The New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF), kicks off its 17th anniversary season on April 30 with Alankita Shrivastava’s women’s empowerment film “Lipstick Under My Burkha” at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian here. The film premiered at the Tokyo and Mumbai Film Festivals, where it won the Spirit of Asia Prize and the Oxfam Award for Best Film on Gender Equality. In January, India’s Central Board of Film Certification refused to certify the film because it claimed the story was too “lady-oriented,” so the film is currently banned in India. The red carpet reception for the New York premiere of the film will be followed by a gala benefit dinner, open to the general public.
The festival’s centerpiece film is the New York premiere of Khushboo Ranka and Vinay Shukla’s critically-acclaimed documentary “An Insignificant Man”, about India’s Aam Aadmi Party activist Arvind Kejrkiwal.
After its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2016, the film has traveled to multiple festivals around the world, including London, Busan and Mumbai.
The festival will close its programming on May 7 with the North American premiere of Milind Dhaimade’s “You Are My Sunday”, an uplifting, slice-of-life comedy about five close friends who struggle to find a place to play soccer in Mumbai every Sunday. The closing night screening will take place at Mason Hall on the Baruch College campus and it will also be preceded by a red carpet, followed by the NYIFF 2017 Award Ceremony and gala closing night party.
In addition to the New York, North American and world premieres of 44 shorts, documentaries and feature films over a week-long period, NYIFF is proud to present the following sidebar festival programming:
Sibling Filmmakers: Deepa Mehta and Dilip Mehta present their respective New York premieres of “Anatomy of Violence” and “Mostly Sunny” on May 6. Both films’ world premieres took place at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2016.
Om Puri Tribute: “A Death In The Gunj”, directed by Konkona Sen Sharma, pays tribute to the late Om Puri, one of India’s most versatile character actors who starred in more than 147 films during his illustrious career; he was awarded the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award of India in 1990. NYIFF Screening on May 1.
Priyanka Produces: “Ventilator” and “Sarvaan”, produced by actor Priyanka Chopra NYIFF Screenings on May 4.
Mobile Bollywood: One minute cell phone films by NYU Tisch Cinema Studies students.
Shoot a short film: Workshop by National Award-Winning Filmmaker Umesh Kulkarni on May 5 and 6.
Organizers bill the festival as the oldest, most prestigious Indian film festival in the United States, screening premieres of feature, documentary and short films made from, of, and about the countries in the Indian subcontinent (India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Afghanistan) in the independent, arthouse, alternate and diaspora genres. Eight days of screenings, post-screening discussions, industry panels, an award ceremony, special events, nightly networking parties, red carpet galas, media attention and packed audiences build an awareness of Indian cinema, entertain and educate North Americans about the realities of the lives and people in the Indian subcontinent, and add to cultural diversity of New York City, organizers say.
Founded in 1998, the Indo-American Arts Council is a secular, registered 501(c)3 not-for-profit, service and resource arts organization charged with the mission of promoting and building the awareness, creation, production, exhibition, publication and performance of Indian, subcontinental and cross-cultural art forms in North America.