Audience members at the 15th annual Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles, which took place April 5-9 at the Regal L.A. LIVE: A Barco Innovation Center in Los Angeles, Calif., chose Khushboo Ranka and Vinay Shukla’s “An Insignificant Man” as their favorite documentary feature, while picking Padmakumar Narasimhamurthy’s “A Billion Colour Story” as their favorite narrative feature film. “Aaba,” directed by Amar Kaushik, was declared the Best Short.
Through “An Insignificant Man,” Ranka and Shukla give a behind-the-scenes look at Arvind Kejriwal’s formation of the Aam Aadmi Party and the AAP’s turbulent, historic campaign in the 2013 New Delhi elections that fundamentally changed India’s political landscape, while Narasimhamurthy’s “A Billion Colour Story” is a film on religious intolerance.
The festival showcased nearly 30 Indian films across 12 languages, and highlighted a combination of exciting first- and second-time filmmakers and experienced cinema masters returning with new work.
“The Golden Wing,” directed by Bobby Sarma Baruah, took home the grand jury prize for Best Feature. In awarding the grand prize to the film, which was shot in Assam in the rare Rajbangshi language, the narrative jury stated: “This is a film that celebrates a woman’s independence, her compassion and humanism and ultimately her enduring reputation as an artist.”
A special jury mention was made for “Lady of the Lake,” directed by Haobam Paban Kumar “for its inspired and distinctly cinematic fusion of magical realism and docu-fiction approaches in depicting the beleaguered fishing community living atop and among the hypnotic floating biomasses of Loktak Lake in the little-photographed Manipur region.”
The grand jury prize for Best Short was presented to “Devi,” directed by Karishma Dube, for “its well-defined characters, elegant narrative economy and subtle performances depicting a taboo gay attraction.”
Shorts special mention was given to “Gudh,” directed by Saurav Rai, “for lyrical storytelling to a film that uses poetic wandering of a child’s memory in a way that is quietly acrobatic, emotionally resonant and ultimately elevates its storytelling to a cinema of the senses.”
The narrative film jurors were David Marriott, vice president of acquisitions and distribution at Cinelicious, composer Gingger Shankar and Kim Yutani of the Sundance Film Festival. Judging the short films were actor Ritesh Rajan (“The Jungle Book”), producer Kim Sherman and Kelly Thomas.
The festival concluded with a red carpet and gala that featured the Los Angeles premiere of Shubhashish Bhutiani’s “Hotel Salvation,” starring Adil Hussain, who was in attendance.