India International Film Festival of Boston holds virtual event

India International Film Festival of Boston flyer publicizing the event. Photo courtesy IIFFB.

The India International Film Festival of Boston 2020 (IIFFB) held its annual event  online from October 16-18, 2020. This was its third film festival but the first to be help virtually. 100 films from 11 countries in 15 languages entered the contest.

Viewers could access films that were chosen as finalists through an online portal for a week before the winners were announced on October 18, according to a press release from IIFFB.

New Indian and international feature-length filmsb and short films were features and IIFFB says it encouraged filmmakers from all countries to enter the IIFFB-2020 Film Competition.

Dr. Suraja Menon Roychowdhury, Rohit Chandra, and Meera Siddharth from the programming committee at IIFFB featured as judges for the festival.

“Although our annual film festival is typically in person, the virtual format allowed us to organize several Zoom panels, bringing together Bollywood icons and film lovers alike to debate salient film-related topics. The virtual format also allowed the viewer to enjoy IIFFB’s film selections from the comfort of their own homes,” Chandra is quoted saying in the press release.

The Lifetime Achievement Award was awarded to late Om Puri, received by his wife Nandita Puri in a conversation with IIFFB’s Founder and CEO Razia Mashkoor and Ananth Mahadevan, Marathi and Hindi film and television director, screenwriter, and actor.

Five times Michelin award-winning Chef Vikas Khanna was awarded the ‘Pride of India Award’ for his work in feeding the hungry in India during the pandemic, which has drawn global attention. Kavita Chhibber, a journalist and long-time friend of Khanna, conducted the interview with Khanna. His movie, The Last Color was the winner of the best feature film at IIFFB 2019.

A panel of hosts including Mashkoor, Priya Samant Parulkar, a theater artist, film impact advisor and advocate for social platforms. Sunayana Kachroo, a poet, screenplay and song writer conducted interviews and panel discussions.

Topics discussed included ‘Bollywood on the Grill’- a discussion on current issues relating to drug use and the mafia in Bollywood, and the future of Indian cinema- during the COVID pandemic and beyond.

Film Awards:

Best feature film: Kaanthi (Asok R. Nath Writer/Director)

Best short film (from Iran): Better than Neil Armstrong (Aireza Ghasemi Writer/Director)

Best director: Kush Gupta and Sejal Dound for film Ave Maria

Best Actor Male: Victor Banerjee for film Josef Born in Grace

Best actor female: Shylaja P. Ambu for film Kaanthi

Best supporting role (male): Vipin Sharma for film Baitullah

Best supporting role (female): Lin Laishram for film Ave Maria

Best child actor: Shivika Rishi for film Ave Maria

Best Documentary:  Dehlight directed by Indresh Singh

Best LGBTQ Film:  The First Drag

Best Film Social Cause: Baitullah (Written, Directed and Produced by Jitendra Rai)

Best song: The Battle of ‘Corona vs. Us’ (Roshni Datta, Rajiv Nema, Deepak Sharma)

Best Local recognition a Comedy Film: HighBread -C’est La Weed

*Lifetime Achievement Award: Om Puri

*Founder’s Award: Vikas Khanna “Pride of India”

The IIFFB team is already planning their film festival for 2021. The dates for the festival in 2021 are September 24-26.





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