In its 14th year the Indian Film Festival Of Melbourne (IFFM) is set for another bumper year, as the largest festival of its kind in the southern hemisphere, returning to venues all across Melbourne 11-20th August. IFFM will continue as a hybrid festival incorporating in-person screenings, much-loved IFFM events, special screenings and an online program. With the much-anticipated world premiere of Ghoomer as it Opening Night Film, the festival has announced that legendary Indian actress Shabana Azmi, star of Ghoomer will hoist the Indian flag at the IFFM Independence Day Celebrations on Saturday 12th August at Alexandra Gardens. This year sees a shift in venue with IFFM Independence Day celebrations taking place at the scenic Alexandra Gardens, on Peppercorn Lawn. Crowds will enjoy entertaining music and dance performances before the official ceremony. The celebrations will then continue with the IFFM Dance Competition to now continue at Alexandra Gardens from 12 noon.
Shabana Azmi said, “I am deeply honoured to be a part of the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne and to have been chosen to hoist the Indian national flag on this momentous occasion. IFFM has consistently showcased the incredible diversity and creativity of Indian cinema, and I am thrilled to be a part of such a prestigious event that brings our cinema to global audiences. This platform is even more special given our film, Ghoomer, which is personally very close to my heart, is making its world premiere at the festival. To be given an opportunity to hoist our national tricolour in presence of the amazing Indian community who live in Australia, is truly an experience I am excited to be part of and witness in person”.
Festival Director, Mitu Bhowmick Lange AM said, “We are thrilled to have the privilege of welcoming the legendary actor Shabana Azmi to hoist the Indian national flag at our Independence Day Celebrations. Shabana Azmi’s remarkable contributions to Indian cinema and her unwavering commitment to storytelling have left an indelible mark on the film fraternity. Her presence at IFFM 2023 embodies the essence of our festival, which aims to showcase the rich tapestry of Indian cinema to global audiences. We are honoured to have her join us in this celebration of cultural unity and artistic brilliance.”
After premiering to a long-standing ovation at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival this year maverick Indian filmmaker, Anurag Kashyap’s film Kennedyhas been selected to book-end the festival, as the Closing Night film to be presented at Hoyts Docklands. Anurag will attend the screening alongside the film’s lead actors Rahul Bhatt and Sunny Leone. Kennedy follows the enthralling tale of a long-thought-to-be-dead, insomniac ex-cop, who finds himself entangled in a corrupt system while seeking redemption.
Alongside Anurag, the incredibly talented lead cast of Kennedy, will share their experiences in the making of the film and insights into their roles, in an exclusive in conversation session with the audience. With its gripping narrative and powerful performances, this neo-noir thriller promises to be an unforgettable cinematic experience for audiences here in Australia.
Festival Director, Mitu Bhowmick Lange AM said, “Anurag Kashyap is known forhis ground-breaking work, and Kennedy is no exception. It is a powerful film that engages the audience from start to finish. We are proud to have Kennedy as our closing night film and look forward to welcoming Anurag Kashyap and the talented cast to the festival.”
The IFFM Chats will also take place at the National Gallery of Victoria and the Immigration Museum from 11-13th August. This year’s line-up includes some of the most influential and exciting personalities in Indian cinema including a look at the widespread success of the Telugu romantic period drama Sita Ramam and a revival in epic Indian love stories; an in depth look at 25-year career of Hindi director, Karan Johar; and finally, a look at cinema’s role in sustainability with actress and climate change champion Bhumi Pednekar.
VicScreen CEO, Caroline Pitcher said, “Every year, IFFM ignites audiences with a multifaced celebration of community, culture and cinema, showcasing premier films from the sub-continent. We can’t wait for the festival to return next week, as it takes over some of Melbourne’s most iconic venues, including the National Gallery of Victoria and Art Centre’s Hamer Hall. VicScreen is proud to have beenprincipalpartnerofthefestivalforoveradecadeandwelookforwardto welcoming our esteemed international guests.”
Other guests attending the festival this year as part of the IFFM Special Screenings Q&A program include the talented Director behind Agra, Kanu Behl which debuted at Cannes Film Festival earlier this year to a standing ovation; Director of feature film
Hadinelentu (Seventeeners), Prithvi Konanur who was a nominee for the Kim Josek Award at the 2022 Busan International Film Festival; filmmaker and screenwriter AnjaliMenonwill be here to talk about her Hindi/English film, Wonder Women; the immensely brave subject of the sex trafficking documentary, Fatima will join us for a compelling and insightful Q&A; and Director Varun Grover, will also be part of the screenings to discuss his semi-autobiographical film All India Rank.
Throughout August, IFFM will take over multiple key venues in Melbourne’s CBD and suburbs including National Gallery of Victoria, Arts Centre Melbourne, Alexandra Gardens and Hamer Hall. This year IFFM has again chosen the Royal Children’s Hospital as its charity partner, and IFFM online viewers will be encouraged to donate to support this essential hospital service. Tickets to the glamourous ANZ Plus Indian Film Festival of Melbourne Awards Night 2023 on August 11th are on sale now via Arts Centre Melbourne. Tickets to the festival screening and special screenings are now available via https://www.hoyts.com.au/
Sunday 13th August @ HOYTS Docklands
Q&A with Whispering Mountains with Jagath Manuwarna
With director Jagath Manuwarna, uncover important reflections with a deep dive into the world of Whispering Mountains — a darkly dystopian version of Sri Lanka plagued by corruption, political unrest and suicide.
Monday 14 August @ HOYTS Docklands
Q&A with Wonder Women director Anjali Menon
Join Anjali Menon for a thoughtful and warm conversation about sisterhood and storytelling and all things related to her film
Tuesday 15 August @ HOYTS Docklands
Q&A with Agra director Kanu Behl & Mohit Agrawal
With a successful world premiere at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival, experience Agra alongside director Kanu Behl and actor Mohit Agrawal. Learn all about the filmmaking process and join the conversion on key contemporary issues that the film grapples with including gender and sexual repression.
Wednesday 16 August @ HOYTS Docklands
Q&A with Fatima
From the harrowing but hopeful documentary Fatima, meet Fatima herself — a woman who escaped a life of sex-trafficking at the Indo-Nepali border and now fights for justice to bring hope to the next generation of young girls.
Be a part of the world premiere of Lord Curzon Ki Haveli (Curzon’s Manor) with the team to celebrate this exciting black comedy thriller, a homage to the legendary Hollywood filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock. Hear from director Anshuman Jha, and actors Rasika Duggal and Arjun Mathur as we warmly welcome this special film into the world.
Thursday 17 August @ HOYTS Chadstone
Q&A on Karparaa Q&A with Vignesh Kumulai
Join director Vignesh Kumulai to discuss the creation and themes of the Tamil film Karparaa, unpacking elderly neglect, family and loneliness.
Friday 18 August @ HOYTS Docklands
Q&A with All India Rank director Varun Grover & Sarita Patil
Experience the Australian premiere of the slice-of-life, coming-of-age dramedy All India Rank, Varun Grover’s directorial debut. Meet the producer Sarita Patil and director Varun Grover — a multi-talented writer, celebrated comedian and award-winning lyricist.
Friday 18 August @ HOYTS Docklands
Q&A with Tora’s Husband director Rima Das
Meet award winning director Rima Das to learn all about her unique process of creating her latest film Tora’s Husband, a sensitive portrait of family, loss, and lockdowns.
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