17th Indian Film Festival Stuttgart (IFFS) from July 15 – 19, 2020 ONLINE
A Five-Day Trip to India for 4.99 EUR
The online edition of the 17th Indian Film Festival Stuttgart dares to take an in-depth look into the psyche of a divided society. From July 15 to 19, Europe’s largest festival of Indian film invites audiences to visit new Indian cinema online. With a Festival Pass for 4.99 EUR, recent feature, short, and documentary films can be viewed at home for five days. Advance sale of the well-priced Festival Pass starts at the beginning of July on the Festival homepage. Due to the corona pandemic, in early March Festival organiser Filmbüro Baden- Württemberg made the decision to take this cultural event online this year.
The Race for the Coveted Film Award ‘German Star of India’
The Online Festival starts with an Opening film, too: On Wednesday, July 15 from 03:00 to 11:59 pm, the entertaining feature film’ Eeb Allay Ooo!’ by Prateek Vats will be made available to Festival Pass holders for streaming. From Thursday, July 16 at 00:01 am until Sunday, July 19 at 11:59 pm, the full Festival Programme will be available for online viewing. The winning films are scheduled to be announced on Sunday, July 18 at 08:00 pm.
This year, the visually stunning and multi-award-winning drama ‘Jallikatu’ by Lijo Jose Pellissery about mankind’s beastly greed for pleasure will enter the race for the coveted ‘German Star of India’ film award along with the delightful satire ‘Eeb Allay Ooo!’ by Prateek Vats, where a professional monkey defence service imitates the sounds of langur-monkeys so as to scare off the cheeky rhesus monkeys. Many Indians worship monkeys as a reincarnation of the monkey god Hanuman. They reverentially feed them, which makes the monkeys more and more cocky.
Further contestants are the award-winning feature film ‘Kumbalangi Nights’ by Madhu C. Narayanan, a representative of the new, progressive and realistic Malayalam cinema, as well as the powerful and highly emotional feature film ‘Uyare’ by Manu Ashokan about a young woman who became the victim of an acid attack; traumatised, she still fulfils her dream of becoming a pilot.
In ‘A Holy Conspiracy’ by Saibal Mitra, a dispute of faith is raging in a courtroom, having flared up at a Christian missionary school in the small town of Hillolgunj. It is about the biblical story of creation, Darwin’s theory of evolution, and an ancient Vedic text that the Hindi government wants to anchor in the curriculum of the Christian mission school.
The feature film jury includes German director and producer Frieder Schlaich, Indian filmmaker and LGBTQI+ activist Onir, and Céline Loop, producer of last year’s winning film ‘Chippa’.
Is electrity a social right or a commodity?
The online edition of the Indian Film Festival Stuttgart also presents Anandana Kapur’s documentary about people in India stealing electricity by illegally acquiring connections or just not paying their bills. The film explores whether electricity is a social right or a commodity. Quite different is the documentary ‘Patrick Goes to Bollywood’, where filmmaker Patrick Ranz from Munich is trying to find a job in the Indian film business in front of the camera.
Audience Favourite Geetanjali Thapa Returns to the Festival Screen
In the short film category, audiences have a clever mix of highly topical issues to look forward to. One of them is the controversial citizenship law passed by the Modi government, defining the criteria for immigration to India and accused of discriminating against Muslims. ‘Frayed Lines’ by Priya Belliappa with actress Geetanjali Thapa, an IFFS 2018 audience favourite, is set on a coffee plantation in Kodagu where migrant worker Tabu finds a job after a 2000-mile odyssey. Like many people in India, Tabu has no birth certificate. According to the new law, there is no more space for her among the 1.4 billion people of India. The film by director Priya Belliappa wonders what is going on in the land of thousand languages and cultures.
The short film programme also includes the 26-minute film ‘Wig’ by Atanu Mukherjee which takes audiences to the world of the Hijras, India’s third gender. In Mumbai, the paths of a single working woman and a transsexual sex worker cross. The film deals with prejudices against unmarried women who focus on their careers as well as a minority in the shadow of Indian mainstream. Pooja Gupte, a lecturer of the ‘Making of Indian Cinema’ master class at the16th IFFS in 2019, is the cinematographer of this short film which is directed by her husband Atanu Mukherjee. The film is presented in cooperation with Christopher Street Day Stuttgart.
A Cinematic Tribute to Boxer Tom Molineaux
Short film ‘The Bare Knuckle Gentlemen’ by Nishad Chaughule is about racism in boxing. It is a cinematic homage to the freed African American slave Tom Molineaux who became a celebrated professional boxer. Molineaux lived in London in the first half of the 19th century but was not inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame until 1997.
Tarun Wadhwa’s ‘3rd Stanza’ observes the dynamics of modern relationships.
‘Apna Apna Andaz’ by Avishkar Bhardwaj describes the exciting hunt for the thieves of a cinema ticket stolen from a young film fan.
‘Don Jagatala Kavi’ by Swapnil Vasant presents a poet living in two worlds. A classic father-son conflict: Rapa wants to write poetry but must work on his father’s farm.
Anui Rawra’s ‘Doorbeen Binocular’ accompanies two street children in their struggle for happiness.
‘Gulabi Lens – La Vie En Rose’ by Saurabh Wakankar shows how a newly married couple discovers true love in their one-room house in Mumbai.
Star producer Shaan Vyas has directed the short film ‘Natkhat’ with Vidya P. Balan in the lead role, one of the Top Ten most popular Bollywood actresses in 2006. She plays a mother who teaches her son a valuable lesson against misogyny and patriarchy.
Tenth Anniversary of the ‘Short Takes’ Film Competition
The Festival programme also presents the three winning films of the 10th Short Takes competition in cooperation with pocket films. This year, winners cannot fly to Germany due to the pandemics. The three winning films are: ‘Noor’ by Kiran Nagdev (first prize), ‘Nazariya’ by Rishil (second prize), and ‘Saturday Nights’ by Shivadarshan Sable (third prize).
In addition, Saameer Modi of pocket films has curated a section of five films for the Stuttgart short film programme, true to the motto ‘a glimmer of hope’.
‘Good Morning Mumbai’ and ‘Tea Talks’
The supporting programme also breaks new ground in the Festival’s online edition: ‘Fridays for Future’ activists from Mumbai, Delhi, and Stuttgart have their say in a ‘Tea Talk’. Popular Indian cinematographer Paramvir Singh, a lecturer of our new ‘Making of Indian Cinema’ series last year, will regularly report from our Festival Studio in Mumbai.
In further ‘Tea Talks’, Indians document how they experience the corona pandemics at home, using the cameras of their mobile phones. They all praise the initiative of Filmbüro Baden-Württemberg, because an online edition of the Festival offers a way out of the cultural sector’s worldwide frozen state. Thanks to the Film Festival in Stuttgart, Indian films can be seen by audiences around the world.
An Virtual Cinema with Box Office, Shop, and Screen
For the first time, the website www.indisches-filmfestival.de will turn into a cinema for audiences worldwide, with a foyer where a well-priced Festival Pass can be bought for 4.99 EUR (all inclusive) and a shop selling products such as Indian puppets or Festival bags. Here, visitors to the site can also view free clips of the supporting programme. The centre of the Online Festival is the website’s digital cinema screen, where Festival Pass holders, using codes, can watch any of the available films anywhere, and whenever they like.
“The Online Festival was created with a lot of passion. Audiences have a special, virtual cinema experience to look forward to, at an extremely favourable price and with an informative and entertaining supporting programme”, promises Festival Director Oliver Mahn.
To visit the Festival and for programme information please go to: www.indisches-filmfestival.de