Atlanta, GA, Dec. 5, 2006 Atlanta's first annual
Indo-American Film Festival (AIAFF) organized by the Indo-American
Film Society (IAFS), as well as IMAGE (Independent Media Artists
of Georgia, Etc.), the Indo-American Arts Council, and the social
entertainment network, Kaneva Inc., was held November 10-14, 2006
across Georgia State University, Georgia Institute of Technology,
and Emory University.
The opening night commenced with an invitation-only reception where
AIAFF Director Ani Agnihotri officially inaugurated the film festival,
and introduced noted filmmaker Nagesh Kukunoor and director Aditya
Bhattacharya. Both renowned film personalities have just released
their latest Bollywood offerings, Dor and Dubai
Return, respectively, and were screening the movies for
the first time in Atlanta.
(L-R): Raktim Sen (Organizing Committee), Judy
IMAGE), filmmaker Nagesh Kukunoor and Ani Agnihotri (Director,
Several stood in the aisles of Georgia State University's Cinefest
Theatre to watch Dor, filmed by Kukunoor, a former
Atlanta resident and Georgia Tech graduate. Unfortunately, blurred
projection did away with the beautiful imagery Nagesh had envisioned.
Despite this shortcoming at the venue, audiences stayed to view
the movie to the end, rising only for a standing ovation.
Scene from Dubai Return
The next evening, director Aditya Bhattacharya personally presented
his feature length comedy, Dubai Return, the story
of an ex-goon out to regain his lost glory in Mumbai's dense and
colorful underworld. Dubai Return is a bittersweet
tale about lovable losers, identity crises, dashed hopes, and many
misfired bullets with an extraordinary cast of gullible gangsters,
bad cops, and melancholy movie stars.
IAFS also partnered with Kaneva to host an online short film contest,
accepting submissions from filmmakers the world over, the central
theme being Indian culture or topics related to the Non-Resident
Indian. Chris Klaus, founder of Kaneva, was present at one screening
of short films to address the audience. He hailed the first year
of the contest as a "remarkable success."
The short films were available online for user voting and were
also judged by a jury of film experts. The judges included Linda
Burns, Atlanta-based award winning commercial producer and independent
film maker; Deepti Naval, a New York artist highly achieved in everything
from poetry to filmmaking; Shonali Bose, filmmaker and writer who
has received high accolades for her work; and Anurag Kashyap, an
incredibly successful Indian screenwriter.
Like all inaugural ventures, the organizing committee faced some
challenges but pulled off a great set of screenings to ensure a
good start for future efforts. The five-day festival showcased 35
films and attracted a modest audience in its first year. Organizers
assured the event would be more firmed up and 2-3 times bigger next
IAFS, based in Atlanta, is already gearing up for the 2007 Atlanta
Indo-American Film Festival and plans to host this event on an annual
basis. To learn more visit www.iafs.us.