Highly Anticipated New York Indian Film Festival 2021 Begins


New York Indian Film Festival 2021
The Kick Off of New York Indian Film Festival 2021

With the Hollywood push for diversity in film in recent years, there are several organziations making their mark.


A New York-based film festival may offer inspiration for its industry peers in answering calls for greater diversity and cultural representation in Hollywood. The New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF), North America’s oldest and most prestigious film festival which features cinema from India, and the Indian Diaspora, began Friday, June 2021. The festival highlights some the top independent filmmakers in the world.


Presented by the Indo-American Arts Council, Inc. (IAAC), and powered by MovieSaints, NYIFF celebrates the 21st year of independent, art house, alternate cinema from India and brings this rich collection of films to audiences in the U.S. and North America. Some films will also stream globally. Also, 24-hour online support will be provided by MovieSaints to ensure audiences across three continents have a seamless experience throughout the duration of the festival.

“Last year, we had to reimagine the film festival in a virtual format, and it involved pivoting to an online platform. We emerged stronger with a larger footprint as global audiences engaged with the films,” said Suman Gollamudi, IAAC Executive Director. “This year, with the pandemic creating even more distress, we feel a greater responsibility to provide filmmakers an outlet to showcase their work. Plus, offer audiences hope through cinematic stories that give meaning, form and shape to lift our emotions.”


Presented virtually for the second year in a row, the festival will feature 58 screenings (23 narrative features, 8 documentary features and 27 short films). The lineup will include worldwide, globally outside of India, the U.S. and NY premieres. Screenings will be followed by post-screening discussions with the filmmakers and acclaimed and celebrated personalities from the film industry.


“We aimed to truly underscore the NYIFF commitment to diversity and cultural representation in film,” said Aseem Chhabra, NYIFF Festival Director. “This year, we will feature films in 15 languages spoken in India: Assamese, Bengali, English, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu. All films will have English subtitles.”

“NYIFF’s mission is to provide filmmakers, actors and industry professionals a platform to showcase their work, as well as foster an environment where filmmakers exchange ideas and interact with discerning and diverse audiences, journalists and aficionados,” Chhabra added.

Films screened at NYIFF 2020 went out to win six National Awards, the most prominent film awards ceremony in India. This year, at NYIFF 2021, we are delighted to bring to you the following films that won National Awards:


  • Khisa for “Best Debut Non-Feature Film of a Director”

  • Sonsi for “Best Cinematography Non-Feature Film”

  • Biryaani which received “Special Mention”


Many of the films being shown at the festival have won accolades at leading international film festivals. Nasir won the NETPAC Award at the Rotterdam International Film Festival and Sthalpuran won the Young Cinema Award at the Asian Pacific Screen Awards. Apart from these, we are proud to present to our audience, films that have played at Berlinale, Sundance Film Festival, Busan International Film Festival and Rotterdam International Film Festival, among others.

“For the first time, the 2021 lineup truly reflects the incredible diversity of Indian cinematic creativity,” said Dr. Nirmal Mattoo, Chairman IAAC. “This standout collection of films introduces new voices, fresh perspectives and original storytelling, which enhances the NYIFF curatorial legacy of spotlighting movies that go on to receive critical global acclaim.”

“In addition, we will be unveiling a newly designed award in 2021,” continued Mattoo. “Conceived and created by IAAC Board Member and sculptor, Raj Shahani, this iconic award will epitomize the excellence that NYIFF seeks to foster with its annual awards presentation.”


Each of these films along with the complete collection of NYIFF-recognized titles will be available for viewing starting June 4, 2021, at nyiff.us and nyiff.moviesaints.com. The cost to view each film ranges from US$4.99 for feature films (narrative and documentaries) and US$0.99 for shorts. Audiences outside the U.S., excluding India, can pay in their local currencies. In India, the cost will be Rs.150 for features and shorts starting at Rs. 50. There are also discount packages available.



