Love film? Then block your diary for July 16-23rd as LIFF is back!
Get ready for a week of popcorn munching, sitting back in comfy cinema seats and losing yourself in a world of inspiring stories. The London Indian Film Festival is back, and boy have we missed it. We are so excited about our favourite independent film festival that we don't know what to do with ourselves until it starts (July 16th), other than tell everyone about it, so that you too, can get equally as enthusiastic. Now in its 6th year, the festival which runs from 16th-23rd July is a celebration of prestigious and thought-provoking new independent films from the Indian sub-continent, that quite frankly you won't see anywhere else. Unless of course you live in Birmingham. For the first time, the festival is on tour, so you can either catch selected films in the capital, or in the West Midlands.
Here are some of the flicks you won't want to miss...
Opening Night: Umrika, UK premiere, 16 July, Cineworld Haymarket, London
LIFF's opening film is always something spectacular and that tradition continues with a film that has already won this year's Sundance Audience Award. Any award voted for by real people rather than critics is bound to be good, that reason should be enough to check this film out. However, if you need more persuading, the plot should encourage you. It's a tale of two brothers from a small village who dream of following the American Dream (Umrika meaning America). The oldest leaves for the bright lights and big city, but while his parents believe he's finally living the dream, his brother discovers the truth...which will can only be found out by watching. Book early. The gala night is a star-studded red carpet affair which always sells out so chop chop!
Sari Raat (All Night), European Premiere (various dates)
When Konkona Sen Sharma is cast in a movie, you know it's going to be good. She appears in two films at this year's festival, this and Gour Hari Dastaan but if you're lucky enough to catch this screening you'll also get to witness a live Q&A with Konkona herself. The story focusses on a couple who while on holiday get caught up in a storm and take shelter in an abandoned house. Be warned; things do get a bit on the eerie side. Creatively shot, it's set in a mysterious world...but that's all that we can reveal for now!
One Crazy Thing
Wait a minute that boy in the specs looks a bit familiar...It is indeed one Mr Ray Panthaki, formerly known as Ronnie from Eastenders, but if the truth be told, he left the soap a decade ago, so we are very happy to see him back where he belongs: on the screen, (especially as this is a film set in London and a film set in London screened at LIFF has to be watched right?)
The Crow's Egg, UK Premiere (various dates)
If you like a good old fashioned heart-warming family tale in the ilk of Slumdog Millionaire, you must watch this sweet Tamil film about a pizza parlour that opens up, fascinating the local street kids. They would give anything for a slice, though one pizza costs more than their family's monthly income. You won't want to waste fast food again, after witnessing this refreshing film.
Closing night: Sachin, 23rd July, BFI Southbank
The title says it all...this is a film about cricket but thankfully it's a documentary that you don't need to know your wicket from your wrist spin to enjoy. Spanning three years and filmed across the world, it's an insightful investigation into the state of Test cricket which is about passion and power as much as it is about the big names.
So there you go, some highlight of the London Indian Film Festival 2015. As well as the screenings and Q&As, there's also a Screen Talk with legendary Director Mani Ratnam and you can attend a charity screening of Bombay, where Manisha Koirala will be present.
We can't give the whole programme away though...we have saved some surprises for you on the LIFF website.
There are films worthy of a watch on every single day so if you had any other plans we recommend you cancel them, LIFF only comes around once a year, you'd be crazy to miss it. See you there!
Find out more about The London Indian Film festival and ticket information here.