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Press / Media > Press Coverage > TBO headline, "The third annual festival promises an exhilarating lineup of films"

TBO headline, "The third annual festival promises an exhilarating lineup of films"

Tampa, FL- Mention Indian films, and the first thing that comes to mind is Bollywood, an industry that produces the largest number of films in the world. But there's much more to India's film industry than Bollywood.

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The India International Film Festival, which kicks off at Channelside today, will introduce movie enthusiasts to some of the new voices that have emerged from within Bollywood, and some of the independent productions coming from regional India and beyond."It's important for the rest of the community to learn about the Indian community and vice-versa," says Francis Vayalumkal, the film festival's founder. "The perfect way to do this is through film, particularly in independent films. This goes beyond Bollywood and gives you a more realistic view of India and its culture."

The film festival will screen about 30 independent films, documentaries and shorts made by filmmakers of Indian origin or based on Indian culture. The films' topics include romance, the Occupy Wall Street movement, arranged marriages, homosexuality and music. The fest also includes opening and closing receptions and cultural entertainment.

Films are in languages including Hindi, Tamil, Bengali, Malayalam and Gujarati with subtitles, and English.

The festival, organized by the Indo-U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Tampa, also aims to promote the area as a venue for filmmakers and attract producers, says Vayalumkal.

The festival's opening film is "Love, Wrinkle-Free," a lighthearted comedy about love going beyond cosmetic barriers.

Other films to be shown over the weekend include:

  • "A Little Revolution — Story of Suicides and Dreams" (2:30 p.m. Saturday), a documentary that follows the journey of filmmaker Harpreet Kaur as she travels from the rural villages of Punjab to the capital of India with children of farmers who've committed suicide. She confronts government officials about policies and avails a chance to help the children.
  • The dark underworld of rooster fighting is revealed through the eyes of director Vetri Maaran in "Aadukalam (The Arena)" (noon Saturday). The film won six national awards at the 58th National Film Awards in India, including Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Actor winner Tamil Feature.
  • "Everywhere and Nowhere" (9:15 Saturday), a drama set in London's fast-paced club land, tells the story of friends torn apart by their choices.
  • Deepti Naval, an actress from India who has starred in more than 70 films, will attend this year's festival and screen her film "Do Paise Ki Dhoop, Chaar Aane Ki Baarish" (Two Pennies for Sunshine and Four Cents for Rain), a film that received rave reviews during its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival.
  • The festival closes Sunday with the independent "Love, Lies and Seeta" (7 p.m. Sunday), a comedy about three guys who fall in love with the same girl. The film stars Arjun Gupta, an actor of Indian descent who grew up in Palm Harbor and attended Berkeley Preparatory School in Tampa. The 25-year-old graduate of New York University currently stars in Showtime's "Nurse Jackie."

Gupta says the festival is an important way to expand cultural horizons.

"I think it's important to challenge preconceived thoughts and encourage the Tampa community to learn more about a segment of their community," he says. "This is a cultural exchange and everybody benefits from that as we become more global."

And, he says, Indian cinema has much to offer.

"So many different types of films and stories are being made … and there are so many actors starring in the films, even white actors," he adds.

With such a good mix of films in this year's lineup, Vayalumkal hopes the festival will appeal to an even broader audience.

"We have never looked at it as an event for the Indian community only, we look at it more as an event where everyone is welcome … to celebrate good cinema. We really encourage people to come with their friends and families."

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