The New York Indian Film Festival Hits Manhattan This Week

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The New York Indian Film Festival Hits Manhattan This Week

The 12th Annual New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF), presented by the Indo-American Arts Council (IAAC), runs this Wednesday, 23 May, through Sunday, 27 May, at the Tribeca Cinemas in Lower Manhattan. The festival will feature over 30 films, shorts, and documentaries.

“NYIFF is a once-a-year opportunity to experience the rich and diverse film cultures of the Indian subcontinent through a mix of film screenings, discussions, industry panels, nightly parties, an awards ceremony, and gala red carpet events,” says Aseem Chhabra, film journalist, board member of the South Asian Journalists Association, and Programming Director of NYIFF. “We encourage filmmakers to submit their movies to one of the few Indian film festivals in the country to attract such large mainstream and South Asian audiences.”s led not only to a wider range of films, but to new partnerships and inroads to American audiences.”

There are a handful of films that I want to call to your attention:

Transgenders: Pakistan's Open Secret 
Directed by Sharmeen Obaid- Chinoy
Pakistan 2011. 54 mins. Urdu, English (with English subtitles) 

Many among Pakistan's transgender community scrape a living through dancing, singing and begging on the streets of Karachi. Others earn money catering for the sexual needs of men. Thrown out by their families, they find their way to the tougher parts of the city where, hidden from the conservative mainstream, groups of outcast transgenders have created a secret world of their own.

Saving Face
Directed By Daniel Junge AND Sharmeen Obaid- Chinoy 
Pakistan 2012. 40 mins. Urdu (with English subtitles)

Winner 2012 Oscar for Best Documentary Short

Every year in Pakistan, many people are victimized by brutal acid attacks. The majority of these are women, and many MORE cases go unreported. With little or no access to reconstructive surgery, survivors are physically and emotionally scarred, while many reported assailants – typically a husband or someone close to the victim – are let go with minimal punishment from the state. Saving Face tells the stories of two acid- attack survivors: Zakia and Rukhsana, their arduous attempts to bringtheir assailants to justice, and the charitable work of London-based, Pakistani-born plastic surgeon Dr. Mohammad Jawad, who strives to help these women put this horrific act behind them and move on with their lives. Saving Face is an intimate look inside Pakistani society, illuminating each women's personal journey while showing how reformers are tackling this vexing problem.Saving Face is the 2012 Academy Award Winner for Documentary (Short)


Pardoner’s Tale by Himkar Tak
Directed by: Himkar Tak 
Cast: Skyler Pinkerton, David Lavine, Paul Coughlan 
USA. 2012. 13 minutes. English 

Chaucer nerds rejoice!!! This film is a modern adaptation of Geoffrey Chaucer's tale, told differently: when three New York attorneys win a high profile case they encounter a number of the seven deadly sins.

Directed by Vikram Gandhi 
USA 2011. 84 mins. English 
Cast: Purva Bedi, Kristen Calgaro and Vikram Gandhi

Winner Audience Award for Best Documentary 2011 SXSW Film Festival 
American filmmaker (and self-proclaimed religious skeptic) Vikram Gandhi transforms himself, Method-style, into a wise Indian guru named Kumaré, hoping to prove the absurdity of blind faith. Instead, he finds himself forging profound connections with his disciples — and wondering if and when to reveal his true self.

Vikram has given a TEDx talk (about 20min into the video) on his film, as well has conducted a number of interviews


For more information about the 2012 New York Indian Film Festival, please visit the NYIFF's website.

About the Indo-American Arts CouncilThe Indo-American Arts Council is a registered not-for-profit arts organization passionately dedicated to showcasing, building awareness, and celebrating artists of Indian origin in the performing, visual and literary arts. Annual festivals of art, dance, play writing and film are scheduled through the year, with several special events and book launches. For further information please visit NYIFF was born in the aftermath of 9/11 in response to Mayor Giuliani’s call to New Yorkers to help rebuild a limping city. The First Annual film Festival opened its doors with Film Diaspora Godfather Ismail Merchant and closed with New York’s favorite Indian filmmaker Mira Nair.