The 2016 New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF), presented by New York City’s nonprofit Indo-American Arts Council (IAAC), has officially begun! From May 7th to 14th, the film festival will showcase several films at the Village East Cinema (on 2nd Ave, between E. 11th St. and E. 12th St.), with opening and closing films taking place at the NYU Skirball Center for Performing Arts.

Expansion is at the heart of this year’s festival: NYIFF has expanded its territory, along with its program selections! Bardroy Barretto’s “Nachom-ia Kumpasar” (Lets Dance to the Rhythm) opens the festival, while Hansal Mehta’s “Aligarh” is set to close the festival. Both films have been nominated at India’s National Film Awards. Additionally, “Aligarh” closed the 2nd Annual Dallas-Fort Worth South Asian Film Festival earlier this year.

These films have significance to their scheduled viewings. The spirit of Baretto’s film—a romance film that celebrates Goan music of the 1960s through the 1970s, launches the festival with excitement and high energy. Just as Mehta’s closing film will conclude with another style of affect. That is, the tense realities between sexual orientation and professional life—a situation explained by the story of Dr. Shrinivas Ramchandra Siras. “Aligarh” is a film that exposes the social issues within traditional Eastern culture.

Umesh Vinayak Kulkarni’s “Highway,” the festival’s centerpiece film, is another that explores society, but with specific attention to diversity and soul-searching identity on the Mumbai Pune Expressway. “Highway” premieres on Tuesday, May 10th at 6:30PM.

Together, these films provide a voice for the communities within the South Asian diaspora. The NYIFF offers an event program with a range of themes that promote art house and independent films that focus on the South Asian subcontinent and culture, with the hopes of leading North America to discover young talent and a fresh perspective. These films also provide the greater opportunity to discuss the following topics: animation, regional languages, shootings in New York City and the New York state, and LGBT issues. This year, the festival celebrates with more themes, content, and languages within the program selection. As further development creates growth and excitement for the festival, we see the greater opportunity for storytelling and understanding from various South Asian communities’ perspectives unfold in the United States.

Tickets for all films are $15 general admission and $12 for IAAC members. Festival passes are $250 general admission and $200 for IAAC members – this includes all regular screenings and special events, centerpiece and closing night screenings, and parties. For a full schedule, please click here.

By: Valerie McPhail

Instagram & Twitter: @valerieamcphail

Valerie is a recent New York City gal. She moved to the city after graduating college from Mount St. Mary’s University, where she found her passion for fashion. Since then, Valerie has been published online, in newspaper print, and you can read her work in our 2016 Bibi Bridal Annual.

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