At the Indian Film Festival with ITVS Programming Manager Karim Ahmad

Posted on April 28, 2009

Indie films, stunning Bollywood musicals, documentaries, animation, environmental films, comedies––the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) is devoted to a greater appreciation of Indian cinema and culture. ITVS Programming Manager Karim Ahmad recently attended this year’s festival. Read about his experience below:

I only recently had the good fortune to discover the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA), which, now in its seventh year, has become one of the premier showcases of contemporary Indian cinema and films representing the Indian diaspora in the United States. I had the benefit of attending this festival last week in Los Angeles as a part of ITVS’s ongoing efforts in reaching out to South Asian filmmakers, and I was thoroughly impressed with the caliber of the festival’s program. 

Upon arriving in LA, I drove across town to Chakra Restaurant in Beverly Hills, where the festival staff organized one-on-one meetings between the filmmakers in the festival and various organizations including the major talent agencies as well as funding entities like ITVS. The meetings whetted my appetite for the festival’s screening series. However as always, time was short, and I was unable to attend nearly as many screenings as I would have liked. These sessions are quite helpful. 

The next day, I spoke on the festival’s financing and co-productions panel, where the discussion’s emphasis on narrative film projects demonstrated the continued need to support documentary content from and for the South Asian community worldwide. This is particularly so within India where, despite some new efforts toward doc makers on the part of the NFDC (whose Managing Director, Nina Gupta, was a fellow panelist), there exist very few options for funding and distributing independent documentaries. More and more, funding for these films is coming from foreign broadcasters and non-profit organizations like ITVS. 

On my last day in LA, I finally had the opportunity to check out a few screenings––all of which were held at the Arclight’s state-of-the-art theaters on Sunset Blvd––and re-connect with some of the filmmakers and festival staff afterward in the IFFLA lounge. I was truly impressed with both the level of talent demonstrated in the festival’s program, and also the profile of the festival itself. Despite being a relatively young festival, IFFLA provides all the services of a top tier festival to its filmmakers, and is an ideal place for organizations like ours to reach out to a highly talented group of South Asian filmmakers. 

-Karim Programming Manager, ITVS


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