The Indo-American Arts Council proudly kicks off its second decade of film excellence with a new name and a new set of dates for its signature event of the year. The New York Indian Film Festival: 11th Annual IAAC Film Festival will take place from Wednesday, May 4 to Sunday, May 8. Formerly held every November, the oldest and most prestigious film festival for Indian cinema in North America now moves to its new spring home on the first weekend of May. Aseem Chhabra, noted film writer and long-time IAAC Film Festival selection committee member, ushers in this new era as Film Festival Director.
The New York Indian Film Festival continues its tradition of launching at the world-famous Paris Theatre in Manhattan with its star-studded Opening Night red carpet premiere which will take place on May 4 followed by a gala benefit dinner at the opulent Jumeirah Essex House. Film festival screenings will take place from May 5 through May 8 at Tribeca Cinemas with the Closing Night selection to screen at Asia Society followed by the annual awards ceremony and afterparty. Opening and Closing Night film selections will be announced soon. In addition, the festival will also host an exclusive celebrity-filled celebration honoring the 150th anniversary of the birth of India’s legendary Nobel Prize-winning artist and poet Rabinranath Tagore at Asia Society on May 8.
A call for submissions has been announced by the Indo-American Arts Council with a deadline date of February 20, 2011. Filmmakers can find details on the organization’s web site: www.iaac.us.
“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 Indo-American Arts Council Executive Director Aroon Shivdasani. “I am really excited about these changes and look forward to presenting New York with a fresh and exciting selection of films this year.” Film Festival Director Aseem Chhabra adds “I am thrilled to have been appointed as the director of the festival - now re-named as the New York Indian Film 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.”
Created in 2001 in the wake of the September 11 attacks on New York City, the film festival was started to create a better understanding of the people and stories from the Indian subcontinent by bringing the most acclaimed feature films, shorts, and documentaries from that region and its Diaspora to America’s biggest and most remarkable city. Mira Nair’s ‘Monsoon Wedding’ closed that year’s festival ahead of its worldwide theatrical release and was joined over the years by numerous films such as Deepa Mehta’s Oscar-nominated ‘Water’, Nair’s ‘The Namesake’, the Academy Award-winning ‘Born Into Brothels’ as well as the New York Premiere of Danny Boyle’s ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ which won eight Oscars. With the help of loyal supporters such as Nair, Mehta, Salman Rushdie, Madhur Jaffrey, Shabana Azmi, Padma Lakshmi, Shashi Tharoor, the Indian Consulate, and the late Ismail Merchant, the IAAC Film Festival has been able to bring cinema from one of the world’s most vibrant film industries to audiences across New York City.
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