New York Indian Film Festival 2015

May 4 - 9, 2015

Opening Night Film

Opening Night Film: Shonali Bose's Margarita with a Straw!
Winner of the Sundance-Mahindra Global Filmmaker award for the best screenplay at the Sundance Film Festival*

Monday, May 4, 2015, 6:00 pm, at the Paris Theatre, 4 West 58th Street, New York City.

NYIFF OPENING NIGHT SCREENING: Shonali Bose's Margarita With A Straw

Directed by Shonali Bose,
India 2014, 100 Minutes, Hindi/English with English subtitles
PRINCIPAL CAST- Kalki Koechlin, Revathy, Sayani Gupta, William Moseley.
SECONDARY CAST- Hussain Dalal, Tenzin Dalha, Kuljeet Singh, Malhar Khushu.
There will be a post-screening discussion with Director Shonali Bose, Co-Director Nilesh Maniyar, Lead Actor Kalki Koechlin and actor Sayani Gupta.

LOG LINE: 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.

Synopsis: In this inspirational love story, a middle class Indian teenager born with cerebral palsy (Dev.D, That Girl in Yellow Boots) is determined to have a relationship. Unusual only because it's so rarely seen on screen, Margarita, with a Straw is an exceptional portrait of a woman discovering what she wants, and how to get it.

Laila (Kalki Koechlin) is a student, crafting lyrics and electronic sounds for an indie band at her Delhi University. Her cerebral palsy doesn't much get in the way of her life, although it sometimes does for others. When Laila's band wins a local contest, the condescending host says to her, "It must have been so hard for you. Can you share something with us?" Laila shares her middle finger.

Always seeking more freedom and new experience, Laila wins a place at New York University and leaves India with her mother (Revathy) for Manhattan. There she meets a fiery activist, Khanum (Sayani Gupta), who challenges her beliefs and sparks her creativity. For these two women, it's the beginning of a remarkable love story.

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 - here gives a performance full of both precision and heart. And 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.

About the Director:
Shonali-BoseShonali Bose (Director / Writer / Producer) Shonali Bose did an MA in Political Science at Columbia University followed by an MFA in Directing from the UCLA Film School. As a student at UCLA she received a number of top awards. After graduating she taught at NYFA, Universal Studios for a year. Then she was accepted in Film Independent’s Project Involve as she started raising funds for her debut feature - Amu.

Based on the 1984 genocide against Sikhs, Amu, written, produced and directed by Bose won two National Awards (Best Film, Best Director) – India’s highest award given by the President of the country and the FIPRESCI Critics Award amongst ten international awards. The film was an official selection at the Berlin Film Festival, followed by Toronto (TIFF) and many others. She was asked by Penguin Publishers to convert the screenplay into a novel. The book, authored by her, released on the same day as the film – a first for an Indian writer.

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. The film had it’s world premier at the Toronto Film Festival where it won the NETPAC Jury Award for Best Asian Film. It has gone on to many other important festivals (such as London BFI, Busan, Brisbane) where it’s received standing ovations. It won the Best Actress Award for Kalki at the Talinn Black Nights Film Festival and was selected as Best of the Fest out of 192 films at the Palm Springs film Festival. It has already sold to several countries for theatrical release including US, Canada, Spain, Japan, South Korea. It will have a big theatrical release all over India by a major studio, Viacom 18 Motion Pictures, in early 2015.

Sundance-Mahindra Global Filmmaker Award - Sundance Film Festival, 2012 (for screenplay)
NETPAC Jury Award for Best Asian Film - Toronto Film Festival, 2014
Best Actress Award: Kalki Koechlin - Talinn Black Nights Film Festival, 2014
Audience Award Runner Up and Best of the Fest - Palm Springs Film Festival, 2014

Screening Tickets: Red carpet, cocktail party, film screening, post-screening discussion.
$100 general admission; $75 IAAC members.
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Gala Benefit Dinner Tickets: Red carpet, cocktail party, film screening, post-screening discussion, Gala Benefit Dinner.
$500 general admission; $380 IAAC members.
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