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NOVEMBER 5-9, 2008


October 1, 2008 -- The Eighth Mahindra Indo-American Arts Council (MIAAC) Film Festival opens on November 5 at Jazz at Lincoln Center with Deepa Mehta’s HEAVEN ON EARTH, a bold film using Indian mythology underpinnings that soar into modern magical realism to examine the inner world of an Indian immigrant to Canada. The five-day festival will screen New York and US premieres of independent Indian and Diaspora films at the Museum of Arts and Design, Jazz at Lincoln Center and Tribeca Cinemas.

“The juxtapositional uptown – downtown presentation of the festival is reflected in the programming by our new Festival Director, L. Somi Roy,” said Aroon Shivdasani, Executive Director of the Indo-American Arts Council. “From classic films to emerging forms to global cinema by filmmakers of Indian origin in the UK, US and Canada and regional Indian cinema in Malayalam, Punjabi, Marathi and Bengali, the 8th MIAAC Film Festival offers a wide range of films from established and emerging filmmakers.”

The festival features premieres of fiction and non-fiction films by internationally renowned Indian filmmakers such as Adoor Gopalakrishnan’s interlinked stories in FOUR WOMEN; and Ketan Mehta’s COLOURS OF PASSION, on Raja Ravi Varma, the Indian artist who dared to paint and mass-market his paintings of Hindu gods and goddesses. Young filmmakers like Richie Mehta, whose touching debut feature AMAL looks at the value of modern India; and Manu Rewal, whose black comedy LOVE BRIBES ETC. reveals the harrowing workings of the Indian bureaucracy, show the new face of Indian and Diaspora cinema.

The veteran director Shyam Benegal is represented by his epic BOSE: THE FORGOTTEN HERO. The dramatic biography of the Indian nationalist leader who took up arms and allied with the Axis Powers, provides a counterpoint to T.C. McLuhan’s THE FRONTIER GANDHI: BADSHAH KHAN, A TORCH OF PEACE, a documentary that tells the extraordinary story of a leader who was born into the inconceivable violence of Pashtun warrior society but adopted the non-violent struggle of Gandhi. Revisiting history takes a new British turn in the festival with MOTHER INDIA 21st CENTURY REMIX, a media performance based on the great Indian epic Mother India by the London arts group Kala Phool, featuring live musicians and DJ Tigerstyle; and British Asian composer Nitin Sawhney’s new score for Franz Osten’s ravishing 1929 silent classic A THROW OF DICE and performed by the London Symphony Orchestra. The British Asian contribution also includes Shamim Sarif’s I CAN’T THINK STRAIGHT, a tender romantic comedy about a British Asian woman and Palestinian-Jordanian woman in London, and 60x60, a video installation of 1-minute films at Aicon Gallery by 20 artists each from the UK, India and Pakistan.

A special selection of films examines the genre of Indian films known popularly as Bollywood, with documentaries on background dancers (Vinay Chowdhry’s PERSONALITY), the art of music composition (Brahmanand Singh’s PANCHAM UNMIXED on R.D. Burman, the great Indian composer) and the making of an action film (Liz Mermin’s SHOT IN BOMBAY). A retrospective section featuring Ketan Anand’s CHETAN ANAND: THE POETICS OF FILM, which surveys the work of his father, will be accompanied by a rare archival screening of the latter’s LOWLY CITY, the first Indian film to be shown (and to win the Grand Prix) at Cannes in 1946, and the first film with a score by Ravi Shankar.

The 8th MIAAC Film Festival also features special panels organized by the Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP) and New York Women in Film and Television (NYWIFT). An additional panel called SHOOTING IN INDIA is designed for US filmmakers interested in producing in India.

The festival’s centerpiece, SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, is the latest film by Danny Boyle, the acclaimed director of 28 Days, Trainspotting and other films. This Dickensian dazzler, winner of the Audience Award at the 2008 Toronto Film Festival, is about a young man from the slums of Bombay whose earnings on the Hindi version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire? begin to mount to unsettling and gigantic proportions. The festival will close with LITTLE ZIZOU, award-winning screenwriter Sooni Taraporevala's directorial debut, presented by her long-time collaborator Mira Nair. Religious bigots and reformers clash in this funny satire set in the Fellini-esque world of India's educated, eccentric, miniscule Parsi community.

For tickets (on sale October 15) and a full list of films at this year's festival, visit


About the Indo-American Arts Council
The Indo-American Arts Council is a registered not-for-profit arts organization passionately dedicated to showcasing, building awareness, and celebrating artists of Indian origin in the performing, visual and literary arts. Annual festivals of art, dance, playwrighting and film are scheduled through the year, with several special events and book launches. For further information please visit www.iaac.us.

The IAAC Film Festival was born in the aftermath of 9/11 in response to Mayor Giuliani’s call to New Yorkers to help rebuild a limping city. The First Annual film Festival opened its doors with Film Diaspora Godfather Ismail Merchant and closed with New York’s favorite Indian filmmaker Mira Nair. Three years ago, Mahindra & Mahindra joined forces with the IAAC Film Festival by becoming the lead sponsor, changing the name of the festival to The MIAAC Film Festival. For further information please visit www.iaac.us.

