Fifth Annual IAAC Film Festival


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Honorees 2005



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FIFTH ANNUAL IAAC FILM FESTIVAL: Indian Independent & Diaspora Films
- November 2-6, 2005.
MTV Desi Visits the IAAC Film Festival
Friday, December 02, 2005 21:33 EST

The fifth annual Indo-American Arts Council's Film Festival took place from November 2nd to the 6th in New York City. MTV Desi was there to catch all the action on film. Watch our Special Movie Edition this week hosted by Desi starlet, Pooja Kumar. In the mean time, check out some of the films that caught our eye.

Jeet, 2005 Director: Dr. Lavlin Thadani Jeet links illiteracy, social degradation and 'Witch Branding' as it reveals how caste hegemony, assertion by women, dependence on Ojhas and rejection of sexual advances lead to this horrifying practice against women. The film is a journey of Prakash who, against all odds, is determined to expose the reality behind 'With Branding' and emphasizes the power of education to fight against this cruelty.

Water, 2004 Director/Screenwriter: Deepa Mehta Set in 1938 Colonial India, against Mahatma Gandhi's rise to power, the story begins when eight-year-old Chuyia is widowed and sent to a home where Hindu Windows must live in penitence. Chuyia's feisty presence affects the lives of the other residents, including a young widow, who falls for a Gandhian idealist.

Waterborne, 2005 Director/Screenwriter: Ben Rekhi Waterborne addresses what used to be a hypothetical situation -- a highly populated urban center under terrorist attack. Contaminated water thrusts Los Angeles into turmoil. With vital resources at a premium, how far will one go to survive or to help loved ones? A kinetic approach weaves this film's three separate story threads into a web of current issues that mirror modern society.

Amu, 2005 Director/Screenwriter/Producer: Shonali Bose Kajoria, a 21-year-old Indian-American woman, has lived in the US since the age of three. While visiting India after graduation she tours the slums, markets and roadside cafés of Delhi where she experiences a feeling of déjà vu. Slowly Kaju begins to piece together the story of her birth parents and confronts her adoptive mother only discover she has been living a lie.

India Spiceland, 2005 Director/Screenwriter/Producer: Rahul Das Maneesh is finding it hard adjusting to life in America. Tiffany, his white girlfriend, is sympathetic. Against his apprehensions, she takes him to an Indian grocery store. Once inside, Maneesh is overwhelmed by the nostalgic settings. He tries to share with Tiffany his past but finds her incapable of fully relating to his experiences. As their cultural differences become apparent in walks Savitri, the beautiful daughter of the storeowner. Drawn by the ideal image of Indian beauty, Maneesh makes an excuse to Tiffany and approaches Savitri. Alternately comedic and introspective, India Spiceland is about love and cultural identity in a foreign land.

Lunch on the Run, 2005 Directed by Simone Ahuja Every day without fail, the dubbawallas run a daily marathon through a labyrinth that is the streets of Bombay to deliver 200,000 home-cooked meals to offices all over the city. Even in blistering heat or during the monsoons, the dubbawallas deliver on-time, every time. They don't use barcodes or scanners, but keep track of each lunchbox (called a tiffin or dubba) using symbols to designate the destination and the bearer of each meal.

My Fathers Eyes, 2004 Director/Screenwriter: Lisa Fotedar Miller My Father's Eyes is a short about a young, mixed-race American woman who meets her Asian-Indian father for the first time in her life. Set in contemporary New York, My Father's eyes begins as we join Om and Linda making their final preparations before meeting each other in beautiful For Tryon Park in New York City.

Raisins Not Virgins, 2005 Director: Labid Aziz This is a short film that brings to light crucial issues for Muslim-Americans and other minorities in this time of tremendous political and racial turmoil. It is a film which begs to question people's notion of entitlement, their identity and what it means to experience Jihad.

Finding Preet, 2005 Director: Andrian Fulle Priti Malani is a 34-year old Indian-American physician and restaurant owner searching for "preet" -- love in Hindi. Her traditional Indian parents find dates for her on the "Indian Internet Matrimonial" sites and her over zealous girlfriends persuade her to join an expensive dating service. She goes to extremes to find love when it may be where she least expects it.

Dastar, 2005 Director: Kevin Lee Every day, members of the Sikh-American community struggle to overcome the hatred, fear and intolerance they face from fellow Americans due to an essential symbol of the Sikh faith: the dastaar, or turban with terrorism, and how the Sikh community makes efforts to counter these sentiments.

Sita Sings the Blues, 2005 Producer: Nina Paley Combining the ancient Indian epic Ramayana, the 1920's blues vocals of Annette Hanshaw, and classically informed but modern animation. The 6 musical segments completed thus far have been edited into this "Mini Sitayana." With music, humor, and a range of animation techniques, Sita Sings the Blues aims to show how the genius of the Ramayana transcends societies and generations, and is as relevant today as it was 3,000 years ago.

The Goodbye Man Producer/Director: Mridu Chandra Imran Butt is a young Pakistani office worker caught in a soul crushing, dead end job at an international service center in Lahore. Having reached the end of his rope, Imran makes the drastic but seemingly logical decision to take control of his life once and for all -- by ending it. Unfortunately for Imran, he discovers that he is no more equipped at ending his life than he is at living it.


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