The 17th annual Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles opened April 11 with a tribute and moderated discussion with legendary Indian actress Tabu, paired with a screening of her latest film, “Andhadhun,” directed by Sriram Raghavan, and concluded April 14 with a red carpet and gala that featured the world premiere of director Megha Ramaswamy’s “The Odds,” a coming-of-age tale about two teens who skip school on an important exam day and go on a fantastical journey through Mumbai.
The four-day festival also featured the presentation of the festival’s Grand Jury and Audience Choice awards presented by HBO.
Director Praveen Morchhale’s “Widow of Silence” took home the Grand Jury prize for the ‘Best Feature.’ “We present the grand jury prize to a film that illuminates a condition that most of the world doesn't get to see and shines a light on the characters that live through it every day,” said the jury. “This filmmaker’s civic disobedience illustrates their love and compassion for their country and their people, and the craft of their filmmaking was beautifully wise and refined.”
The Grand Jury prize for the ‘Best Short’ was given to filmmaker Sandhya Suri’s film, “The Film,” which judges said, “takes images that normally evoke a sense of fear and flips the narrative on its head redefining a new more empowered world for the female protagonist and exploring an often unseen story of a woman’s drive and agency over her own body and life.”
The audience awards for the ‘Best Feature’ and the ‘Best Short’ went to Anand Patwardhan’s politically-charged documentary, “Reason” and Shazia Iqbal’s “Bebaak” (Dying Wind in her Hair),” respectively.
Anamika Haksar’s “Taking The Horse To Eat Jalebis” and Jayisha Patel’s “Circle” received honorable mentions.
The 2019 narrative film jury included director Amman Abbasi, Arcadia University media and communication professor Shekhar Deshpande, and Array vice president Tilane Jones. The short film jury featured directors Amy Adrion and Andrew Ahn and Indian American producer Megha Kadakia.
The festival took place April 11-14, 2019 at Regal L.A. LIVE: A Barco Innovation Center in Los Angeles, Calif., with the gala presentations at the Ahrya Fine Arts Theater in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Highlights at the festival included screenings of director Ritesh Batra’s “Photograph”; director Ronny Sen’s “Cat Sticks”; “Love Goes Through Your Mind” by UCLA alum Ronak Shah; and the heartwarming family film, “Chhippa,” directed by Safdar Rahman and starring “Lion’s” Sunny Pawar.
A TV-centric panel discussion, “Breaking in Brown: Making it to Series in TV’s Golden Age,” highlighting the work of South Asian actors, directors, writers and producers, was also presented.
This year’s lineup included five world premieres, two North American premieres, two U.S. premieres and 11 Los Angeles premieres, with films presented in nine different languages, and 50 percent of the lineup coming from female directors.