It’s 2020 and films are getting bigger and better! Not only that but its the 18th year of the LA Film Festival! The Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) today announced its full lineup of narrative and documentary features, and shorts for the festival’s 18th edition, which boasts 5 World, 1 North American, 4 U.S. and 10 Los Angeles premieres, spanning 12 languages, with 50% of all films premiering directed by women. The renowned premier global showcase for groundbreaking Indian cinema, IFFLA will take place this year April 1-5 at Regal L.A. LIVE: A Barco Innovation Center in Los Angeles. The Opening Night Gala presentation will take place at ArcLight Hollywood, with an after-party to follow hosted by Spice Affair in Beverly Hills. Passes and Gala tickets go on sale today, February 19. Individual tickets will go on sale on February 25 at www.indianfilmfestival.org.
The festival will open with An Evening with Imtiaz Ali, one of Hindi cinema’s most respected and charismatic writer-directors. Ali will be joined on stage by celebrated Indian filmmaker Anurag Kashyap (Gangs of Wasseypur, Netflix’s Sacred Games) to discuss the scope and influence of Ali’s career. Ali has captivated global audiences with his distinctive love stories that are relatable and original. In 2005 he made his directorial debut with the charming Socha Na Tha, quickly followed by Jab We Met, which brought him instant acclaim. His 2009 film Love Aaj Kal was a massive critical success and box office smash, which he followed up with the stylistically rich Rockstar in 2011.
Ali’s conversation with Kashyap will be followed by the screening of one of his most lauded films, 2014’s Highway, an enthralling road movie that thrust into the limelight Alia Bhatt (Dear Zindagi) one of the most formidable actors working in Hindi cinema today.
“We are thrilled to open this year’s festival with an insightful and unfiltered conversation with Imtiaz Ali, moderated by longtime friend of IFFLA Anurag Kashyap,” said Christina Marouda, IFFLA’s Executive Director. “Imtiaz’s intuitive work with actors and independent spirit are a natural fit for IFFLA.”
IFFLA’s Closing Night on April 5th will see the Los Angeles premiere of The MisEducation of Bindu, a delightful coming-of-age tale set in the American suburbs about a bright young Indian girl who resolves to test out of her high school, but must turn to the students who constantly torment her to raise the money for the test fee. Directed by Prarthana Mohan (Turn Around) and starring Megan Suri (How To Get Away With Murder), Priyanka Bose (Lion), and David Arquette (Scream 3), the film was produced by Mark Duplass (Safety Not Guaranteed) and Jay Duplass (Transparent) after it won their campaign in partnership with crowdfunding platform Seed&Spark to find America’s Next Generation of Indie Filmmakers. The cast and Mark Duplass are expected to attend.
IFFLA’s feature lineup includes a vast array of highlights from the past year’s international festival circuit, including IFFLA alum Bhaskar Hazarika’s Tribeca 2019 selection, the romance-thriller Aamis (Ravening); SXSW 2020 sci-fi fantasy title Cargo, starring IFFLA favorites Vikrant Massey (A Death in the Gunj) and Shweta Tripathi (Masaan) as otherworldly astronauts charged with processing the recently deceased into reincarnation; Dolly Kitty and Those Twinkling Stars starring Konkana Sen Sharma (Omkara) and directed by Alankrita Shrivastava whose controversial previous film Lipstick Under My Burkha opened IFFLA 2017; Gitanjali Rao’s animated opus Bombay Rose, whose handpainted images took six years to complete before its debut in the 2019 Venice Film Festival; and Geetu Mohandas, who helmed India’s 2014 Oscar entry, Liar’s Dice, brings the Malayalam-language Moothon (The Elder One), a Toronto 2019 premiere which blends high-paced action with beautifully rendered queer themes.
This year’s selection highlights both filmmakers working in India and in the diaspora community, the latter notable especially in the festival’s diverse and exciting short film selection, whose highlights include the comedy Coffee Shop Names starring Danny Pudi (Community), Karan Soni (Deadpool 1 & 2), Kausar Mohammed (Silicon Valley); the world premiere of Uncle, starring Ajay Naidu (Office Space), Omar Maskati (Netflix’s Unbelievable), and Rizwan Manji (Schitt’s Creek); and the U.S. premiere of The Loyal Man, a riveting thriller set in France among the Tamil-speaking community.
“This year’s lineup exemplifies the boundless creativity on display in the Indian independent film community and its diaspora” said Mike Dougherty, IFFLA’s Director of Programming. “Visitors to IFFLA this year have their choice of animation, sci-fi/fantasy, romance, documentary, comedy, thriller and more, in films that in typical IFFLA fashion deal with hard-hitting political themes, and that challenge as well as entertain. I couldn’t be more proud of the films we’re presenting.”
An exciting highlight of this year’s IFFLA will be back-to-back Master Classes with two of India’s top filmmakers Imtiaz Ali and Anurag Kashyap. Imtiaz Ali will discuss how he works with actors to create the vast world his characters inhabit within his films. Anurag Kashyap will discuss the arc of his career aided by various clips of his work to demonstrate how directing skills can develop over time, and lessons he’s learned on set over the course of his impressive filmography. These exciting programs will run on Saturday, April 4 and are open to all audiences and pass holders.