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In Conversation with the guys behind SAIFF

By |November 12th, 2013|Awards, Brown Hollywood, Film Festivals, Interviews, SAIFF 2012|

The South Asian International Film Festival (SAIFF) is going to celebrate it's 10th anniversary this year. The program has come a long way since 2003. It's gained a sponsorship from HBO and even withstood a hurricane. This year, the festival will run from December 3rd through December 8th.  In honor of it's 10th year, I had the chance to sit down with Festival Founder Shilen Amin and Program Director Galen Rosenthal to discuss where SAIFF has been and where it's going. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=laUWC_zqGTw iiF: How has the festival changed and improved in its 10th year? Shilen Amin: It's definitely gotten easier to [...]

  • Reena Dutt: Super Woman

Confessions from Brown Hollywood with Reena Dutt

By |September 22nd, 2013|Brown Hollywood, CSAFF, Film Festivals, Interviews, movies we loved, SAIFF 2012|

Reena Dutt is an incredibly talented human being. She's a producer, writer, director, actor and superhero. I'm not kidding. Dutt has been involved in some of iiF's favorite projects, one of which just screened at the Chicago South Asian Film Festival (CSAFF) this weekend. Yes you guessed it, she is a producer of "...Or Die" and "Squad 85." As an actress she's been in television shows like "Medium", "Out of Practice", and "Criminal Minds." In fact, she even just shot a pilot for A&E. As far as directing and producing goes, her credits include "Snapshot!", "El Doctor", "June, Adrift" and [...]

  • Gregory Bonsignore in "Squad 85"

Confessions from Brown Hollywood with Gregory Bonsignore

By |September 20th, 2013|Brown Hollywood, CSAFF, Film Festivals, Interviews, movies we loved, SAIFF 2012|

It is no secret that iiF loves the short film "...Or Die", (co-directed by Gregory Bonsignore and John Petaja) which won the Audience Award at the HBO South Asian Film Festival last year. In fact, we're pretty sure our review is longer than the movie itself. Thankfully, that didn't discourage writer and co-director Gregory Bonsignore from talking to us about the film. Greg is one of the nicest and funniest guys you're likely to meet (and I've only met him once!). He's a fantastic writer with credits that include shows like "Lie to me", "Three Rivers" and "Homeland" (where he's a script coordinator). [...]

SAIFF 2012 Award Winners

By |November 20th, 2012|Awards, movies we loved, reviews, SAIFF 2012, TIFF, upcoming movies|

The South Asian International Film Festival concluded Saturday night after a two week layoff thanks to Hurricane Sandy. "This was a historic year for us and the city. Besides introducing some amazing films and doing the Rising Star Film Awards, we also got hit with a storm," Shilen Amin, SAIFF's President and Founder, said. "So many of the films that we wanted to show did not make it to  the screen but we were able to make up our closing night at least." The festival award winners were also officially announced Saturday night. Check out the winners below and the [...]

SAIFF 2012 closes today with “Valley of Saints”

By |November 17th, 2012|Awards, now playing, SAIFF 2012, upcoming movies|

After the destruction of Hurricane Sandy postponed part of the South Asian International Film Festival a few weeks ago, the closing night is finally upon us. Tickets can be purchased at www.saiff.org for tonight's event which includes an awards ceremony and the New York Premiere of "Valley of Saints", the feature length debut of director Musa Syeed. The movie already won the the Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize and Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. For more information please click on the banner below. Half of all ticket proceeds will go to benefit The American Red Cross.  

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“Patang” Review

By |November 13th, 2012|Awards, movies we loved, now playing, reviews, SAIFF 2012|

"Patang" is perhaps one of the most genuine films I have ever seen. The movie won awards for Best Director and Best Picture at the SAIFF Rising Stars Awards Ceremony a few weeks ago. It's a rare, unfiltered look at a world that is new and familiar at the same time. httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_rOqsX-aY8 The story is simple. Jayesh (played brilliantly by Mukund Shukla), a successful businessman in Delhi, returns to visit his estranged family after five years in Ahmedabad for Uttarayan, the annual kite festival. Old wounds and family troubles arise as Bhargava effortlessly weaves the story of six different characters during this celebration. I'd [...]

“Miss Lovely” Review

By |November 9th, 2012|reviews, SAIFF 2012, TIFF|

"Miss Lovely" (directed by Ashim Ahluwalia) is not a film for everyone. Honestly, I'm still not sure if it's the film for me. It was the opening night movie at the South Asian International Film Festival this year and I've spent a considerable amount of time thinking about the picture. The story centers around the Duggal Brothers Vicky (Anil George) and Sonu (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) who make and sell low-budget horror and soft-core porn films. It's a world full of sleaze, money and corruption. Eventually, Sonu wants to get out of the business and make a romantic picture with the girl of his [...]

Talking “Blood Relative” with Nimisha Mukerji and Mark Ratzlaff

By |November 2nd, 2012|Interviews, movies we loved, SAIFF 2012|

Before Hurricane Sandy did her worst to New York, I managed to sit down with Nimisha Mukerji and Mark Ratzlaff, the filmmakers behind the documentary “Blood Relative”, which premiered at SAIFF Oct. 25. Mukerji directed while Ratzlaff took care of the editing. The movie is about young sufferers of thalassemia major, a genetic disease, one variant of which is endemic to South and Southeast Asia where millions are affected with potentially fatal consequences.You can read our review of the film right here (spoiler alert: We loved it). httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVRMpgbO1uU&feature=plcp IIF: What is the challenge behind making a documentary so important and [...]

