The New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF) announced today the Gala Opening Night film: Shonali Bose’s MARGARITA WITH A STRAW at the Paris Theatre in New York City on May 4th, 2015. A rebellious young woman with cerebral palsy leaves her home in India to study in New York, unexpectedly falls in love, and embarks on an exhilarating journey of self-discovery.
The New York Indian Film Festival is widely recognized as the oldest, most prestigious South Asian film festival in the United States, showcasing some of the greatest talents working in the Indian Subcontinent as well as the diaspora. Celebrating its 15th year, NYIFF will run May 4th to 9th at a variety of prestigious New York City venues, including the Skirball Center for Performing Arts, the Paris Theatre and the Village East Cinemas.
Shonali Bose’s Amu, which premiered at the New York Indian Film Festival in 2005, took on the wrenching communal conflict of India’s recent past. In her new film she pursues a more intimate landscape, drawing on the experience of her own sister to illuminate the amazing Laila. Koechlin – known for her edgy work in films by Anurag Kashyap – gives a performance full of both precision and heart. Cinematographer Anne Misawa (Treeless Mountain) uses creamy shallow focus and an elegant colour palette to situate Laila in a world alive with palpable beauty. Avoiding the pitfalls of cheap sentiment on the one side and moral instruction on the other, Margarita with a Straw is a consistently rewarding portrait of a young woman coming of age, making mistakes, and finding the unpredictable path of her own desire.
“We are thrilled to be opening this year’s New York Indian Film Festival with Shonali Bose’s new film MARGARITA WITH A STRAW,” said IAAC Executive Director Aroon Shivdasani. “Shonali has been a loyal member of the NYIFF family for several years, as well as a rising star in the forefront of India’s growing indie film movement, always pushing the boundaries as in her docudrama AMU, about the 1984 Sikh genocide, which also premiered at NYIFF in 2005 . ”
Shonali is also the first Indian to receive the prestigious Sundance-Mahindra Global Filmmaker Award for the screenplay of her new film “Margarita with a Straw”. The award was presented at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival after which the film premiered at TIFF 2014 where it won the NETPAC award for the best Asian Film!
Director/writer Bose will participate in a post-screening conversation followed by the Opening Night Gala event with celebrated IAAC supporters and all NYIFF participating filmmakers in attendance.
“I have been a fan of Shonali Bose ever since I saw her film Amu – a moving tale of memory and the tragedy of the anti-Sikh riots in Delhi. Then last year I saw her new film Margarita with a Straw, with a Straw at the Toronto International Film Festival. It is a very mature story about a physically challenged person and her sexual desires – a subject that no one has dared to approach in India. We at NYIFF are so thrilled to be able to share this quiet masterpiece with our audience’, said NYIFF Director Aseem Chhabra.