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It's a wrap! Highlights from IIFF Tampa 2012

A comical journey through modern Goa, the myth about the birthplace of Buddha, falling in love with Seeta in New York City, all while sitting in the comfort of a theatre in Channelside, Tampa.


This is the unique and colorful voyage that attendees of the 3rd Annual India International Film Festival of Tampa enjoyed during the three day event. An estimated 3,000 people came out to Channelside Cinemas to experience the festival, free cultural show and tasty food.

Filmmakers who attended the festival are raving that IIFF Tampa is one of the best South Asian Film Festivals in the world. This year, twelve films held their world premieres here at IIFF Tampa. This event offers high quality films to our audience, and packed theatres to our filmmakers. In addition, the question and answer sessions with the directors and producers added even more flavor for moviegoers and the artists alike.

Deepti Naval talks to audience

The opening night kicked of with a red carpet gala for the film, “Love, Wrinkle-Free,” which received great reviews from both Indian and non-Indian attendees, alike. The light-hearted comedy based in Goa, India captured the essence of the unique region, while exploring the ideals of aging and romance, with a little adventure. Director Sandeep Mohan and Producer/Actor Giju John were both thrilled with the turnout and the reaction to their film. Mohan described the event as, “a wonderful film festival with a heart and soul.”

Sandeep Mohan, Deepti Naval and Giju John

The crowds poured in to welcome Director Deepti Naval as she showcased our Centerpiece Feature, “Do Paise Ki Dhoop, Char Aane Ki Baarish.” Her directorial debut comes decades after the legendary actress established herself in the Bollywood industry before going independent. Naval was among the distinguished guests who flew in from India for the event, and we were proud to welcome her with a sold out theatre. During the question and answer session, many attendees were Tweeting and Facebooking one of the famous quotes from the film, “Never look for someone who completes you, but for someone who treasures your incompleteness.” Our festival was certainly complete, thanks to Naval’s support for the event and her fellow filmmakers.

[caption id="attachment_1318" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="Deepti Naval after her film screening"][/caption]

One of the gems of IIFF Tampa is our ability to highlight local, upcoming directors through our short films segment. Among the success stories lies “The Coffee” by Hemant Dinkar, who attended the film festival last year and was inspired to make his first short film. In addition, local filmmaker Monica Bassi premiered her second short film "Uncoupled", and Anjani Pandey of St Petersburg premiered his film "Nu Me". This year we went a step further in our efforts to help aspiring filmmakers, by hosting our first Film School before the festival.

[caption id="attachment_1323" align="aligncenter" width="224" caption="Chandra Pemmaraju returns to IIFF"][/caption]

Our closing night feature, “Love, Lies and Seeta” also highlighted local talent. One of the main actors, Arjun Gupta, is from Tampa. The Director, Chandra Pemmaraju, attended all three days of the festival and said he enjoyed the warm welcome from the festival’s participants and networking with other’s in the industry.

[caption id="attachment_1325" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Festival Goers survey the films"][/caption]

Now more than ever, our festival proves that we have more to offer with great locations and a community that welcomes culture and diversity. This year, we attracted a wide range of Bay area residents by offering discounted Groupons for festival passes, so that anyone could afford to attend. In addition, we created our first APP, which allowed attendees to enjoy an interactive experience at the festival by checking out the event schedule, uploading photos and purchasing tickets, all in the palm of their hands. IIFF Tampa continues to grow. This year, we received great international, national and local press coverage on every level including television, radio, magazines and newspapers. Next year, we hope to bring distributors to the festival in an effort to help budding filmmakers bring their works of art to the big screen, so stay tuned!

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