When Sutapa Ghosh established the Indian Film Festival of Houston (IFFH) in 2009, some wondered if it would be sustainable. Indians who made trips back to their hometowns could see films there, and non-Indians were unaware of the variety of styles, other than Bollywood musicals.
Voted the “Best Film Festival of Houston-2014” by Houston Press, IFFH is stronger than ever, with audiences from the diverse cultural communities of our city. The 7th annual event was held March 3, 4, and 5, 2015, at the Studio Movie Grill in CityCenter.
Filmmakers came to present their cinematic creations to the audience, then gave a Q & A afterwards. Director Rucha Humnabadkar, introduced “For Here or to Go?” about a young Silicon Valley software engineer trying to get his visa extended. It was a hit with Opening Night Audiences. Director Roopa Barua whose Riders of the Mist,” was a documentary about the bareback racing tradition in Assam, India, gave us insight about the 100 year-old tradition. Producer Viveck Vaswani and director Ananth Narayan Mahadevan stirred enthusiasm for their thought-provoking film “Rough Book” about the educational system in contemporary India.
Other films were “Jai Ho,” a documentary about one of the greatest muscians of the world, A.R.Rahman; “Dum Dum Deega Deega,” a short about a begger child with big dreams; “Cloth Paper Dreams,” a short about people who come to Kumbh Mela every 12 at the confluence of the three holiest rivers; and “Int. Cafe Night,” a short about two couples—one old and one young.
Awards were presented after the Closing Night film. The Best Short went to “Cloth Paper Dreams,” Best Documentary went to “Riders of the Mist,” and Best Feature Film went to “Rough Book.” Several of the previous winners have gone on the win Oscars, National Awards, and critical acclaim at a variety of international festivals.
The Indian Film Festival of Houston (IFFH) Inc. Is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization devoted to education in the fields of film and television and in creating greater appreciation of Indian cinema and culture by showcasing quality films that honor entertainment industry performers and film makers while promoting diverse perspectives of the Indian Diaspora through an annual event.