For art, trailers, and interviews with festival staff, filmmakers and cast, please contact :

Jenny Lawhorn / jennylawhorn@fatdot.net

Charlene Caronan / charlenecaronan@fatdot.net

Fat Dot

T: 212.691.4224

For immediate release

Peepul PR
Gayatri Hingorani / Srimoyi Bhattacharya
gayatri@mypeepul.com / sri@mypeepul.com
High resolution pictures are available upon request 

Mahindra Indo-American Arts Council announces MIAAC 2008: Eighth Annual Film Festival of Indian Independent and Diaspora Films

* L. Somi Roy appointed as Festival Director

* MIAAC Film Festival to be held from November 5-9, 2008 at the NYC

New York, NY [March 25th, 2008]: The Mahindra Indo-American Arts Council (MIAAC) is proud to announce MIAAC 2008 - the premiere festival of innovative and independent Indian and Diaspora films in the U.S. The Eighth annual festival will be held from November 5-9, 2008. The MIAAC Film Festival is the premiere South Asian Film Festival in the U.S. Somi Roy has been appointed as Festival Director and will act as chief programmer of the Festival. Bringing 2 decades of film programming experience, he will play a critical curatorial and ambassadorial role for the Festival by building inroads and awareness in the international film and cultural community.
The Festival’s mission is to provide filmmakers with unique platforms to expand audiences for their works and to broaden access points for the general public to experience the power of Indian independent and Diaspora film. With a solid lineup of filmmakers and actors this 5 day festival includes film screenings, discussions, special events, and galas for both opening and closing nights.

Somi has curated film and media exhibitions for The Asia Society, the Museum of Modern Art, the Film Society of Lincoln Center, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the National Gallery of Art, the Smithsonian Institution, and for Public Television. “I look forward to working closely with the MIAAC team to build on their past successes and to increase the outreach and appreciation of Indian cinema. Together, we can shape an exciting future for the MIAAC Film Festival’s new initiatives,” says Somi.

Talking about the appointment of Somi Roy, Aroon Shivdasani, Executive Director, Indo-American Arts Council, says “Having helped shape the Festival at its inception, Somi brings a shared passion and an understanding of our core values. He will be the artistic voice of the Festival’s film programming and will continue to shape the creative aspects of the Festival as it grows. He will work to increase our presence in the international film community.”

The MIAAC Film Festival is currently accepting submissions. The deadline for all submissions is July 15, 2008. Films may be submitted in either of the following two categories:

  • Diaspora Films: Films made by filmmakers of South Asian origin living in the U.S.; or projects by non-South Asians with South Asian content, cast or crew.
  • Independent Films: Projects from the Indian Subcontinent with a unique voice/message and considered Independent by the industry.

The First Annual IAAC Film Festival held in 2001 was heralded by the godfather of Indian Diaspora films, the late Ismail Merchant and the Merchant-Ivory team. Hailed as "innovative, bold, and daring" the IAAC Film Festival was the first Indian film festival to take place in New York City, appearing on the scene right in the aftermath of 9/11, and introducing New Yorkers to films and artists from South Asia they may never have seen before. Over the years the Festival has featured films by leading Indian filmmakers like Mira Nair, Ismail Merchant, Deepa Mehta, Gurinder Chaddha, Nagesh Kukunoor as well as other upcoming filmmakers such as Shonali Bose, Nisha Ganatra, Smriti Mundhra and Ali Kazimi. Films premiered at the MIAAC Film Festival have been showcased at various Film Festivals including Tribeca, Berlin, Rotterdam, Cannes, IFFLA, Directors' Fortnight and India Now at MOMA, Mumbai International Film Festival, IFP Market and many more. For more information, please visit www.iaac.us

About The Indo-American Arts Council (IAAC)
The Indo-American Arts Council (IAAC) is a 501(c) 3 not-for-profit arts organization dedicated to promoting, showcasing and building an awareness of Indian artists in the performing, literary, visual, and folk arts. Founded in 1998, its focus is to help artists and art organizations in North America as well as to facilitate artists from India to exhibit, perform and produce their work here. The IAAC also supports all the artistic disciplines in classical, fusion, folk, and innovative forms influenced by the arts of India, working cooperatively with individuals and organizations around the United States to broaden collective audiences and to create a network for shared information, resources, and funding.

The IAAC is committed to building an awareness of Indian artistic disciplines in North America, and does so through a wide, variety of activities and events, including their successful and acclaimed annual Film Festival. For further information, please visit www.iaac.us

About the Mahindra Group:
The $4.5 billion Mahindra Group is among the top 10 industrial houses in India. Mahindra & Mahindra is the only Indian company among the top four tractor manufacturers in the world and is the market leader in multi-utility vehicles in India. The Group has a leading presence in key sectors of the Indian economy, including trade and financial services (Mahindra Intertrade, Mahindra & Mahindra Financial Services Ltd.), automotive components, information technology & telecom (Tech Mahindra, Bristlecone), and infrastructure development (Mahindra GESCO, Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India Ltd., Mahindra World City). The Group employs over 40,000 people and has several state-of-the-art facilities in India and overseas. The Mahindra Group has ambitious global aspirations and has a presence in five continents. Forbes has ranked the Mahindra Group in its Top 200 list of the World’s Most Reputable Companies and in the Top 10 list of Most Reputable Indian companies. For further information, please visit www.mahindra.com


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