Film Festivals: Looking Back & Forward

The Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles wrapped up its fifth year last weekend. Did you go? I couldn’t make it this year, but my mom did and had the chance to view a few of the 36 features showcased

A scene from Vanaja.

at the six-day festival—Kamla starring Deepti Naval (IFFLA’s 2007 Tribute Honoree), a 1984 film about a reporter looking to prove the existence of the human flesh trade in India by purchasing a tribal slave girl, Outsourced (audience choice for Best Feature Film), a comedy chronicling the encounters of an American salesman who travels to India to train his replacement, Provoked, and Vanaja, Rajnesh Domalpalli’s film school thesis which closed the festival, the story of a fisherman’s daughter who works for a local landlady to learn dance and help with her father’s debt as well as an exploration of “social class, sexuality, gender and family.”

What’s up next? Well, Hilal has already told you all about the “India Now” features showing this weekend. While perusing that other film festival’s schedule to see if there was anything I could go see on my upcoming trip to NYC, I noticed Shame (scroll down for trailer), Mohammed Naqvi’s documentary. Shot over a five-year period, the documentary is the story of human rights icon Mukhtar Mai, the Pakistani village woman who was publicly gang raped in 2002 to atone for a crime allegedly committed by her brother, her legal fight against her attackers, her rise to fame, and the Pakistani government’s recent curtailing of her movement in response to the publicity. For inside information on some unorthodox shooting on Shame, check out Naqvi’s blog account of finding someone to shoot a few crucial shots before editing.

More: IFFLA 2007 photos; Watch interviews with the folks behind the films at Sivoo

April 27, 2007
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