Filmmaker Awards Announced at Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles

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The 2022 Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) has announced the winners of its annual filmmaker awards, with Aditya Vikram Sengupta’s “Once Upon a Time in Calcutta” winning the grand jury prize for feature film. Anmol Sidhu’s “Jaggi” was the recipient of the Uma da Cunha Award for feature film debut, as well as the audience choice award for feature.

“This year’s edition of the film festival was wonderful in so many ways,” said IFFLA executive director Christina Marouda. “The excitement felt by the reunion of so many of our filmmakers, patrons, and film fans back in the theaters was something we all shared. The months and weeks leading to the festival, we weren’t sure whether people would show up after a three-year break from an in-person festival. We were overwhelmed to see everyone coming back, eager to reconnect with the community and the IFFLA family, watch films and celebrate our 20th anniversary. We walk away from this year’s festival feeling energized and filled with gratitude.”

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The IFFLA aims to bring innovative independent films from India and the Indian diaspora to the Los Angeles audience. The festival showcases features and shorts, including narrative, documentary and animated works.

“Once Upon a Time in Calcutta” won the jury award for its “sprawling, operatic depiction of broken people desperate to connect, and its poetic mastery of cinematic craft,” according to a jury statement. The feature films jury included Lakshmi Iyengar, Smriti Mundhra and Jonathan Wysocki. Irfana Majumdar’s “Shankar’s Fairies” received an honorable mention for the category.

This year’s festival added the Uma da Cunha Award to salute her contributions as an IFFLA adviser and founding member and the inaugural recipient, “Jaggi,” was saluted for its deft handling of sexual and gender-related topics.

In the short film category, the grand jury prize went to Amrita Bagchi’s “Succulent.” Also receiving a grand jury prize for short was Salar Pashtoonyar’s “Bad Omen,” which won in the Spotlight on South Asia category. The short films jury comprises Geetika Lizardi, Sid Mehra and Carey Williams. Honorable mentions in the short film category went to Megha Ramaswamy’s “Lalanna’s Song” and Akanksha Cruczynski’s “Close Ties to Home Country.”

The audience choice award for short was given to by Vaishali Naik’s “7 Star Dinosor Entertainment.”

The 20th anniversary edition, which returned to an in-person event, ran from April 28-May 1 at the Regal L.A. Live.

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