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IVIEW FILM 2009 Announces the Complete Line-Up and Schedule
* Films, Shorts and Docs focused on Gender & Sexuality Issues
in the South Asian Diaspora
* IVIEW FILM Festival to be held from August 28-30, 2009,
at Lincoln Center & the Asia Society
New York, NY, August 5th, 2009: Engendered is proud to announce the line-up and schedule of films to be screened at I VIEW FILM 2009. I VIEW FILM will provide audiences with a compelling lens with which to view human rights in South Asia, through bold, contemporary cinema that provokes newer ways of seeing in order to understand the changing landscape of intimacies, desires, genders and sexualities. The Film Festival runs from Friday, August 28th through Sunday, August 30th at Lincoln Center and The Asia Society in New York. A complete list of films is available at www.engendered.org.
This cutting-edge festival ranges from independent features and films from Bollywood to ground-breaking shorts and documentaries from India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, as well as from the Diaspora in the United States and Australia. With a mission to engage, uplift and transform viewer perceptions around women's issues and the LGBT community, I VIEW will showcase a collection of films from established directors such as Mira Nair and Shyam Benegal to emerging directors like Atul Sabharwal and Ram Madhvani, and from successful mainstream Bollywood directors like Tarun Mansukhani and Zoya Akhtar to critically-acclaimed independent directors like Mehreen Jabbar and Parvez Sharma. “I am really excited to have ‘Luck by Chance’ close the festival. Engendered is an important platform for Indian cinema in the U.S. and it's great to be represented and featured with such gusto,” says Zoya Ahktar, director of “Luck by Chance.”
The Festival’s programming kicks off on Friday, August 28th with a red-carpet reception and plenary discussion, followed by a party at the Stanley Kaplan Penthouse at Lincoln Center. This dynamic evening will bring together Bollywood celebrities, academics, and journalists, to share the stage and offer in-depth conversation and a lively debate regarding the role of cinema in gender and sexuality issues and within the larger framework of human rights conversations. Confirmed speakers include Mira Nair, John Abraham, Shyam Benegal, Zoya Ahktar, Parvez Sharma, Tarun Mansukhani, Boman Irani and Kirron Kher. “It’s been my endeavor to promote an understanding of our sexuality, our preferences and the reflection of society upon us for those choices. Coming from India, where only a month ago homosexuality was decriminalized, I feel proud that this film played its part in the battle of changing prejudiced mindsets and its consequent persecutions, something that Engendered stands for and represents,”says Tarun Mansukhani, director of the opening film “Dostana”.
Other Festival highlights include the Paper to Film series, which focuses on the how a novel becomes a screenplay and the screenplay a film. “Thanks to Engendered, I VIEW FILM presents a refreshing opportunity for New York audiences to engage in meaningful conversations about the complex ways in which gender and sexuality are portrayed in South Asian cinema, and I’m honored to be a part of the conversation, as it pertains to the evolution of my novel to screen. It’s a fact that a film is written at least three times – in script, photography and finally, editing. ‘Ode to Lata’ has technically had five incarnations when you consider its former lives – its basis in fact and as a novel – before becoming a motion picture. I hope our evening together will give us a unique, unfettered chance to map this creative journey and celebrate a deeply personal project,” says Ghalib Shiraz Dhalla, author of “Ode to Lata” and “The Two Krishnas” and writer and Associate Producer of “The Ode”.
