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Khaas Baat - What to Watch at IIFF Tampa

INDIA International Film Festival of Tampa Bay FEB. 15-17 IN CENTRO YBOR

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The fourth Annual India International Film Festival of Tampa Bay (IIFF) is around the corner. And that leads film-goers right into the historic Ybor City district. The festival is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 15, to Sunday, Feb. 17. For the first time, it will be held at the Muvico Centro Ybor. IIFF will include films on a plethora of topics ranging from a documentary about Down syndrome to films about terrorism, patriotism, finding yourself in relationships and losing yourself in spiritual bliss. The schedule, featuring 22 movies of which 14 will be world premieres, will be in English, Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Nepali and Kashmiri.

The festival is an initiative of the INDO-US Chamber of Commerce and this year’s presenting sponsor is Drs. Kiran and Pallavi Patel Foundation for Global Understanding along with Freedom Health.

IIFF will kick off with a red-carpet opening reception at 6:30 p.m. on Friday with filmmakers and other VIPs in attendance. Opening night feature, “Listen..Amaya” is a directorial debut by Avinash Kumar Singh and Geeta Singh (both will be in attendance). The film brings one of bollywood’s most loved onscreen pair from the 1980s, Farooque Shaikh and Deepti Naval back together after more than 25 years. “Listen..Amaya” is a modern, young, contemporary film about relationships, family dynamics, pre-conceptions and priorities. The opening night festivities include a red-carpet reception, film screening, Q&A with the filmmakers, dinner and an after party.

Deepti Naval attended the film festival last year.  Last year, Naval was a chief guest at IIFF and her directorial debut was shown. The second and third day of the festival starts at 1 p.m. with film screenings in two theaters simultaneously. Historic Ybor city will be treated with vibrant Indian cultural performances in the Centro Ybor courtyard from 3 to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The performances are free and open the public.

Adults and children alike will enjoy the film “Gattu” about an illiterate street boy who has only one ambition – to fly kites and reign supreme in the blue skies. He will turn around everything in his small world to string his dream together. With neither money nor education on this side, he sets out for his goal.

Other films include “Valley of Saints” – a captivating Kashmiri film with international accolades shot in the war-torn, beautiful Kashmir; “Highway” – a Nepali film set against the backdrop of the new culture of bandhs (general strikes) that frequently immobilize post-conflict Nepal, exploring relationship stories that become intertwined on an ill-fated bus journey; “Paanch Adhyaay” – a Bengali film starring Dia Mirza and Priyanshu Chatterjee, a story of love found and lost in the lives of a contemporary Indian couple, told in moments past and present.

Also featured is a documentary film, “Yoga Is: a Transformational Journey” along with a yoga demonstration open to public at 11 a.m. Sunday in the Centro Ybor courtyard. A complete list of films and schedule is available at

The IIFF after-party will be from 11 p.m. Saturday at Jackson’s Bistro in Harbour Island.

The festival provides the Tampa Bay community an opportunity for increased awareness of the Indian culture through films. It will also be a unique opportunity for attendees to watch independent films and interact with filmmakers.

Indian cultural performances will be presented in the Centro Ybor courtyard.

Individual movie tickets are $10; the festival pass, which includes entry into every film screening, and all events of the festival (excluding Saturday night party), is $75 (to attend just the opening night, cost is $50, which includes dinner and cocktails); a one-day pass that allows admission into all films and on-site events for Saturday or Sunday is $25; a two-day pass is $40. Film passes are available at, and at the door

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