Melbourne is set to sparkle with the vibrancy of Indian cinema as the Indian Film Festival Melbourne (IFFM) prepares for its 15th anniversary in August 2024. Governor of Victoria, Professor Margaret Gardner AC heralded this milestone at a glitzy industry event at the Marriott Hotel in Mumbai.
The IFFM recognised as the Southern Hemisphere’s largest annual celebration of Indian film, will kick off on August 15, coinciding with Indian Independence Day 2024.
IFFM 2024 promises a rich tapestry of cultural and cinematic experiences, featuring all the cherished festival traditions, including the IFFM Awards night, Dance Competition, and a Closing Night to remember.
Governor Gardner praised the festival’s contribution to the cultural landscape of Victoria, noting,
“IFFM brings us the finest of Indian filmmaking and a chance to appreciate the rich tapestry of the Indian diaspora’s experiences.”
In a significant move, IFFM has introduced “IFFM Baari,” meaning “House” in Bengali, a new initiative poised to be a creative sanctuary. IFFM Baari will be an inclusive space where emerging talents, particularly from South Asian communities, can connect with industry leaders to empower and cultivate diverse narratives through discussions, networking events, and more.
Mitu Bhowmick Lange AM, IFFM Festival Director, emphasised the role of IFFM Baari in nurturing the talents of marginalized communities and strengthening the Indo-Australian cultural bond.
“As we celebrate a decade and a half of the festival’s groundbreaking journey, Baari signifies a new era in our legacy,”Lange remarked.
The festival will also premiere “My Melbourne,” a collection of four short films crafted by acclaimed filmmakers Rima Das, Kabir Khan, Imtiaz Ali, and Onir.
This anthology celebrates Melbourne’s diversity, with stories echoing the voices of the LGBTQAI+ community, and touching upon themes of disability, race, and gender. “My Melbourne” is a testament to IFFM’s motto of showcasing films “with you, about you, and for you,” reflecting the community’s authentic lived experiences.
The project is a collaboration with Vic Screen and Screen Australia, underlining the festival’s commitment to diverse storytelling.
The Mumbai event was also an opportunity to honour the legendary Indian actress Shabana Azmi with the IFFM Excellence Award. Recognized for her profound impact on Indian cinema and her advocacy for various social causes, Azmi’s work continues to inspire. In celebration, IFFM has launched the ‘Shabana Special’ on its streaming platform, offering audiences across Australia access to six of her classic films, with the option to donate to the Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne.
IFFM 2024 is set to showcase over 120 films in more than 20 languages, including Australian premieres that weave together narratives from the South Asian diaspora. Since its inception in 2010 by Mitu Bhowmick Lange AM of Mind Blowing Films, IFFM has been at the forefront of promoting dynamic Indian cinema, challenging perceptions, and bringing celebrities and disruptors under one roof.
With its array of stars and the allure of the Awards night red carpet, IFFM is more than a film festival; it’s a cultural phenomenon that speaks to a wide audience, celebrating the rich and diverse universe of Indian film culture. As IFFM approaches this landmark edition, Melbourne prepares to once again immerse itself in the vibrant stories and traditions of Indian cinema.
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