The 14th annual Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) concluded on Sunday evening (April 10) with a red carpet and gala fete that featured the North American premiere of Anu Menon’s poignant and stirring feature, WAITING starring Kalki Koechlin who was in attendance, as well as the presentation of the festival’s Grand Jury and Audience Choice Awards.
This year the festival showcased nearly 30 films including features, documentaries, and shorts at ArcLight Hollywood, home of IFFLA since its inception, including three world premieres, two North American premieres, and ten U.S. premieres. IFFLA was proud to present more features and shorts from female filmmakers than ever before, as well as many titles that had received top awards at festivals around the globe. The festival had once again the support of its presenting sponsor, Zee Cinema.
VISAARANAI (INTERROGATION), directed by Vetri Maaran, took home the Grand Jury Prize for Best Feature. The Best Actor award went to Sanjay Mishra for his performance in MASAAN, and the Best Actress award honored the cast of PARCHED, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Radhika Apte, Surveen Chawla, and Lehar Khan. Special jury mentions were made for both Neeraj Ghaywan’s MASAAN and ALIGARH, directed by Hansal Mehta.
In awarding VISAARANAI, the narrative jury stated: “This film took us to a very specific time and place while also shedding light on a universal phenomena of displacement and vulnerability. For its complex and multilayered examination of systematic abuse of power, the IFFLA 2016 Grand Jury Award goes to VISAARANAI, directed by Vetri Maaran.”
The Grand Jury Prize for Best Short was presented to PLAYGROUNDS, directed by Shamik Sen Gupta and Pallavi MD. Honorable mentions were given to Payal Sethi’s LEECHES for the performances by its two lead actors, Sayani Gupta and Preeti Golacha, as well as THE MANLIEST MAN, for director Anuj Gulati’s cinematic vision.
Regarding the Grand Jury Prize for Best Short, the jury stated: “For its portrayal of two families in crisis, using a quiet economy and powerful yet subtle performances, the jury award for best short film goes to PLAYGROUNDS.”
The prestigious 2016 narrative film jurors were: filmmaker Shonali Bose (MARGARITA, WITH A STRAW, AMU); Features Editor at Variety, Shalini Dore; and international consultant to independent filmmakers and film festivals, Alesia Weston.
Judging the short films were actor Rizwan Manji (NBC’S OUTSOURCED, Jim Jarmusch’s upcoming PATERSON), documentary filmmaker Laura Nix (THE YES MEN ARE REVOLTING), and film director and editor Aldo Velasco (CHITTAGONG).
The audiences at this year’s IFFLA chose Leena Yardav’s PARCHED as their favorite feature film of the festival, while director Nishant Roy Bombarde’s DAARAVTHA (THE THRESHOLD) was chosen as Best Short
GRAND JURY AWARDS
Best Feature: VISAARANAI (INTERROGATION)
Best Actor: Sanjay Mishra for MASAAN
Best Actress: The cast of PARCHED: Tannishtha Chatterjee, Radhika Apte,
Surveen Chawla, and Lehar Khan
Feature Honorable Mention: ALIGARH
Feature Honorable Mention: MASAAN
Best Short Film: PLAYGROUNDS
Short Film Honorable Mention: LEECHES
Short Film Honorable Mention: THE MANLIEST MAN
AUDIENCE CHOICE AWARDS
Best Feature: PARCHED
Best Short: DAARAVTHA (THE THRESHOLD)