New York Indian Film Festival 2021
NYIFF 2021 Highlights Diversity in Film


Feature Narratives


  • Awakash (Marathi), dir. Chittaranjan Giri, 77 mins, 2020

  • Biryaani (Malayalam), dir. Sajin Baabu, 96 mins, 2020

  • Blue Bird (Kannada), dir. Ganesh Hegde, 106 mins, 2020

  • Fire in the Mountains (Hindi), dir. Ajitpal Singh, 82 mins, 2020

  • First Night (Tamil), dir. Jack Prabhu, Santoshh KK, 106 mins, 2020

  • Freddie’s Piano (English), dir. Aakash Prabhakar, Sudharshan Narayanan, 110 mins, 2020

  • God on the Balcony (Assamese), dir. Biswajeet Bora, 89 mins, 2020

  • Habaddi (Marathi), dir. Nachiket Samant, 110 mins, 2020

  • House of Orange Trees (Malayalam), dir. Dr. Biju Damodaran, 110 mins, 2020

  • June (Marathi), dir. Vaibhav Khisti, Suhrud Godbole, 94 mins, 2020

  • Mail (Telugu), dir. Uday Gurrala, 116 mins, 2020

  • Nasir (Tamil), dir. Arun Karthick, 78 mins, 2019

  • Nazarband (Captive) (Hindi), dir. Suman Mukhopadhyay, 85 mins, 2020

  • Parallel Lines (Kayamai Kadakka) (Tamil), dir. Kiran R, 104 mins, 2020

  • Parcel (Bengali), dir. Indrasis Acharya, 123 mins, 2020

  • Pinki Elli? (Where’s Pinki?) (Kannada), dir. Prithvi Konanur, 108 mins, 2020

  • Searching for Happiness (Bengali) dir. Suman Ghosh, 63 mins, 2021

  • Songs for Rain (Boroxun) (Assamese), dir. Krrishna Kt. Borah, 86 mins, 2020

  • Sthalpuran (Marathi), dir. Akshay Indikar, 85 mins, 2020

  • The Chicken Curry (Koli Taal) (Kannada), dir. Abhilash Shetty, 84 mins, 2020

  • The Tenant (English, Hindi), dir. Sushrat Jain, 112 mins, 2020

  • The Knot (Uljhan) (Hindi), dir. Ashish Pant, 113 mins, 2020

  • Zollywood (Marathi), dir. Trushant Ingle, 95 mins, 2019


Feature Documentaries


  • Ahimsa Gandhi: The Power of the Powerless (English), dir. Ramesh Sharma, 92 mins, 2020

  • Borderlands (Punjabi, Bengali, Nepali, Manipuri), dir. Samarth Mahajan, 67 mins, 2021

  • Ghar Ka Pata (Home Address) (English, Hindi, Kashmiri), dir. Madhulika Jalali, 67 mins, 2020

  • Shut Up Sona (English, Hindi, Oriya), dir. Deepti Gupta, 85 mins. 2019

  • Talking Head (English, Bengali), dir. Spandan Banerjee, 94 mins, 2021

  • The Music of Satyajit Ray (English, Bengali), dir. Utpalendu Chakrabarty, 51 mins, 1984

  • The Space Between the Notes (English, Hindi), dir. Sumantra Ghosal, 52 mins, 2018

  • WOMB: Women of my Billions dir. Ajitesh Sharma (English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu), 103 mins, 2021


Short Narratives


  • Adhura (Unfinished) (Hindi), dir. Arjun Lal, 19 mins, 2020

  • Annual Day (Salana Jalsa) (Marathi), dir. Pratik Thakare, 30 mins, 2020

  • Appa’s Seasons (Tamil), dir. Radhika Prasidhha, 22 mins, 2020

  • B. Selvi & Daughters (Tamil), dir. Drishya, 25 mins, 2020

  • Checking Out (English), dir. Vick Krishna, 15 mins, 2020

  • Happy Birthday (Hindi), dir. Ajay Kishore Shaw, 20 mins, 2020

  • Khayali Pulao (Hindi), dir. Tarun Dudeja, 26 mins, 2020

  • Khisa (Pocket) (Marathi), dir. Raj Pritam More, 16 mins, 2020

  • Kurma (English, Hindi), dir. Ramsee Chand, 18 mins, 2020

  • Laali (Hindi), dir. Abhiroop Basu, 30 mins, 2020

  • Loose Long Shirt (English), dir. Mitali Joshi, 6 mins, 2020

  • My Brother (Mera Bhai) (Hindi), dir. Shreela Agarwal, 22 mins, 2020

  • Naap (Hindi), dir. Harshit Acharya, 18 mins, 2020

  • Now That We’ve Met (English), dir. Nitya Turaga, 5 mins, 2020

  • Pilibhit (Hindi), dir. Ashutosh Chaturvedi, Pankaj Mavchi, 23 mins, 2020

  • Pinni (Kannada), dir. Bhuvan Sathya, 20 mins, 2020

  • Sonsi (Shadow Bird) (Hindi) dir. Savita Singh, 26 mins, 2020

  • Sunday (Hindi), dir. Arun Fulara, 10 mins, 2020

  • Tasher Ghawr (English), dir. Sudipto Roy, 47 mins, 2020

  • The Miniaturist of Junagarh (Hindi, Urdu), dir. Kaushal Oza, 29 mins, 2020

  • Untouchability (Theetu) (Tamil), dir. Haresh Narayanan, 7 mins, 2020

  • Vulture (Xogun) (Assamese), dir. Utpal Borpujari, 16 mins, 2020


Short Documentaries


  • At the Altar of India’s Freedom – INA Veterans in Malaysia (English) dir. Choodie Shivaram, 30 mins, 2018

