Tag Archives: Rima Das

Kabir Khan, Imtiaz Ali, Onir and Rima Das come together to showcase diversity

The Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM) announced today that four of India’s most popular and prolific film makers will work with selected Victorian filmmaking teams to mentor and then shoot short films on the themes of Race, Disability , Sexuality and Gender. The shorts will be compiled into one film entitled ‘My Melbourne ‘which will premiere at IFFM 2021 before travelling on the international film circuit. The four film makers are Kabir Khan, Rima Das, Onir and Imtiaz Ali.

IFFM Festival Director Mitu Bhowmick Lange said, “This exciting initiative gives Victorian screen practitioners a once in a lifetime opportunity to work with some of the world’s best film makers and also develop relationships with them. I am delighted and thrilled that IFFM has secured four of India’s most diverse voices of independent cinema for these workshops and the creation of four short films on the core values of IFFM – diversity and inclusivity.”

The Festival is now calling for authentic migrant experience story ideas. Each of the four selected teams will be assigned a budget to create an original script, striving for creativity, originality and pure storytelling. Kabir Khan, Imtiaz Ali, Rima Das and Onir will workshop and develop the selected stories and oversee pre-production with the teams via zoom.  Once travel restrictions are lifted, the four filmmakers will travel to Melbourne to shoot the films.

Rima Das said, “It’s an honour to receive this invitation.  It’s essential for filmmakers to examine the world around them from the prism of its socio-political context. The short film will allow us to bring in authentic lived-in stories that often get lost in popular culture.”

Kabir Khan says, “Celebration of our diversity is a dialogue that should be fostered in current times. In the post-pandemic world, being one with each other in a community should be the single most important takeaway. The virus has shown us the futility of everything else. I am excited at the opportunity presented by IFFM and looking forward to the experience.”

Imtiaz Ali adds, “The last few months have been full of life lessons for all of us. Viewing stories of identity in the context of the diverse society that we are all a part of is quintessential for us to chart our path ahead. I am looking forward to meeting a new set of people and understanding their life stories for the screen.”

Onir said, “The role of a filmmaker I believe is to trigger a dialogue. The world we are living in calls for fresh discussions on inclusivity and diversity to reiterate strong value systems for our audiences. I am glad for the opportunity and hope it’s a step in the right direction.”

2020 Indian Film Festival of Melbourne goes ahead rescheduling to October 30th to November 7th

This month the festival kickstarts a brand-new virtual event, the IFFM FILM CLUB featuring some of the finest filmmakers in India, discussing their films.

The Indian Film Festival of Melbourne today announced that this year’s festival will go ahead with dates rescheduled from August to late 2020 due to the ongoing COVID -19 pandemic. IFFM 2020’s program will be devised in line with public health guidance with plans for a compact schedule taking place over a week from October 30 to November 7. The festival is retaining the Short Film Competition and the popular dance competition (to be held on October 31, pending easing of restrictions) but the much anticipated IFFM Awards Gala will be postponed till 2021. More details of festival highlights will be announced shortly.

An exciting new innovation to the festival this year, in response to current challenges and opportunities, is the IFFM Film Club where fans of Indian movies can enroll for a virtual master class with leading filmmakers discussing their works in detail. This exciting new event is facilitated by noted journalist Rajeev Masand. Functioning like a book club, the festival asks participants to watch a classic film, and they then have an opportunity to discuss the film at the virtual film club with the filmmaker. The virtual talks are open for registration to festival-goers and accommodate 100 early bird users.

Previously, the festival has hosted master classes with acclaimed filmmakers including Raju Hirani, Rani Mukherjee, Karan Johar, Rima Das, Zoya Akhtar, Onir, Vijay Sethupathi , Nag Ashwin , Kabir Khan, and many others. With the launch of this year’s Film Club, IFFM continues to celebrate the spirit of diversity through cinema.

IFFM Festival Director Mitu Bhowmick Lange said, “This is a uniquely intimate way for film lovers to stay engaged, entertained and educated while at home in these unprecedented times. We already have a strong line up of filmmakers from various parts of India. Well-known film journalist Rajeev Masand will moderate the session as he opens the film and its maker to a world of questions from curious fans.”

Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley said: “Social distancing doesn’t mean social disconnection and through the screen, we can continue to be inspired by stories and perspectives from across the globe. I applaud the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne team for its commitment to continuing to bring the IFFM spirit to film lovers and for pivoting to a new model for 2020 in response to these challenging times.”

In 2019 the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne celebrated its tenth anniversary. In February this year pre-COVID, IFFM hosted an event in Mumbai where Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan awarded the four-year scholarship named after him to Gopika Kottantharayil Bhasi from Thrissur (Kerala), as a part of the festival’s long association with Melbourne’s La Trobe University. Now faced with restrictions and new opportunities the IFFM the team is working hard to develop new exciting elements to the year’s festival while ensuring the safety of festival attendees.

