Birmingham Indian Film Festival: Rohena Gera wins top honour; Anurag Kashyap felicitated with LIFF ICON award
The Birmingham Indian Film Festival opened with director Anubhav Sinha's thriller Article 15 and ended with a screening of Ritesh Batra’s Photograph.
The fifth anniversary of Birmingham Indian Film Festival opened with director Anubhav Sinha walking the red carpet for his hard-hitting thriller Article 15 and ended this week with a packed screening of Ritesh Batra’s Photograph at MAC Birmingham. The festival was part of the Bagri London Indian Film Festival which is touted to be the UK and Europe’s largest South Asian Film Festival.
This year’s inaugural BIFF Audience Award went to the charming romance Sir, directed by Rohena Gera which took the Cannes film festival by storm in 2018. The award, which has been running at the Bagri London Indian Film Festival for 7 years, marks the first time it has been presented to a female director.
Rohena Gera said “I am truly delighted that Sir has won the Audience Award in Birmingham. It means a lot to me that the film connects with the audience at the heart of the UK. I am honoured to be their favourite.”
Eleven days of 16 screenings and events took place in five venues across Birmingham and showcased a number of high profile and emerging women film-makers films, Q&A’s with Directors as well as a rarely seen documentary and special screenings of LGBTQ+ shorts attended by a diverse audience. The festival’s first Screen Talk was presided by India’s leading cult director Anurag Kashyap who took home a LIFF ICON award.
Other guests at screenings during the festival included stalwart investigative journalist, documentary maker and activist Anand Patwardhan, Kannada actress Anju Alva Naik and directors Praveen Morchhale and Gaurav Bakshi. Legendary Bengali director, Buddhadeb Dasgupta also graced the city, and won the LIFF ICON award.
The Satyajit Ray Short Film Competition & Award, presented in association with The Bagri Foundation, went to Rohan Parashuram Kanawade for U Ushacha who was presented with £1000 from the Satyajit Ray Foundation at the closing night of the London festival.
While talking about the festival, Dharmesh Rajput, Head of Cinema, Birmingham said, “It’s been fantastic to have an increase in diverse audiences attending the festival this year and to have ended on a high with a sold-out screening of Ritesh Batra’s Photograph which was well received by the audience. I’m proud that the festival platforms independent South Asian films which wouldn’t necessarily be seen here in the UK and that we’ve been able to interact with directors at QnAs.”
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