The Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM) was officially launched on Monday by IFFM Festival Director, Mitu Bhowmick Lange AM at the NGV Community Hall in Melbourne.
Festival Director, Mitu Bhowmick Lange AM said,
“As we celebrate our 14th year of bringing the best of Indian cinema to Australia, it is our firm belief that the essence of storytelling transcends boundaries and connects us all. Our carefully curated line-up celebrates diversity, creativity, and ingenuity.”
“From thought-provoking documentaries to captivating narratives and entertaining short films, our festival showcases the incredible talent and vision of filmmakers from the Indian subcontinent.”
This year, IFFM’s 14th edition will run from the 11th – 20th August and will continue as a hybrid festival incorporating. in-person screenings, much-loved IFFM events, special screenings and an online program. The online program can be accessed via the IFFM streaming platform, ensuring film lovers everywhere can enjoy the hottest cinema offerings from both India and the Indian subcontinent all year round.
IFFM’s Opening Night will feature the world premiere of the much-anticipated Hindi film, Ghoomer directed by prominent filmmaker R Balki, starring Indian cinema icon Shabana Azmi as well as Abhishek Bachchan and rising stars Saiyami Kher and Angad Bedi.
The film is inspired by the incredible achievements of Hungarian athlete Karoly Takacs, who was the first athlete with a disability to reach the podium in shooting at the Olympic Games. The film follows the story of an Indian cricketer played by Saiyami Kher, with Abhishek Bachchan playing the role of her coach.
“We are so excited to open the festival with the world premiere of Ghoomer from one of India’s most respected and loved film-makers R.Balki. It’s the perfect fit for our festival as it celebrates the human spirit and inclusive storytelling,”Ms Lange added.
“It’s indeed an honour and pleasure for us that ‘Ghoomer’ will be the opening film at the IFFM,” said Abhishek Bachchan and R Balki in a joint statement,
“It’s only fitting for a film that believes that ‘Sport makes life worth living’ to be launched in the sport capital of the world, Australia, the land of the MCG. Welcome to the first preview of ‘Ghoomer”.added statement.
Saiyami added, “I am thrilled and extremely honoured that ‘Ghoomer’ will be the opening film at IFFM.”
“This is a film very very close to my heart. Playing a sport on screen was always my dream, I have been manifesting it since I started acting. I’m so glad it’s finally come true. For me, this film is much beyond the sport. It’s a story of triumph in extreme adversity.”
“Feels extra special that people will be watching this film at IFFM for the first time. Couldn’t have asked for anything better coming to the land of the great Shane Warne to showcase our film”.said Saiyami.
Ms Lange says, “We invite audiences to embark on a cinematic journey by immersing themselves in this rich tapestry of emotions. We look forward to welcoming audiences from across the continent as we celebrate the magic of cinema and the boundless possibilities it offers to inspire, entertain, and provoke meaningful conversations.”
However, As change is the only constant in life, it has also come true for IFFM.
This year flag hoisting for Indian Independence Day will also be done at a new spot this year.
Ms Lange says, “We understand the sentiments of people as they see Federation Square as a home for flag hoisting, however, due to FIFA world cup bookings we are unable to secure it this year.”
“The good news is we have a bigger space just across the road at Arts Centre Melbourne,to celebrate Indian Independence Day with all the fanfare and celebrity guests,”She said.
In 2023, the Festival will present over 120 films in more than 20 languages bringing together South Asian: stories from across the globe, with more still to be announced.
This year’s program is made up of feature films, including prestigious international festival prize-winners, and hard-hitting documentaries tackling crucial contemporary issues from established and upcoming documentarians – all sitting within its usual dynamic program streams: Beyond Bollywood, Hurrah Bollywood, Documentaries, Short Films (Official Selection), Film India World, Films from the Subcontinent and Made in Melbourne.
Other program highlights include the award-winning Indian filmmaker Rima Das’s drama, Tora’s Husband, which successfully premiered at Cannes Film Festival this year and was the first Indian film to be included in the prestigious Platform section of TIFF in 2022.
Set against the stunning backdrop of Assam, the film follows a family man’s life unravelling in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. From accomplished director Kanu Behl, Agra will make its Australian premiere at this year’s festival, after also preceding a world premiere at Cannes Film Festival. Behl’s feature film Agra takes an unfiltered look at sexual repression in India.
Fresh from Berlin International Film Festival, the Marathi feature film, Aatmapamphlet (Autobio-Pamphlet) is a fast-paced comedy, which tells the twin stories of childhood love and of momentous social change in 1990s India.
Hindi feature film, All India Rank, is Varun Grover’s semi-autobiographical debut feature and is a film that diagnoses the malaise of a society where children squander their best years living their parents’ dreams and parents let their self-worth repose on their children’s achievements.
After acclaimed inclusions at both the Busan International Film Festival 2022 and the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) 2022, director Prithvi Konanur’s feature film, Hadinelentu (Seventeeners) examines the irreparable damage on the lives of two seventeen-year-olds when their selfie sex video is leaked on the Internet.
The award-winning documentary While We Watched, directed by Vinay Shukla chronicles the working days of infamous Indian broadcast journalist Ravish Kumar as he navigates a spiralling world of truth and disinformation.
After a successful competition inclusion at Sydney Film Festival this year, Devashish Makhija’s thriller Joram, starring Manoj Bajpayee will also make its Victorian debut.
The festival is proudly presented by the Victorian Government via VicScreen, which is a principal partner of the festival and further cements Melbourne as a destination that celebrates India and the Indian subcontinent.
The festival remains one of the most popular Indian Film Festivals outside of India and continues to celebrate diversity through cinema.
As always, IFFM will continue to showcase the best of cinema from this enormous industry that encompasses not only Bollywood, but a mosaic of different regions, tastes, and cultures.
The festival will also continue to provide a platform to upcoming filmmakers through its World Remit Short Film Competition, as well as bring all the glamour and excitement of Indian cinema’s most talked about talent to Melbourne at its red-carpet event, the ANZ Plus IFFM Awards night.
Established in 2010, the festival consistently strives to program films that provide a robust forum for conversation and that enhance not only India’s rich storytelling tradition but also look to challenge people’s notions of this country which has emerged in recent years as the fastest-growing major economy in the world.
Throughout August, IFFM will take over multiple key venues in Melbourne’s CBD and suburbs including the National Gallery of Victoria, Arts Centre Melbourne, and the Hoyts venues across Melbourne.
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.
Friday 11th August:
IFFM Press Conference, Melbourne CBD
ANZ Plus Indian Film Festival of Melbourne Awards Night @ Hamer Hall, Arts Centre Melbourne
Saturday 12th August:
Flag Hoisting Ceremony for the 76th Anniversary of Indian Independence
IFFM Dance Competition @ NGV, Melbourne IFFM Opening Night @ Hoyts District Docklands
Sunday 13th August:
IFFM Talks @ NGV, Melbourne 20th August:
IFFM Closing Night @ Hoyts District Docklands
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