The two days of screenings touch upon major themes of Gender & Sexuality. The thematic programs are:
Saturday, August 29th, 2009: “Sexualities: Choice & Identity”
- OPENING FILM: DOSTANA directed by Tarun Mansukhani
9:30am-12:30pm at the Walter Reade Theatre, Lincoln Center
- SHORTS & DOCS I: a program of experimental shorts & powerful docs exploring Queer Sexuality & Identity
11:00am-3:00pm at the Stanley Kaplan Penthouse, Lincoln Center
- A Jihad For Love, directed by Parvez Sharma
- Searching for Sandeep, directed by Poppy Stockell
- Two Men In Shoulder Stand, directed by Paul Knox
- Beauty Parlor, directed by Mehreen Babbar
- I Am, directed by Sonali Gulati
- Madhuri Girl Star, directed by Ayesha Sood
- SPECIAL SCREENING: LET’S TALK, directed by Ram Madhwani
4:00pm – 6:30pm at the Stanley Kaplan Penthouse, Lincoln Center
- PAPER TO FILM I: An Evening with Ghalib Shiraz Dhalla: From Book to Screenplay, Screenplay to Screen, “Ode to Lata”
7:00pm – 9:30pm at the Stanley Kaplan Penthouse, Lincoln Center
Sunday, August 30th, 2009: “The Second Gender”
- SHORTS & DOCS II: a program of experimental shorts & powerful docs exploring women in conflict and war, women’s sexualities, sex work and the issue of choice.
9:30am-1:00pm at the Stanley Kaplan Penthouse, Lincoln Center
- Ek Qiamat Aur, directed by Mazhar Moin
- My Daughter the Terrorist, directed by Beate Arnstad
- Midnight Lost & Found, directed by Atul Sabhawal
- Burnes Road ki Nilofer, directed by Mazhar Moin
- Tumhari Bina, directed by Mehreen Babbar
- SPECIAL RETROSPECTIVE SCREENING: MANDI, directed by Shyam Benegal
1:30pm-4:30pm at the Stanley Kaplan Penthouse
- PAPER TO FILM II: MY OWN COUNTRY, directed by Mira Nair
1:30pm-4:30pm at the Walter Reade Theatre
- SPECIAL SCREENING: BARIWALI, directed by Rituparno Ghosh
3:00pm-6:00pm at the Asia Society
- CLOSING FILM: LUCK BY CHANCE, directed by Zoya Ahktar
6:30pm – 9:30pm at the Asia Society
Dialog and discourse form an integral part of I VIEW FILM. All screenings will be followed by panel discussions with the key cast members, film personalities and academics.
Festival screenings will be held at the Stanley Kaplan House and Walter Reade Theatre at Lincoln Center on Saturday and at Lincoln Center and The Asia Society on Sunday. A complete list of films and Festival programming is available at www.engendered.org.
The films include:
Opening, Closing & Special Screenings:
DOSTANA (Director: Tarun Mansukhani, Duration: 142 minutes)
It is the first Bollywood blockbuster where mainstream, straight actors play gay characters. Kunal and Sameer (John Abraham and Abhishek Bachan) are two straight guys who pretend to be a gay couple so as to secure a posh Miami apartment. However, the plot takes a hilarious turn when both men fall for their adorable roommate Neha (Priyanka Chopra).
LUCK BY CHANCE (Director: Zoya Akhtar, Duration: 156 Minutes)
It is a biting satire and insider’s look at gender disparity in India’s highly competitive film industry. This is the story of a struggling actor who arrives in Bollywood to become a movie star. His journey to fame is juxtaposed with that of an actress, who is also his love interest. Because of blatant gender inequity in this particular microcosm of Indian society, his love interest is forced to experience everything from the “casting couch” syndrome to losing lead roles because of her age and looks.
BARIWALI (Director: Rituparno Ghosh, Duration: 148 minutes)
Baariwali explores the gender roles of widowed women living without a man’s support in Indian society. Banalata (Kirron Kher) is a lonely, middle-aged woman living a solitary existence after her husband-to-be died the night before their wedding from a snake bite. All this changes when she agrees to allow a film production crew to shoot in a wing of her sprawling estate. Suddenly, her house is filled with movie stars, including the beautiful actress Sudeshna (Rupa Ganguly) and charming director Deepankar (Chiranjeet Chakraborty). Though she knows that not only is Deepankar married, but that his former lover, Sudeshna, still holds a torch for him, the lonely widow finds herself drawn to the director. The director flirts back and even persuades Banalata to appear in a bit part in the movie. Yet once the film crew decamps, things at the estate return to the same grinding tedium as before. The letters that Banalata writes to Deepankar go unanswered, and her bit part in the movie ends up on the cutting-room floor.