Assamese film Village Rockstars is India’s official entry to the Oscars 2019

National Award winning Assamese feature, Village Rockstars is India’s official submission for the Best Foreign Language category at the Oscars.

The award-winning film will be released on 28th September 2018 in Assam through Kamakhya Films and in metros cities through VKAAO, a joint venture of PVR Pictures and Bookmyshow

The director-cinematographer-editor-producer Rima Das says, “I have been waiting for this day and praying! Luckily, I got this news in my village at Chhayagaon, Assam (I arrived last night) I am glad that I am with my family and the cast of the film. Otherwise, a news like this, if you are alone in some far off land, could put you off the balance! Although I have been jumping around uncontrollably and creating all sorts of a nuisance.  I still can’t believe that our film is India’s Oscar entry. I am pinching myself, screaming shouting with joy”

She adds, “We are totally overwhelmed by the announcement that Village Rockstars is India’s official entry to Oscar this year. I am so grateful to the selection committee for believing in our film”

Village Rockstars is the story of Dhunu, a girl who grows up in poverty and learns to fend for herself. However, that does not prevent her from following her dream of forming a rock band and owning a guitar someday. Most of the cast members of the film are non-actors including Rima Das’ niece Bhanita who plays Dhunu and the other kids who hail from Das’ native village in Assam.

The film which had it’s World Premiere at Toronto International Film Festival and India Premiere at Mumbai Film Festival 2018 has screened in more than 70 prestigious international and national film festivals and won 44 awards including 4 National Awards (Best Feature, Best Editing, Audiography and Child Artist)

It was an official selection at Film Bazaar Recommends (at NFDC Film Bazaar 2016), 2017 Marche du Film (Cannes) Work-In-Progress, San Sebastian International Film Festival 2017

The selection committee of the Film Federation of India, one of the country’s major trade bodies, announced the decision on Saturday after watching 29 entries. The 12-member committee was headed by Kannada producer and director Rajendra Babu, and held its deliberations in Mumbai.

29 films including Raazi, Padmaavat, Hichki, October, Love Sonia, Gulabjaam, Mahanati, Pihu, Kadvi Hawa, Bhogda, Revaa, Bioscopewala, Manto, 102 Not out, Padman, Bhayanakam, Ajji, Nude, Gali Guliiyan were submitted as nominations.

Until now only three films have made it till the last round and were, as a result, nominated in the foreign language film category – Mehboob Khan’s Mother India (1957), Mira Nair’s Salaam Bombay! (1988), and Ashutosh Gowariker’s Lagaan (2001).

The 91st Academy Awards is scheduled to be held on February 24, 2019.

Long Synopsis

Dhunu a 10 years old girl lives in a remote village in Assam, India amidst raging deprivation. She is a free spirit and her mother, a widower, who struggles daily to bring food to the table and raise her children. However, that does not prevent her from having unrealistic dreams like owning a guitar for her tiny band of village Rockstars boys. Dhunu is a girl who considers herself as capable as boys her age. She and the gangs of boys want to form a rock band. But later the boys slowly stop perusing their dream, whereas Dhunu continues dreaming to own a guitar. Her faith becomes strong when she reads about the law of attraction in a newspaper article. Her unconventional and nonconformist mother raises her with steadfast determination, giving her full freedom of expression and encouraging her to fulfill her dreams. After her father’s death, her mother taking all the responsibilities realizes that it is important that a girl should be qualified herself.

But beyond the poverty of her living, attacks nature’s fury as her village is flooded and worse than that: the societal restrictions that assail her from the day she reaches puberty. Can Dhunu achieve her simple dream or will she, like hundreds of millions of girls in her situation across the world, have to give up on it!

Rima Das’ next Assamese feature, BULBUL CAN SING to make its World Premiere at 43rd TIFF

After winning hearts with the internationally acclaimed and National Award Winner film, Village Rockstars, the writer-director-producer, Rima Das returns to the prestigious, Toronto International Film Festival with her next Assamese film, BULBUL CAN SING.

Das’ third independent feature in Assamese language will make its World Premiere in “Contemporary World Cinema” at 43rd edition of Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) held from 6-16 September 2018.

The writer-director-producer made the film independently, in the same way as her earlier film, Village Rockstars. Sharing her joy, Rima says, “Its a huge honour to return to TIFF after Village Rockstars and start the journey of my next feature, Bulbul Can Sing, which will have its world premiere in the competition category – Contemporary World Cinema. It’s like the homecoming for me.”

Bulbul Can Sing is a visceral coming-of-age drama about a teenage girl, Bulbul, living in a village in Assam, fighting her way through love and loss as she figures out who she really is.

Rima Das debut film as a writer-director-producer, Man with Binoculars (Antardrishti) premiered at Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival 2016. Village Rockstars, her second feature, premiered at Toronto International Film Festival 2017 under Discovery Section. The film has screened at more than 70 renowned film festivals and has won 44 awards including 4 National Awards (Best Feature, Best Editing, Audiography and Child Artist).