The ongoing pandemic has caused a lot of events to be postponed, canceled or suspended, as the prospect of hosting any event which would attract crowds is almost impossible at the moment. There have been a number of high-profile events which have suffered as a result, with the world of films being one of the worst-hit. With cinemas being closed, there has been a huge fall in revenue for cinema-owners, along with movie producers who have not been able to release their productions, and have had to turn to releasing them on online streaming services in some cases to be able to make some money. At the same time, some of the most prominent and famous film festivals have gone online this year, making it a little more difficult to gauge the impact of a movie and build up a buzz through word-of-mouth. The pre-eminent festival, Cannes, was recently flagged off as an online event, and the entries into this year’s event will no doubt be longing for a live audience, seeing as a standing ovation from the crowd at Cannes is considered one of the biggest accolades in the business, akin to any award. Nevertheless, this has been a necessary step as film festivals have adapted to be able to exist in this new, changed world, while the demand for online products and services has unsurprisingly grown during this time. Services like gaming and streaming have grown in popularity, but even gambling, for example, has adapted, with many websites now offering live casino online games for their customers to be able to get some sort of casino experience from the safety of their homes.
In any case, following in the footsteps of other film festivals, the London Indian Film Festival will also be held online this year. It has also joined up with the Birmingham Indian Film Festival to offer a large and varied showcase of South Asian films, as well as interviews with industry experts. The event will run from 25th June to 25th July, with different viewing opportunities and panels every day. There are some classics and hitherto-unseen movies as part of the offering, with the likes of Adoor Gopalakrishnan’s BFI Sutherland Trophy winner Elippathayam (Rat-Trap), Bengali master, Buddhadeb Das Gupta’s epic award-winning tale Uttara (The Wrestlers), and Sturla Gunnerson’s visually delightful documentary Monsoon being just a few examples of the excellent content available. At the same time, some of the interviewees include rising star Ayushmann Khuranna, who will discuss his rapid rise since his debut film Vicky Donor, to his latest socially-sensitive flick Article 15, along with actress Vidya Balan, who will talk about her new short film Natkhat while also discussing women’s rights in the industry.
The festival will conclude with conversations with the likes of Freida Pinto and Deepa Mehta, two Indians who have made a niche for themselves in Hollywood as an actor and director respectively, and will take in their careers and the work they did to be where they are right now. There is even a showcase of a young Denzel Washington in the movie Mississippi Masala, which shows the issues of race and privilege in America through the eyes of an Indian woman raised in America, who falls in love with a black African-American man in rural Mississippi.
Fans are encouraged to check the website for the detailed schedules and timings, as some movies are only going to run for a specific period of time and on a fixed schedule. While the feature and short films will only be available to viewers in the UK, the interviews will be made available to people from all over the world.