INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL OF LOS ANGELES --Siraj Syed

INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL OF LOS ANGELES        --Siraj Syed

Masaan, Aligarh win awards at Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles
Los Angeles has been holding the annual Indian film festival for the last 14 years. A non-profit organisation (we call them NGOs in India), IFFLA is devoted to a greater appreciation of Indian cinema and culture, by showcasing films, and promoting the diverse perspectives of the Indian diaspora. The five-day festival is the premier platform for the latest in cutting-edge global Indian cinema, and bridges the gap between the two largest entertainment industries in the world, Hollywood and India. This year, the festival, held at the Arclight Hollywood, showcased nearly 30 films from the Indian film-making community across the globe, and marked the North American première of Anu Menon’s feature, Waiting, starring Kalki Koechlin who was in attendance.

Awards were announced on April 11. Visaaranai (Interrogation, a Tamil thriller), directed by Vetri Maaran, took home the Grand Jury Prize for Best Feature. The Best Actor award went to Sanjay Mishra for his performance in Masaan, a really rivetting portrayal. The Best Actress award honoured the cast of Parched: Tannishtha Chatterjee, Radhika Apte, Surveen Chawla, and Lehar Khan. It was shared by no less than four talented actresses. Special jury mentions were made for both Neeraj Ghaywan’s Masaan, and Aligarh, directed by Hansal Mehta.
 
In awarding Visaaranai, the narrative jury stated: “This film took us to a very specific time and place while also shedding light on a universal phenomena of displacement and vulnerability.” Jurors were: film-maker Shonali Bose (Margarita, With a Straw, Amu); Features Editor at Variety, Shalini Dore; and international consultant to independent film-makers and film festivals, Alesia Weston.
The Grand Jury Prize for Best Short was presented to Playgrounds, directed by Shamik SenGupta and Pallavi MD. Honorable mentions were given to Payal Sethi’s Leeches, for the performances by its two lead actors, Sayani (pronounced Shayoni) Gupta and Preeti Golacha, as well as The Manliest Man, for director Anuj Gulati’s cinematic vision.
 
Judging the short films were actor Rizwan Manji (NBC’S Outsourced, Jim Jarmusch’s upcoming Paterson), documentary film-maker Laura Nix (The Yes Men Are Revolting), and Film Director and Editor, Aldo Velasco (Chittagong).
There were audience prizes too, and audiences at this year’s IFFLA chose Leena Yadav’s Parched as their favourite feature film of the festival, while director Nishant Roy Bombarde’s Daaravtha (The Threshold) was chosen as Best Short. On receiving the award, the director tweeted, “With due respect to the jury, I love this feeling of receiving an Audience Award @iffla. It's more endearing!”
 
Z(Zee) Cinema was the presenting sponsor of IFFLA 2016. Submissions for the 2017 edition will begin in September 2016.
IFFLA
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Christina Marouda, Chair
Rupak Ginn, Secretary

Officers
Syed Ahmed, International Business Development, Zoo Digital
Dr. Swati Desai
Dr. Bharat Patel
Noel De Souza, Member, Hollywood Foreign Press Association
Meher Tatna, Treasurer, Hollywood Foreign Press Association
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