Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles to open with Ajitpal Singh's Fire in the Mountains

The list of this virtual film festival includes the best in regional cinema

Sharmistha Ghosal Published :  16th April 2021 12:00 AM   |   Published :   |  16th April 2021 12:00 AM

A still from Fire In The Mountains

The Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) announced today its full line-up of narrative and documentary features, and shorts for the festival’s 9th edition, which will be held virtually and geo-blocked to California, on May 20-27.

The festival boasts an impressive total of 40 films, including 3 World, 8 North American, 5 US and 17 Los Angeles premieres, spanning 17 languages, with 16 women directors. 

IFFLA will open with the Los Angeles premiere of the powerful female-centric film, Fire in the Mountains, the 2021 Sundance-selected debut feature by Ajitpal Singh that immerses audiences in the splendour of the Himalayan mountains. 

The closing film on May 27 will feature a screening of Sthalpuran (Chronicle of Space) by Akshay Indikar, the Marathi film that premiered at Berlinale 2020 and has captured the hearts of audiences at festivals around the world for its breathtaking minimalist exploration of the inner life of its protagonist, a young boy named Dighu.  

film still
Poster of Sthalpuran

“This is a very special year for IFFLA. Taking the festival online has given us the freedom to curate programs we would not have been able to present in a physical setting. We have expanded our reach to all California residents, doubled the shorts program with a strong representation of films from the diaspora, added special programs like Childhood on Edge, and curated discussions on timely and pressing topics, celebrating the independent film community from India and the Indian diaspora,” said Christina Marouda, Executive Director. 

IFFLA’s feature line-up includes a vast array of highlights from an extraordinary 13 regions in India, including the prestigious Rotterdam Tiger Award-winning Tamil-language film Pebbles, a debut film from director PS Vinothraj; debut filmmaker Thamizh’s Seththumaan about the caste politics of food culture in rural Tamil Nadu; IFFLA alum Bhaskar Hazarika’s romance-thriller Aamis (Ravening); the powerful Bengali ensemble film Debris of Desire; and National Award-winning filmmaker Farida Pacha’s disarmingly intimate documentary Watch Over Me.

Banner of the festival

This year’s selection features stories highlighting exceptional, memorable female characters, including the 2020 Berlinale selected drama Laila Aur Satt Geet (The Shepherdess and The Seven Songs), the Malayalam-language story Biriyaani, and the Film Bazaar Goes to Cannes selected thriller Uljhan (The Knot).

The festival also features a strong line-up of films directed by women,  including the 2020 Student Academy Award winner and 2021 Academy Award shortlisted film, Bittu by Karishma Dube; the 2020 Venice Biennale selected Anita by Sushma Khadepaun; 2021 Rotterdam selection Letter From Your Far-Off Country by Suneil Sanzgiri; and the world premieres of American Anomie by Shahriar Azim, and Last Night In Vegas by J. Nicholas Meese.