LET’S TALK (Director: Ram Madhwani, Duration: 98 minutes)
Let’s Talk is largely a two character piece. It tackles issues of love and infidelity through an urban Indian couple portrayed by newcomer Maia Katrak and Boman Irani who provide riveting performances, with a realism and truth unsurpassed in Indian cinema. Radhika Sareen (played by Katrak) is pregnant and the baby is not her husband’s. If she tells her husband, how will he react? What will he do? The film looks at the possible reactions that her husband would have to her predicament.
MANDI (Director: Shyam Benegal, Duration: 98 minutes)
This classic film is based on an Urdu short story 'Aanandi' by Pakistani writer Ghulam Abbas. It deals with a brothel at the heart of a city, in an area that some politicians want for its prime locality. They rally up against the brothel and its inhabitants in the name of morality, and soon everyone in the area jumps on the bandwagon. The politicians offer to put up an alternative residence for the prostitutes, only this place is miles away, isolated from the city. The madam of the house has no choice but to comply, but by the end things take a (logical) turn for the better.
Paper To Film I & II:
MY OWN COUNTRY (Director: Mira Nair, Duration: 90 Minutes)
My Own Country tells the story of an East Indian doctor who settles in Johnson City, Tennessee. It's 1985, and AIDS is spreading from the big cities to the rural areas. The doctor takes on the AIDS crisis as his personal crusade and is soon well-known for his compassion and non-judgmental treatment. The story explores sexuality from a hetero-normative perspective and exposes the myths and biases surrounding the disease in the early years.
ODE TO LATA (Director: Nilanjan Neil Lahiri)
A young, gay South African Indian flees to Hollywood, away from an overprotective
mother and memories of his father's violent death. The film is based on actual events and the acclaimed novel by Ghalib Shiraz Dhalla, “Ode to Lata.” This film is a unique look at sexuality from an independent Hollywood perspective, and it is a no-holds-barred memoir of the despair and hope that is part of a young gay man’s life.
Shorts & Docs I:
JIHAD FOR LOVE (Director: Parvez Sharma, Duration: 90 minutes)
Jihad for Love is the first-ever feature-length documentary to explore the complex global intersections of Islam and homosexuality. With unprecedented access and depth, gay filmmaker Parvez Sharma (please fix the spacing here) brings to light the hidden lives of gay and lesbian Muslims from countries like Iran, Pakistan, Egypt, Turkey, France, India and South Africa. The international chorus of gay and lesbian Muslims brought together by Jihad for Love doesn't seek to vilify or reject Islam, but rather negotiate a new relationship to it. In doing so, the film's extraordinary characters point the way for all Muslims to move beyond a hostile, war-torn present toward a more hopeful future.
BEAUTY PARLOR (Director: Mehreen Jabbar, Duration: 18 minutes)
Four faces, four masks and four short sketches of lives, loves and desires from Pakistan, traced through visits to the beauty parlor. Two friends long for intimacies of a different kind, a to-be-bride longs for another while getting ready for her wedding, the ‘other woman’ struggles to define her existence via her relationship with her married lover and a physically challenged transvestite has dreams of a different kind. This short film explores themes that could not be expressed on mainstream Pakistan television at the time.
I AM (Director: Sonali Gulati, Duration: 10 minutes)
What do parents do when they find out that their child is gay? Having lost the opportunity to tell her mother that she is a lesbian, a young Indian filmmaker travels across India to meet with parents of other gay and lesbian South Asians in search of answers. I AM is a personal and revealing feature film that journeys to a landscape where being gay is a criminal and punishable offense. Can this documentary conversation offer any resolution for either the filmmaker or the parents she meets? With courage, determination and humor, families share untold stories that have thus far remained in the realm of secrecy and silence.
SEARCHING FOR SANDEEP (Director:Poppy Stockell, Duration: 56 minutes)
Despite living in one of the gay capitals of the world, 28-year-old Sydney resident Poppy Stockell is forced to go online in her search for love. When she meets 31-year-old Anglo-Indian Sandeep Virdi, she thinks she's found the one. Through raw, incredibly frank footage, Searching for Sandeep follows Poppy and Sandeep's tumultuous relationship across two years and three continents.
MADHURI GIRL STAR (Director: Ayesha Sood, Duration: 8 Minutes)
Madhuri Kumari is a village ‘Pradhan,’ an elected village leader in Fakirpuri village, Bahraich District, Uttar Pradesh. Madhuri struggled to go to school when she was young; she was the only girl in a class of 26 boys. As Madhuri grew, she knew she wanted to stay in school though her father constantly opposed her, so she did odd jobs for her neighbors to be able to pay for her school supplies. Soon, with the money she saved, she opened a small grocery shop. When Madhuri stood for elections, she won and she was only 21 years old. For the past six years, Madhuri has been busy building roads, installing a drainage system in the village, adding new classrooms to the Government School and encouraging children to go to school in her village. If families cannot afford to send their children to school, then Madhuri quietly pays for their supplies. Madhuri is well respected in her village. Today, she is 27 years old.
Shorts & Docs II:
BURNES ROAD KI NILOFER (Director: Mazhar Moin, Duration: 40 minutes)
Nilofer is a precocious 16-year-old girl who lives with her hassled mother and disciplinarian father and eight younger siblings in a cramped flat in Karachi’s old city. Beguiled by the soaps on television, she dreams of true love but has little chance to go out and find it or even to express herself in the presence of her parents. Her only confidante is a neighbor, a young woman whose wiles her mother does not particularly approve of. When Nilofer falls for the young cable man who visits to fix her television connection, it sets in motion a series of half-comic, half-tragic events that encapsulate the constricting life she lives.
EK QIAMAT AUR (Director: Mazhar Moin, Duration: 60 minutes)
This is a tele-film looking at the psyche of a woman who escapes her loveless marriage and the monotony of her everyday life by weaving dreams. Soon the line between real life and dreams get blurry and threatens to jeopardize the equilibrium in her life.
MY DAUGHTER THE TERRORIST (Director: Beate Arnestad, Duration: 58 minutes)
This fascinating documentary is an exceedingly rare, inside look at an organization that most of the world has blacklisted as a terrorist group. Made by the first foreign film crew to be given access to the Tamil Tigers (LTTE) of Sri Lanka, the film offers important insights into the recently re-ignited conflict in Sri Lanka. Deep in guerrilla territory, two female Black Tigers train for the ultimate mission. Condemned as terrorists by the world, they regard themselves as their people's last hope against a superior oppressor. This even-handed documentary sheds light on the reasons that the Tamil Tigers continue their bloody struggle for independence while questioning their tactics. Deep in guerrilla territory, two female Black Tigers train for the
ultimate mission. Condemned as terrorists by the world, they regard themselves as their people's last hope against a superior oppressor. This film delves into the community’s reaction to women becoming part of the Black Tigers, a role primarily reserved for men.
MIDNIGHT LOST & FOUND (Director: Atul Sabharwal, Duration: 18 minutes)
Arvind (Deepak Dobriyal) spends his nights reading Batman comics caged
in behind iron bars at his lonely chemist shop in Bombay. A prostitute
(Geetika Tyagi) stops every night to buy condoms, until their conversations help Arvind break free and find the superhero within.
TUMHARI BINA (Director: Mehreen Jabbar, Duration: 60 minutes)
This film deals with the desires of an older single woman who lives by herself in the house that she shared with her deceased brother. Her only other companion is her trusted gardener and the pleasures of the internet through which she plays her sinister games. This film was produced as part of a series called 'Mystery Theatre" that ran on Indus Vision, a Pakistani cable channel.
Engendered is a non-profit, trans-national arts and human rights organization focused on exploring the complex realities of gender and sexuality in the South Asian Diaspora. Based in New York, Engendered presents an annual four-part festival that brings together the best in contemporary South Asian performance, music, visual arts, and cinema. Both a political and aesthetic festival, Engendered uses the medium of arts and culture to create change and promote social justice by initiating public dialogue around women’s issues, gender inequity, sexual orientation, and minority and health rights. For more information about the organization, please visit www.engendered.org.