The hard hitting film, ‘Half Widow’, which was also the opening film, won the Best Film award at the first edition of the New Jersey Indian International Film Festival (NJIIFF), presented by Audible. Filmmaker Danish Renzu won the Best Director award for the same film.
Desalos Isabella’s The Snag, an entry from France, was awarded the Best Short film, at the festival.
Filmmaker Prakash Jha won the best actor award for his performance in Justaju and Sayani Gupta won as Best Actress, in the short film category.
In the feature film category, the lead actress of Tikli & Laxmi Bomb, Chitrangdha Chakraborty, won the Best Actress award for her bold performance as a sex worker in the film which showcases a mini revolution of women against the system. Vishwa was awarded the best actor award for his performance in Saalai. Both the films were entries from India.
Iraq’s only entry Mariam, produced by Military Media Team and Mohammad Jaffar, won the Best Documentary award. Chintan Sharda won the best director award for his short film Shunyata, according to a press release.
In the festival Director’s Award category, films and filmmakers awarded included Sweta Kripalani and Aditya Kriplani for their film Tikli & Laxmi Bomb. Italy’s short film Weird by Fausto Montanari was awarded the best short film.
Madhuri Dixit Nene’s Marathi film Bucket List was appreciated by the audiences at the festival. The film’s director Tejas Deoskar and producer Ashok Subedar interacted with cine goers and shared the experience of working with the actress.
The opening night of the festival was graced by filmmakers from USA, India and Canada. Attendees included Rohit Khaitan, producer of critically acclaimed film Prague, and writer of Half Widow Sunayana Kachroo.
NJIIFF got submissions from 15 countries in 18 languages. NJIIFF showcased 42 films in different categories including short, feature & documentaries.
Festival Director Hemant M. Pandya said at the meet, “When I make films as an independent filmmaker, I know how hard it is to reach to audience and get a distributor…I want to create a platform for independent filmmakers from India, USA and all over the world so that they can showcase their films and talent. This is the beginning and I promise that NJIIFF will become a platform where every film maker would want to showcase their films.”
NJIIFF presented by Audible, an Amazon Company., also supported by Air India, Parikh Worldwide Media, ITV GOLD, Farmers Insurance, Amogh LLC, Rane’s Dental, Montessori Connection, Amogh Learning Centre, New York Life, Radisson Hotel Piscatway, NJ Allergy & Asthma Care, American Institute of Technology and Friday Films.