  • Baluji (English), dir. Cécile Embleton, 22 mins, 2020

  • Seva (English), dir. Rippin Sindher, 16 mins, 2019

  • The Hero Within (Hindi), dir. Stanley Hector, 7 mins, 2021

  • What’s Your Story? (English), dir. O.P. Srivastava, 51 mins, 2020


Best Film


  • Fire in the Mountains

  • June

  • Nasir

  • Pinki Eli?/ Where is Pinki?

  • Sthalpuran


Best Director


  • Ajit Pal Singh ( Fire in the Mountains )

  • Akshay Indikar ( Sthalpuran )

  • Arun Karthik ( Nasir )

  • Krishna Kt. Borah ( Songs for the Rain )

  • Suman Mukhopadhaya ( Nazarband )


Best Screenplay


  • Biryaani

  • Mail

  • Pinki Eli?/ Where is Pinki?

  • The Chicken Curry/ Koli Taal

  • The Knot/ Uljhan


Best Actor


  • Deep Jyoti Kalita ( Songs for the Rain )

  • Harish Khanna ( God on the Balcony )

  • Siddharth Menon ( June )

  • Tanmay Dhanania ( Nazarband )

  • Vikas Kumar ( The Knot/ Uljhan )


Best Actress


  • Akshatha Pandavapura ( Pinki Eli?/ Where is Pinki? )

  • Ashwini Giri ( Awakash )

  • Indira Tiwari ( Nazarband )

  • Kani Kusruti ( Biryanni )

  • Vinamrata Rai ( Fire in the Mountain )


Best Child Actor


  • Aman S. Karkera ( Blue Bird )

  • Karan Dave ( Habaddi )

  • Neel Deshmukh ( Sthalpuran )

  • Porinandhi Jima Sultana ( God on the Balcony )

  • Rudraksh Jaiswal ( The Tenant )


Best Short (Narrative)


  • Annual Day

  • B. Selvi & Daughters

  • Tasher Ghawr

  • Sonsi

  • Sunday

  • The Miniaturist of Junagardh


Best Short (Documentary)


  • Baluji

  • Seva

  • The Hero Within


Best Documentary


  • Ahimsa

  • WOMB: Women of my Billion

  • The Space Between the Notes

  • Shut Up Sona

  • Talking Head


This year’s nominations were chosen by a prestigious panel of filmmakers and will be judged by artists and media professionals. The winners will be announced as part of the closing event on June 13, 2021.


About The New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF):

NYIFF is the oldest, most prestigious film festival screening premieres of feature, documentary and short films made from, of, and about India in the independent, art house, alternate and diaspora genres. Ten days of screenings, post-screening discussions, industry panels, award ceremonies, special events, nightly networking parties, red carpet galas, media attention and packed audiences build an awareness of Indian cinema, entertain and educate North Americans about the real India, and add to the amazing cultural diversity of New York City. For more information, please visit the website at nyiff.us and at nyiff.moviesaints.com.


About Indo-American Arts Council (IAAC):

The IAAC supports all the artistic disciplines in classical, fusion, folk and innovative forms influenced by the arts of India. We work cooperatively with colleagues around the U.S. to broaden our collective audiences and to create a network for shared information, resources and funding. Our 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 is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. All donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowable by law. For information, please visit www.iaac.us.


About MovieSaints:

MovieSaints is a comprehensive technology service provider for indie filmmakers and festivals. For indie films it offers solutions like secured global releases, a fundraising platform, secure storage and screener delivery services, etc. For festivals and film clubs it offers a customized, global virtual venue to host all sorts of film related events. Its Integrated Technology Suite includes secured streaming with foolproof piracy tracking, zone blocking for simultaneous online and offline releases, educational and corporate screenings, live Q&As, flexible pricing in over 100 countries, etc. For more information, please visit https://www.moviesaints.com.


Contact Details

Indo-American Arts Council

Suman Gollamudi

suman.gn@iaac.us


Indo-American Arts Council

Media Contact

admin@iaac.us


Company Website

https://www.nyiff.us/


Photo credit: NYIFF