Pan Nalin’s Last Film Show leads lineup as IFFLA returns in-person for 20th anniversary

iNDICA News Bureau-

After a hiatus of close to two years on account of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) has announced a return to in-person screenings and events for its landmark 20th anniversary edition this year.

The festival will add a ‘Spotlight on South Asia’ section, which will feature a special program celebrating its history. The section will also see pre-festival screening of IFFLA alumni shorts highlighting films representing each year of the festival’s history with in-theater co-presentation with New Filmmakers Los Angeles (NFMLA).

IFFLA this year will showcase 26 films (10 feature films and 16 shorts), including the world premiere of Anmol Sidhu’s film Jaggi and the North American premieres of Faraz Ali’s Shoebox and Natesh Hegde’s Pedro.

The event will be held from April 28 to May 1 and include a live script reading previewing an IFFLA alumnus’s next feature project and announcement of a mentorship initiative to support emerging South Asian filmmakers.

‘We are ramping up efforts to support the careers of filmmakers by adding to the programs IFFLA has become known for over the past two decades, not just as a touchstone for our filmmakers, but also as a bridge to their next films,’ IFFLA executive director Christina Marouda said in a statement.

The gala selection, Pan Nalin’s Chhello Show aka Last Film Show, is the filmmaker’s celebration of the love for cinema through the story of a boy who stumbles upon a rundown movie theater and charms his way into a daily seat in the projection room.

The crowd-pleasing film made its debut at the Tribeca Film Festival and has traveled to festivals across the world.

Other highlights include Irfana Majumdar’s Shankar’s Fairies, a delicate tapestry of a tale set in 1960s Lucknow about the touching bond that develops between the daughter of a police chief and the family’s head servant.

Aditya Sengupta’s sumptuous Bengali drama Once Upon a Time in Calcutta follows an aging actress in games of power. Nithin Lukose’s critically acclaimed directorial debut Paka (River of Blood), produced by Anurag Kashyap, is a revenge thriller that pits two rival families against each other over a Romeo-and-Juliet-type forbidden romance.

Rahul Jain’s documentary Invisible Demons, which was premiered at Cannes in the Cinema for the Climate section, explores the detrimental effects of India’s growing economy on the environment in the sprawling city of Delhi.

Of the 11 short films presented in IFFLA’s main competition lineup, eight have been directed by women.

Heading IFFLA’s new Spotlight on South Asia section, which will showcase some of the groundbreaking work emerging from the region and its diasporas, is Abdullah Mohammad Saad’s psychological thriller Rehana Maryam Noor, about a professor and single mother who puts her family and life on the line to bring justice to a male colleague accused of sexually assaulting a student.

The film made history by becoming the first from Bangladesh to compete at Cannes in the Un Certain Regard section. The spotlight also includes 1978 (Pakistan), a short by award-winning director Hamza Bangash.

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