Birmingham Indian Film Festival

Birmingham Indian Film Festival

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Posted 2023-10-26 by dpmfollow

Thu 26 Oct 2023 - Fri 03 Nov 2023


This year’s Birmingham Indian Film Festival is promising to be the biggest and best yet with a host of internationally renowned movies from crime megahits and spy thrillers through to horror flicks and British Asian short films.

The festival is also breaking new ground with a showcase of British Asian virtual and augmented reality films and games, television drama and a series of Midlands premieres. With venues across Birmingham and the Black Country, including new partner The Light Cinema in Walsall, the ten-day festival is also hoping to reach new audiences – bringing the best of South Asian film to their local communities.



Forming part of a UK-wide festival taking place across six cities, the Birmingham events also feature after-show discussions and guest appearances from top directors and actors. “We want to showcase the best of South Asian films and talent, both British and from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, that’s really our aim,” says festival executive and programming director Cary Rajinder Sawhney. “The festival is leading the way in terms of creativity and innovation. You know you’re going to get world-class films when you come to BIFF. We’re a bunch of passionate film makers and we make sure we are always picking films we believe in.”

This year’s BIFF launches with spy thriller Berlin created by writer, director and producer Atul Sabharwal and starring Aparshakti Khurana and Ishwak Singh. “This is one of the best films of the year, it should be in the Oscars,” says Cary. “An innocent sign language teacher is forced to interrogate a deaf suspected spy and it comes out that the innocent-looking deaf person is not as innocent as you think he was. It’s a very clever film and is spinning the idea of how disability can sometimes be an advantage. We have a BSL signed Q&A afterwards which should be really interesting.”

Other highlights include Runs In the Family in which Ace Bhatti and Gabe Gabriel appear as father and transgender son taking a road trip across South Africa and Kandukondain Kandukondain (I Have Found It) inspired by Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility.

Go Goa Gone sees a group of students meeting zombies on the beach, Privacy takes us into the dark world of police surveillance and Joram features Manoj Bajpayee as a father prepared to do anything to protect his family.

The festival revives The Fly (Eega), a 2012 film directed by SS Rajamouli who this year won the Oscar for Best Original Song for the film RRR. Based on a true story, Leesa Gazi’s Barir Naam Shahana(A House Named Shahana) tells the story of a young woman who leaves a brutal marriage in Scotland to return to Bangladesh. And audiences can also enjoy the first three episodes of ZEE5’s romantic drama The Pink Shirt.

The BIFF gala closing ceremony features the thriller Kennedy by director Anurag Kashyap. “This film has lots of famous stars who people will want to see like Sunny Leone and Rahul Bhat,” says Cary. “Rahul Bhat plays a homicidal cop who had to disappear because he keeps killing people but the force keep him on as a hitman - but it soon turns out that he’s bumping off innocent people as well! It’s slightly Tarantinesque and not too serious. It will be something for the student audience.”



Taking place between October 26 and November 3 at venues including Midlands Arts Centre, The Mockingbird Cinema, Cineworld in Broad Street, Birmingham City University’s STEAMhouse, Eastside Projects and The Light Cinema in Walsall, the festival continues to grow and include new strands. “This year we’re diversifying our programme so we have our first virtual reality event in Birmingham,” Cary says. “As far as we know, this will be the UK’s first focus on South Asian VR so that is ground-breaking stuff. We’re looking at XR which is virtual reality and augmented reality so honouring Birmingham’s British Asian storytellers.”

The free event, in partnership with STEAMhouse, features a panel of dynamic XR creators including Birmingham’s Taran 3D and Harmeet Chagger-Khan who will share and discuss excerpts of their work.

Cary explains: “It's a debate around what we can do for the future with local practitioners discussing what the possibilities are for that. What we are trying to do is connect Birmingham with initiatives that are happening elsewhere such as VR days in Europe. We can make really good connections with other parts of Europe through creativity and new technologies and that’s really exciting for Birmingham.”

The festival also showcases British Asian short films and aims to encourage aspiring film makers to discover more. “We celebrate British and Birmingham film making as well as some great Q&As after those films where people can find out from the short film makers what it’s like, their trials and tribulations and their successes. If you want to make a film in the future or find out more about British Asian film making, then definitely check that out because for young film makers this is an opportunity to meet other film makers and network - which is key to making your first film.”

For Cary, Birmingham is a key city for the festival. “Birmingham has one of the largest South Asian communities in the UK and we try to show films that serve the different communities in Birmingham so that might be Bangladeshis, Gujaratis, Punjabis and Bengalis. And you don’t have to be Asian to love these films. All the films are English subtitled and there is pretty much something for everybody. We show films that are entertaining but make you think.”

For more information and to book tickets see here. For BSL, check online when booking.

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267294 - 2023-10-26 11:04:55

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