Did someone say LIFF? It's back next month and here's a taste of what's in store...
A sure fire sign that the summer is here is that the London Indian Film Festival is back - hooray! An largest annual film event in Europe that celebrates the best in independent cinema from South Asia, this year's line-up takes place in London and Birmingham throughout July and the carefully curated programme includes 15 major languages, including films from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka. All films are English subtitled.
Challenging stereotypes of India and South Asia, and wrestling with some very hard issues, the 7th Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival features a diverse programme of brand new features, documentaries and shorts including seven films directed by power-packed women filmmakers that give the Bechdel Test a run for its money, including the Thelma and Louise-esque opening night buddy movie, Parched, set in the desert villages of India’s Gujarat, while double Oscar® winner Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, introduces her punch in the guts, documentary, A Girl In The River - The Price of Forgiveness. With a strong LGBTQ+ following the festival also proudly hosts its first Transgender movie based on an empowering true story - I am Not He…She, at BFI Southbank.
Actor, writer and filmmaker extraordinaire Kamal Hassan gives a Screen Talk on 17th July
Alongside the screenings are some very rare on-stage Q&As at BFI Southbank including with one of South India’s greatest ever superstars - Kamal Hassan, who moved from child actor to Tamil cinema star, to produce, write and direct some of India’s most acclaimed features, including many Bollywood hits. The closing night gala, is the world premiere of the incredibly moving and intense Toba Tek Singh, which focuses on patients locked in a Punjabi mental health hospital during the Partition.
Malayam film Ottal (The Trap) gets its UK Premiere at LIFF
Sri Lankan breakout filmmakers Kalpana and Vindana Ariyawansa explore the taboo subject of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) in a very personal family drama Dirty, Yellow, Darkness, while at the ICA, Director Jayaraj from Kerala, presents the Berlinale Crystal-Bear winner, Ottaal (The Trap), a heart-wrenching drama, based on the roots of child slave labour.
Documentary For The Love Of A Man looks at the obsession with Rajnikanth
On a lighter note the festival also celebrates two icons of cinema with on-stage interviews with Satyajit Ray’s favourite actress Sharmila Tagore from Kolkata and the only Indian filmmaker to truly cross from Bollywood to Hollywood - Shekhar Kapur, who will discuss his plans for Elizabeth 3. Also in the line-up is a special screening of the risque film Brahman Naman, directed by India's leading indie director Q, the hilarious coming-of-age comedy is exclusive to Netflix while the Mumbai music industry focused Jugni, shows that love and a damn-good Punjabi song, can conquer even the toughest hearts.
Konkani film Enemy gets its International Premiere at LIFF
As well as synchronous screenings in London and Birmingham from 14-24 July, the Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival goes live on digital for the first time, with the festival showing a selection of films on BFI Player into the Autumn. As ever LIFF also the prestigious annual Satyajit Ray Short Film Competition, in association with the Bagri Foundation, with a prize of £1,000 to the winning film. The short film programme screens at the ICA on Wednesday 20th July and the winning short will be announced at the closing night gala, on 21st July, at BFI Southbank. The festival continues in Birmingham, until 24th July.
With so many films showing in some incredible venues it's a chance to immerse yourself in a world of stories, characters and ideas that will inspire and invigorate you.
See the full programme, book tickets and find out more here: www.londonindianfilmfestival.co.uk