Sindhi’s have a saying “Panj, Guru ja ganj” – translated to mean this fifth festival could take us into our zillionth success in the coming years! Our annual IAAC film festivals have earned a recognized place in the festival circuit as a discerning, supportive, fun festival screening stellar, quality films. South Asian Independent and diaspora filmmakers have a platform to showcase their work to diverse ethnic as well as mainstream industry, media and film audiences. This fifth annual IAAC film festival is proving to be the most exciting ever!
Last year we honoured four of our leading lights: Mira Nair, Shabana Azmi, Salman Rushdie and the late Ismail Merchant – this year we are thrilled to add Deepa Mehta, Madhur Jaffrey and Shashi Tharoor to our honour roll! All these fabulous, fascinating artists are members of the IAAC Advisory Board and are committed, generous supporters of the Indo-American Arts Council and its mission to promote, showcase and build an awareness of Indian artists and artistic disciplines (performing, visual and literary arts) in North America. Their uncompromising support humbles, delights and simultaneously enables us to showcase emerging talent to diverse audiences – helping establish the presence of Indian filmmakers among their peers in the USA.
Our festival celebrates diversity, quality, fun. Every film has a moderated post-screening discussion with the filmmaker & cast followed by a Q&A with the audience. Scouts, distributors, industry professionals and media are encouraged to attend the screenings and mingle with the filmmakers, casts and public. There is an unmatched energy at the Anthology Film Archives during our festival.
We open our festival to the last of Deepa Mehta’s trilogy – “Water”: set in India, but filmed in Sri Lanka - racked by controversy from day 1 of shooting the film…dealing with an intrinsically Indian agenda. We close with Smriti Mundhra’s “Waterborne” : set in America, dealing with Indian-American as well as American issues. The features, shorts and documentaries in-between are exciting, stimulating and as varied as the above two films are from each other.
Early this year we lost a friend, an artist and a member of our Advisory Board – Ismail Merchant. On November 3, at 8 pm we will screen Ismail’s “Cotton Mary” starring our mutual friend Madhur Jaffrey at the Anthology Film Archives. During the post-screening discussion Madhur will discuss both the film, as well as her relationship with Ismail. Tonight we will pay tribute to Ismail with silence for one minute.
Last year I announced our determination to get to the next level in organization. A “reality-check” tells me we will continue working 24/7 out of pure passion until our own community, corporate America, the larger arts community and the “powers that be” handing out government funds, recognize our value enough to support us financially and allow us to grow. Paid staff and core funding is a basic need. Help us move in that direction. Tonight is our Annual Gala Benefit. Your tax deductible contributions via auction bids, straight pledges or just adopting us in general will greatly help our mission to continue showcasing and promoting exciting new talent in each of the performing, visual and literary arts.
Thank you for your support.
Warm regards, Aroon