Tag: Melbourne

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


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.”


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

Indian High Commissioner in Australia asks visa seekers to change travel plans as no international flights will land in India 22-29 March 2020.

By SAT News Desk

MELBOURNE, 21 March 2020: India has informed the Indian community and overseas students here that it may not be possible to consider requests for all those who apply for visas and hence those applying need to change their traveling schedules. A government source says no flights will be allowed to land in India between 22-29 March 2020.

In a letter written by the Indian High Commissioner HE Mr. A. Gitesh Sarma to the “Indian community and student organizations in Australia” and made available to SAT by the Indian Consulate, Melbourne, the letter says, ” It may not be possible for the time being to consider requests for grant of visa and your traveling plans may, therefore, need to be changed. These restrictions would, of course, be subject to regular review by the authorities in India.”

The letter says, ” …in order to prevent the spread the coronavirus in Australia, you would have noted that Government here has also announced a series of measures over the last few days aimed at containment of the pandemic.”

The Indian High Commissioners letter urges the community and students to take precautions and not to panic. This situation, it says, can be managed successfully managed by standing together as one family, helping one another, especially the needy ones amongst us.

The community has also been urged to access helpline of the High Commission of India, Canberra, all the three consulates across Australia and websites and their social media platforms for updates.

COVID19 Advisory for Indian overseas students & nationals in Australia


COVID19 Advisory for Indian Nationals in Australia
(Received in the SAT What’s App account from the Indian Consulate, Melbourne)

1) Considering the growing number of COVID-19 cases in Australia, all Indian nationals, especially students are advised to take abundant precautions with regard to their health & hygiene and follow the advisories issued by the local authorities. Australian Department of Health updates on COVID19 can be checked at https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert

2) While most of the Australian educational institutions are presently open, the fast-evolving situation could also lead to stronger and urgent measures including shut down of on-campus operations. If you are staying in on-campus housing and are asked to vacate, check with your university if you can continue staying in on-campus housing. If not possible, consult with your university or your student network on how to find alternate options for accommodation. Likewise, check how to avail your health services, health insurance, and any other essential services that may be impacted.

3)Australia has announced that all arrivals in the country from midnight today must “self-isolate” for 14 days on arrival. Currently, Australia also has issued travel restrictions for a number of countries and further restrictions can be expected in the days ahead. Any overseas travel may also compromise your ability to return to Australia. It is strongly advised to avoid all non-essential domestic or international travel.

4)It should be kept in mind by those Indian nationals traveling to India that they will also be subject to medical screening upon arrival in India and maybe put in quarantine for a minimum of 14 days if required. For full details on the current restrictions in India, please check updated travel advisories on https://boi.gov.in/content/advisory-travel-and-visa-restrictions-related-covid-19-0

5)This is an unprecedented situation, but we can successfully manage it by taking decisions with a calm mind. Please take prudent health precautions and carefully review information and travel advisories.

For updates visit our website-www.hcicanberra.gov.in
Updates also available on Facebook- IndianHighCommissionCanberraAustralia
On Twitter- @HciCanberra Facebook

Fashion takes over Australian Open at the Rod Laver Arena

AO 2017  Day 12 Australian fashion takes centre court.

BY SAT News Desk

MELBOURNE, 27 JANUARY: capitaliseTennis met its match today (Friday 27th January) when fashion took to the court at Australia’s biggest annual sporting event, the Australian Open, to help launch Australia’s largest fashion event, set to run from March 1-19.

Melbourne’s standing as Australia’s home of major events was further consolidated as the Australian Open and Melbourne’s most renowned fashion event came to capitalizeAO 2017  Day 12 Australian fashion takes centre court. on the city’s global reputation as the ‘Sports and Style capital’, encouraging both domestic and international tourism.

With the world’s eyes firmly fixed on Melbourne, the iconic Rod Laver Arena played host to 16 styled models, all “runway ready” and sporting a preview of the upcoming Fashion Festival’s trends featuring Australia’s most celebrated designers including Thurley, Bianca Spender, Dion Lee, LIFEwithBIRD, Jack London and Camilla and Marc.

Visit Victoria CEO, Peter Bingeman said: “Visit Victoria has played a leading role in highlighting this state’s prolific event calendar and helping Major Events partner and cross promote to achieve greater profile and commercial results globally.”

Melbourne Fashion Festival Ltd. CEO, Graeme Lewsey, said: “Fashion defines Melbourne and our creative culture is being recognised and appreciated around the world. And so is our talent for staging Major Events in Victoria and delivering memorable experiences for everyone to enjoy. We are extremely honoured to have been invited to showcase some our incredible Australian designers to a global audience on centre court today, and this is just a teaser of what’s set to take over Australia’s fashion and design capital from 1-19 March”.

AO 2017  Day 12 Australian fashion takes centre court.

Tennis Australia Commercial Director Richard Heaselgrave said: “At the Australian Open this year we’ve combined the incredible on-court action with the best Melbourne has to offer in terms of music and food, and now we’ve added fashion to the mix, truly creating a Glam Slam experience.”

“Melbourne is known as Australia’s most stylish city and we’re delighted to help launch the fashion festival in March, effectively handing over the major events baton.”

- Text & photos supplied by Tennis Australia.

Melbourne set for New Year’s Eve spectacular

Photo: Melbourne city website

MELBOURNE, 16 December: Melbourne’s city skyline will light up in spectacular style this New Year’s Eve when the City of Melbourne rings in 2017 with its biggest ever fireworks show.
Lord Mayor Robert Doyle today announced details of the glittering new fireworks display that can be enjoyed from anywhere with a view of the city skyline.

“Our New Year’s Eve fireworks will be the most intense and spectacular display ever seen in Melbourne,” the Lord Mayor said. “In addition to the impressive ‘fan and barrage’ effects, ‘comets’ will arc across the sky like shooting stars and ‘mines’ will explode as the clock strikes midnight.

“The city sky will sparkle as 13.5 tonnes of fireworks, a third more than last year, are fired from 22 rooftops across the city, making it the biggest fireworks show that Melbourne has ever seen.

“Melburnians near and far who can see the city skyline will have a perfect vantage point to enjoy the midnight show.”

We encourage city visitors to attend the four official Live Sites at Treasury Gardens, Flagstaff Gardens, Docklands and Kings Domain. The sites will run from 9pm to 1am and feature free entertainment, food outlets and toilet facilities, with DJs spinning their turntables well after the final countdown.

“Howard & Sons will pull out all the stops with new effects including fatter comets, broader mines, and bigger and brighter slabs of colour,” the Lord Mayor said.

“In the lead-up to the event, 65 pyrotechnicians from around the world will prepare three loads of fireworks and equipment; enough to fill two 40-foot and three 20-foot shipping containers.

“Council will spend $3 million on New Year’s Eve, with the fireworks display costing $532,000 and the majority covering public safety and event management costs. The economic impact to the municipality is estimated at $7.6 million.”

The Lord Mayor said New Year’s Eve was a major annual event, with large crowds expected.

“With 450,000 people expected in the city, we recommend that people use public transport, expect delays, behave responsibly and be considerate as they make their way home,” the Lord Mayor said.

The midnight fireworks will be synchronized to a specially curated soundtrack by popular Melbourne DJ and producer, DJ Ransom, which will be broadcast live on FM 99.7 and Channel 7.

The City of Melbourne’s New Year’s Eve celebrations is alcohol-free events.

Visit the City of Melbourne’s NYE website for full details and transport options on New Year’s Eve.

Source: Melbourne City media release.