The Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA), which returns to in-person screenings and events this year, will showcase 26 films, including the world premiere of Anmol Sidhu’s ‘Jaggi’ and North American premieres of Faraz Ali’s ‘Shoebox’ and Natesh Hegde’s ‘Pedro’.
In its landmark 20th Anniversary edition, IFFLA will also inaugurate a Spotlight on South Asia section, feature a 20th Anniversary Shorts special program celebrating the festival’s history with a pre-festival screening of IFFLA alumni shorts highlighting films representing each year of the festival’s history with an in-theater co-presentation with New Filmmakers Los Angeles (NFMLA).
The festival will also include a gala presentation of Pan Nalin’s ‘Last Film Show’ besides the 10 feature films and 16 shorts.
IFFLA, to be held from April 28 to May 1, will present a live script read previewing an IFFLA alumnus’ next feature project, and include the announcement of a filmmaker mentorship initiative to further support emerging South Asian filmmakers.
“Reflecting on IFFLA’s 20 years, we find ourselves overjoyed by the range of incredible talent we have discovered and celebrated, introducing numerous emerging and established voices to Los Angeles… We are now ramping up our 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.
Sidhu’s ‘Jaggi’ follows a schoolboy in rural Punjab who faces toxic masculinity and sexual abuse when he’s assumed to be gay.
Making its North American premiere is Faraz Ali’s “Shoebox”. The film tells a coming-of-age story of a young woman who watches her father struggle to keep the family’s single-screen movie theatre operating while everything changes around them.
Natesh Hegde’s ‘Pedro’ focuses on a taciturn electrician who becomes a social outcast in his small Karnataka town after becoming involved in a drunken incident.
The feature film lineup also includes Irfana Majumdar’s ‘Shankar’s Fairies’, a tale set in 1960s Lucknow about the touching bond that develops between the young daughter of a police chief and the family’s head servant, through his fantastical stories.
Aditya Sengupta’s sumptuous Bengali drama ‘Once Upon a Time in Calcutta’, Nithin Lukose’s critically acclaimed directorial debut ‘Paka’ (River of Blood), and Rahul Jain’s documentary ‘Invisible Demons’, which premiered in Cannes’ Cinema for the Climate section are also part of the festival screenings.
Of the 11 short films presented in IFFLA’s main competition lineup, 8 are helmed by women directors.
This section boasts four world premieres, including Megha Ramaswamy’s provocative psychological horror ‘Lalanna’s Song’, co-produced by Guneet Monga; Ambiecka Pandit’s ‘Under the Waters’, a raw coming of age drama produced by Vikramaditya Motwane; the deadpan debut “Adventures of Faisal Rehman” by Mir Ijlal Shaani; and Varun Chopra’s politically charged documentary ‘Holy Cowboys’ extremism.
IFFLA’s new Spotlight on South Asia section features Bangladeshi filmmaker Abdullah Mohammad Saad’s psychological thriller ‘Rehana’ (Rehana Maryam Noor).