“…Or Die” Review

By |October 30th, 2012|movies we loved, reviews, SAIFF 2012|

"Attempting to get at truth means rejecting stereotypes and cliches." - Harold Evans Stereotypes exist for all races across the board. Some of them can be true while others are blatantly false. Nearly all of them can be associated with ignorance. Yes, some cab drivers are brown. Yes, a lot of IT guys are also brown. Yes, even many terrorists have brown skin. As it turns out though, there are brown people around the world who also happen to be athletes, artists, writers, actors, teachers, pilots, directors, editors, journalists, bartenders, painters, comedians, zookeepers, train conductors, lawyers, politicians, construction workers, cops, [...]

Kabir Bedi discusses his Hollywood years and the role of South Asian actors in America

By |October 29th, 2012|SAIFF 2012|

Kabir Bedi is quite the accomplished actor. He just recently received the Star Foundation Award during the South Asian International Film Festival (SAIFF). He's found a form of stardom on three different continents through projects and films like "Octopussy", "The Bold and the Beautiful" and "Sandokan." Kabir Bedi with moderator James Janowsky during the SAIFF Conversation Series Saturday. Bedi recently participated in a conversation series at SAIFF where he discussed his legacy, stardom, family and much more with moderator James Janowsky. IIF managed to participate in the conversation by asking Bedi about the struggles and challenges of making it [...]

“Balak Palak” Review

By |October 27th, 2012|movies we loved, reviews, SAIFF 2012|

So let's talk about sex. What? You don't want to? What do you mean you're embarrassed? Why? Wait where are you going?! Who the hell is supposed to explain this stuff to me? "Balak Palak" premiered at the South Asian Film Festival Friday night. These are the questions many adolescents face as they grow older and attempt the decipher one of nature's most confounding experiences. Sex. And those kids who grow up in communities (especially India) where such talk and communication is considered taboo, the ramifications can be particularly damaging. This is the premise of "Balak Palak", a film directed by [...]

“Blood Relative” Review

By |October 26th, 2012|movies we loved, reviews, SAIFF 2012|

"Blood Relative" is a truly moving, gripping documentary by Nimisha Mukerji, director of numerous films including the multiple award-winning documentary 65_RedRoses, set to air soon on the Oprah Winfrey Network. Set in Mumbai, we see a true life story of two brave, young sufferers of thalassemia major, a genetic disease, one variant of which is endemic to South and Southeast Asia where millions are affected with potentially fatal consequences. "Blood Relative" was shown at the South Asian International Film Festival Thursday night. The truest meaning of selflessness and humility defines the contributions of Vinay Shetty, the leader of [...]

“Bureaucracy Sonata” (“Raag Sarkari”) Review

By |October 26th, 2012|movies we loved, reviews, SAIFF 2012|

A long time ago, India went through an "interesting" time to say the least. From June 26, 1975 through March 21, 1977, democracy was suspended in India allowing Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to rule by decree. It became known as the "emergency era" in India. During that time, a lot of political activists and members of the opposition party were arrested without trial. Eventually members of the opposition party started voluntarily going to jail because they were promised a monthly pension if their party successful overthrew Gandhi's government. This is the setting and premise behind Vinay Shukla's short film "Raag [...]

Legendary actor Kabir Bedi accepts Star Foundation Award at SAIFF

By |October 24th, 2012|Awards, SAIFF 2012|

The South Asian International Film Festival gave this year's Star Foundation Award to the legendary actor Kabir Bedi. It was introduced for the first time last year when it went to filmmaker Shekhar Kapur. Bedi received his award during the South Asian Rising Star Film Awards Tuesday night after he was introduced by SAIFF President and Founder, Shilen Amin. "Kabir has mastered all three entertainment outlets: film, television and theater. He has acted in over 60 Bollywood films [including] hits like 'Khoon Bhari Maang', 'Kurbaan', 'Main Hoon Na', as Emperor Shah Jahan in 'Taj Mahal: An Eternal Love Story' and a pivotal [...]

South Asian Rising Star Film Awards Recap

By |October 24th, 2012|Awards, SAIFF 2012|

Before the actual festival kicks off, SAIFF 2012 got started with the  1st Annual South Asian Rising Star Film Awards. Adult film star and emerging Bollywood actress Sunny Leone and Jay Chandrasekhar, director of films like "Beerfest" and "Super Troopers", hosted the event Tuesday night. Jay Chandrasekhar and Sunny Leone hosting the awards ceremony. "With the South Asian Rising Star Film Awards we are taking another massive stride to not only just identify and develop talent, but also to recognize their achievements to the art and craft of cinema," Shilen Amin, President and Founder of SAIFF, said before the awards. [...]

SAIFF 2012 kicks off tonight with the “South Asian Rising Star Film Awards”

By |October 23rd, 2012|Awards, SAIFF 2012, Uncategorized|

The South Asian International Film Festival (SAIFF) kicks off tonight with an awards ceremony celebrating the rising stars of South Asian cinema. IIF will be there all week covering everything we possibly can. Below is a press release  with all the nominees and information. The festival is co-sponsored by HBO. NEW YORK CITY September 25, 2012 – The South Asian International Film Festival; presented by HBO, celebrates its ninth year in 2012 and together announce the nominees for first-ever South Asian Rising Star Film Awards Gala Dinner.   The 2012 Nominees for all Nine (9) Award Categories are: Best Lead [...]