The New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF) is going virtual for its 20th edition amid the coronavirus pandemic. The digital movie gala will stream over 40 feature films, shorts and documentaries from the Indian subcontinent, including Vibha Bakshi’s National Award-winning project “Son Rise” and Tanuja Chandra’s documentary “Aunty Sudha, Aunty Radha”. The festival, which is scheduled to take place from July 24 to August 2, will screen feature and non-feature projects in various Indian languages including Assamese, Bengali, Haryanvi, Hindi, English, Ladakhi, Maithili, Malayalam, Marathi, Nepali and Tamil. Indian Film Festival of Melbourne Rescheduled to Late 2020 Due to COVID-19 Pandemic
The festival, usually held around April-May every year in Manhattan, was postponed this year due to the COVID-19 outbreak. “We were disappointed to postpone this year’s New York Indian Film Festival because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But we are thrilled to bring the virtual edition of the festival with the same films we had selected for NYIFF 2020,” NYIFF festival director Aseem Chhabra said in a statement. Indo-American Arts Council (IAAC), the leading cultural organisation that presents the festival, said the virtual edition will enable audiences not just in New York but across North America to view films, some of which will also have a global reach. Indian Film Festival Of Melbourne To Be Held In October! (Read Details)
“The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the closure of theaters but we believe that in such trying times arts, including films are even more important for the community’s well-being. So, this year we have decided to bring the films directly into your living rooms.” IAAC Vice Chairman Rakesh Kaul said.
The festival will open with Geetha J’s Malayalam film “Run Kalyani”, a drama cantered around the protagonist Kalyani, a young woman who works as a cook while also taking care of her ailing aunt. The closing film will be Geethu Mohandas’ “Moothon”, a story about love and loss that travels from serene, untouched beaches of Lakshdweep to the hustle-bustle of the streets of Mumbai.
Produced by Anurag Kashyap, “Moothon” had premiered at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). Bakshi’s “Son Rise”, which won the National Award for Best non feature film in 2019, will be among the two centerpieces that the festival will host this year. NYIFF said in a press release that Son Rise is a “powerful documentary that explores how patriarchy is so deep rooted in parts of India, especially in the state of Haryana.” UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka was the guest of honour at the premiere of “Son Rise” in Mumbai last year.
Mlambo-Ngcuka had said at the premiere that “the beautiful thing about the arts is that it reflects our thoughts, it changes our minds, it demonstrates our foolishness, it brings tears to our eyes, but it (also) leaves us with a profound opportunity to reflect.” The second centerpiece is director Tanuja Chandra’s documentary ‘Aunty Sudha, Aunty Radha’ which explores the lives of her two paternal aunts – sisters and widows, who live together in an ancestral house in a village in Uttar Pradesh.
A conversation session is being planned with acclaimed actor Manoj Bajpayee, whose films “Bhonsle”, “Aligarh”, “Gangs of Wasseypur” and “Chittagong” have previously been screened at the festival. The NYIFF is the oldest Indian film event in North America. Over the years, the festival has held New York premieres of a wide range of films, many of them critically-acclaimed, including “Monsoon Wedding”, “The Namesake”, “Slumdog Millionaire”, “Shahid”, “Dum Laga Ke Haisha” and “Gangs of Wasseypur”.