 29 June 2020: The Indian Film Festival of Melbourne today announced that this year’s festival will go ahead with dates rescheduled from August to late 2020 due to the ongoing COVID -19 pandemic.

IFFM 2020’s program will be devised in line with public health guidance with plans for a compact schedule taking place over a week from October 30 to November 7. The festival is retaining the Short Film Competition and the popular dance competition (to be held on October 31, pending easing of restrictions) but the much-anticipated IFFM Awards Gala will be postponed until 2021. More details of festival highlights will be announced shortly.

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An exciting new innovation to the festival this year, in response to current challenges and opportunities, is the IFFM Film Club where fans of Indian movies can enroll for a virtual masterclass with leading filmmakers discussing their works in detail. This exciting new event is facilitated by noted journalist Rajeev Masand. Functioning like a book club, the festival asks participants to watch a classic film, and they then have an opportunity to discuss the film at the virtual film club with the filmmaker. The virtual talks are open for registration to festival-goers and accommodate 100 early bird users.

Previously, the festival has hosted masterclasses with acclaimed filmmakers including Raju Hirani, Rani Mukherjee, Karan Johar, Rima Das, Zoya Akhtar, Onir, Vijay Sethupathi, Nag Ashwin, Kabir Khan, and many others. With the launch of this year’s Film Club, IFFM continues to celebrate the spirit of diversity through cinema.

IFFM Festival Director Mitu Bhowmick Lange says, “This is a uniquely intimate way for film lovers to stay engaged, entertained and educated while at home in these unprecedented times. We already have a strong line up of filmmakers from various parts of India. Well-known film journalist Rajeev Masand will moderate the session as he opens the film and its maker to a world of questions from curious fans.”

The Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley says: “Social distancing doesn’t mean social disconnection and through the screen, we can continue to be inspired by stories and perspectives from across the globe. I applaud the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne team for its commitment to continuing to bring the IFFM spirit to film lovers and for pivoting to a new model for 2020 in response to these challenging times.”

In 2019 the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne celebrated its tenth anniversary. In February this year pre-COVID, IFFM hosted an event in Mumbai where Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan awarded the 4-year scholarship named after him to Gopika Kottantharayil Bhasi from Thrissur (Kerala), as a part of the festival’s long association with Melbourne’s La Trobe University. Now faced with restrictions and new opportunities the IFFM team is working hard to develop new exciting elements to the year’s festival while ensuring the safety of festival attendees.

The magic of cinema will never fade away: Shoojit Sircar & Ronnie Lahiri

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Photo- MBF

By Neeraj Nanda

MELBOURNE, 18 June 2020: Director Shoojit Sarkar and Producer Ronnie Lahairi whose Amitabh Bachchan, Ayushmann Khurana starrer is making global waves on the streaming service Amazon Prime, remain committed to the magic of cinema which they feel will never fade away.

The two cinema icons were recently participating in the inaugural IFFM Film Club on Zoom organized by the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne 2020, and hosted by Rajeev Masand. Their film Gulabo Sitabo is one of the first mainstream Indian movies to release exclusively on a streaming service.

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Rajeev Masand, Mitu Bhowmick Lange, Shoojit Sircar & Ronnie Lahiri. Photos- MBF

Answering to a question by SAT Editor, Neeraj Nanda, Saoojit Sarkar said, “The magic of cinema will never fade away. When the lockdown opens up, it is normal human behavior to watch something at a stadium, a tennis match, cricket or a movie in a cinema. This because human behavior is to come together and cinema magic will remain.”

“And, of course, streaming services being a new evolution will co-exist with cinema, he said.

Ronnie Lahari said, “We are a community of people and enjoy when we are with a lot of people. That’s not happening when you are watching on a streaming service. These are unrepresented times and we took a decision to release Gulabo Sitabi on the basis of the current situation.”

“It’s not that all our films will be on streaming services. As soon as the lockout opens I will be happy to release my next film on the big screen where everyone can watch it together,” he said.

The IFFM Film Club interview and interaction with Saoojit Sarkar & Ronnie Lahari event on zoom on the eve of the release of Gulabo Sitabo attracted massive participation from across Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Host Rajeev Masand’s penetrating questions and interesting questions from participants added to the glory of the unusual but lively and informative interaction. Kudos to IFFM CEO Mitu Bhowmick Lange and the Mind Blowing Films team for this exceptional digital experience. SEE FULL VIDEO BELOW: