Filmmakers and film enthusiasts rejoice! The Indo-American Arts Council (IAAC) has announced the dates for the next installment of the oldest Indian film festival in New York. MIAAC Film Festival has been re-christened the New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF) and will take place from May 4 to 8 this year. “We start 2011 with a whole new energy for our annual IAAC Film Festival - a new name, a new Film Festival Director and a move to Spring," says IAAC Executive Director Aroon Shivdasani. The IAAC is currently accepting film submissions for its lineup this year; so if your film has an Indian connection – story, theme, actors or even principal crew, submit it for consideration now!
IAAC is a not-for-profit organization that promotes the awareness and exhibition of an array of Indian and cross-cultural art forms in North America. IAAC’s first film festival was launched in 2001, in the wake of the September 11 attacks on New York City, to foster greater understanding of stories and cultures from the Indian subcontinent. Since then, the festival has grown in reputation and reach, showcasing a variety of feature films, shorts and documentaries that in some way further this cause. Among the more high-profile films, the festival has over the years screened Mira Nair’s Monsoon Wedding and The Namesake, Deepa Mehta’s Water, Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire and the Oscar-winning documentary Born Into Brothels.
This year, noted film writer and regular IAAC Film Festival selection committee member, Aseem Chhabra, is at the helm as festival director. Commenting on his involvement with the festival, he says, "I am thrilled to have been appointed as the director of the festival. I have been a part of the IAAC family for several years and its events have been my one-stop shop as an entertainment writer and a New York-based consumer of Indian arts."
The festival last year – MIAAC 2010 – presented the U.S. premiere of Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK’s film Shor, memorable documentaries such as Leaving Home and Beloved Witness, as well as a special retrospective on the films of late actress Smita Patil.
In 2011, apart from hosting screenings at prestigious venues such as the Paris Theatre, Tribeca Cinemas and Asia Society in Manhattan, NYIFF will also be honoring the 150th anniversary of the birth of Rabindranath Tagore, India’s legendary Nobel Prize-winning artist and poet. The occasion will be marked by a celebration on May 8. With loyal celebrity supporters such as Mira Nair, Deepa Mehta, Salman Rushdie, Madhur Jaffrey, Padma Lakshmi, Shashi Tharoor, Shabana Azmi as well as the Indian Consulate, the NYIFF promises to provide an exciting foray into Indian cinema and culture once again.
The festival team at IAAC will be accepting film submissions until February 25. Further details can be found at the IAAC website.