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The Examiner - India International Film Festival Finds its Groove

“It’s actually smooth sailing, except for the part that we had to move locations this year,” says smiling IIFF executive director Francis (Frankie) Vayalumkal.  The venue may have changed yet the essence of the India International Film Festival is still quite present. And apparently going off without a hitch.

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Year 4 is currently underway, and can be found at the Muvico in Centro Ybor this time around, after the fest’s former home, theaters at Channelside, closed down last year. But as Frankie alludes to, being forced to set up shop in a new area may have been a welcomed obstacle.

“Ybor is the cultural capital for Tampa,” he says. “And mixing in another culture to an already diverse community here, we are excited about that.”

The growing festival is also pleased with 2013’s film submissions, as they will screen 22 of them that came in from all over the world. Frankie also cited a record number of the filmmakers are venturing over to Tampa, just to be a part of this year’s cinematic engagement.

Last night’s opening went as smooth as any fest could hope for. Listen…Amaya was the curtain-jerker, and played to a packed theater house. A variety of films, encompassing just about every genre one can think of, resume playing today at 1 p.m. Plus, live performances that showcase the spirit of Indian culture will be on display in the courtyard throughout the festival that wraps up Sunday evening.

And of course, as with any film fest, there will be nightly parties after all the film screenings have concluded.

Prior to last night’s opening film, Frankie briefly addressed attendees stating how the festival would cease to exist if the entire Tampa community was not behind them. And that statement rang true as Gasparilla International Film Festival president Joe Restaino and Sunscreen Film Festival executive director Tony Armer, were both on hand to show their support for their independent film fest neighbor.

He also revealed the true motivation behind IIFF…

“Film can make impact for more than the time you are watching and being entertained. They can really be a medium for cultural exchange and a way to get to know people around the world.”

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