By Neeraj Nanda
MELBOURNE, 1 July 2021: The iconic Indian Film Festival of India (IFFM) 2021, is all set to hit the screens here and Australia-wide online August 12-21 and August 15-30 respectively. One of the world’s top festivals of Indian movies, the IFFM-2021 will this year have over 70 movies including documentaries and short films in 20 languages. The glittering festival this year which is also the 75th anniversary of India’s Independence is expected to bring cheer and recovery to post-COVID Melbourne.
Festival locations will be Hoyts, Melbourne Central, Hoyts District Docklands, Hoyts Chadstone, Hoyts Highpoint, and the Federation Square, city. The virtual festival movies will be accessible to stream for free online at www.iffm.com.au
Kicking off a diverse and dynamic program of more than 70 feature films, documentaries, and shorts – the largest festival of its kind in the southern hemisphere – is the 2021 IFFM Opening Night film, Ajitesh Sharma’s WOMB (Women of My Billion).
A heart-wrenching and a heart-warming documentary about the dreams and the fight against all forms of violence that unify the women of India today, WOMB (Women of My Billion) follows one young woman, Srishti Bakshi, as she embarks on a monumental journey, walking nearly 4000 kilometers over 240 days, from Kanyakumari in South India to Kashmir in the North. Along the way, she meets and learns firsthand about the experiences of women from all corners of the country.
Director Srishti Bakshi says, “Violence against women and girls is a human rights violation. since the outbreak of Covid-19 and the world locking down to live within four walls, emerging data and reports from those on the frontlines have shown that all types of violence against women and girls, particularly domestic violence, have only intensified. In this documentary, we have celebrated ordinary women who’ve shown extraordinary courage to rise above their limitations and challenge deeply entrenched gender norms. We did this to unite the majority because what we discovered was that ‘gender-based violence is a crime perpetrated by the minority but perpetuated by the silence of the majority.”
Producer Apoorva Bakshi says, “We take great pride in presenting our film at IFFM as the opening night gala presentation and look forward to sharing it with audiences worldwide. This documentary not only presents facts but also highlights possible solutions which can be implemented today.”
In 2021, IFFM takes over five key venues in Melbourne’s CBD and suburbs, while an extended virtual season will see films stream for free via the festival’s website, iffm.com.au. IFFM has partnered with the Mental Health Foundation, and viewers will be encouraged to donate to the organization when they stream FesHval films.
Mitu Bhowmick Lange, IFFM Director: “After the unprecedented challenges faced over the last 18 months, we are excited to bring the Indian Film FesHval of Melbourne back to the big screen, while our digital platform will ensure viewers around Australia can access the festival too. In 2021, IFFM pays tribute to not only the best of Indian cinema, but to many of our COVID-19 heroes, offering vital community support, connection, and hope in these challenging Homes.”
Caroline Pitcher, Film Victoria CEO: “Film Victoria is proud to be the principal partner of the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne. For over a decade, this incredible celebration of Indian film and culture has given Victorians the opportunity to engage with diverse and compelling screen stories, and it’s wonderful that this year we can come together both in cinemas across Melbourne and online.”
The Indian Film Festival of Melbourne is the southern hemisphere’s greatest annual celebration of Indian cinema and films from the Indian sub-continent. Established in 2010, it is recognized as an important feature of the State’s cultural calendar. IFFM is proudly supported by the Victorian Government via Film Victoria – principal partner of the festival.
The IFFM-2021 is supported and sponsored by the Victoria Government, Film Victoria, Commonwealth Bank, La Trobe University, City of Melbourne, Blackmagic Design, Hoyts, Mental Health Foundation Australia, SBS, Gday India, South Asia Times (SAT), Indusage, and Radio Haanji.
Festival site – https://www.iffm.com.au/
SAT site — www.southasiatimes.com.au