Indian Film Festival Melbourne (IFFM) Honors Shabana Azmi, Announces IFFM Baari and 2024 Dates

The 15th Indian Film Festival Melbourne has just been announced by the Governor of Victoria, Her Excellency Professor, the Honourable Margaret Gardner AC, at an IFFM industry event held in Mumbai. In attendance was Mitu Bhowmick Lange AM, IFFM Festival Director, along with various leading films makers, studio heads, stars and stakeholders of the Indian film industry. The evening marked a pivotal moment for IFFM as it unveiled plans for its landmark 15th-year celebrations, set to unfold in August 2024.

IFFM 2024 will open on August 15, and will feature all the festival favourites including the Indian Independence Day Celebrations (flag hoisting), IFFM Awards night, IFFM Dance Competition and IFFM Closing Night.

This year the festival is also excited to announce a new festival initiative called IFFM Baari, which means “House” in Bengali. IFFM Baari will be an inclusive space for founders and leaders from diverse creative industries to engage with emerging creative voices especially from the south Asian communities. The IFFM Baari will be a hub to support, empower and grow exciting and diverse creative narratives, with a variety of events, including a keynote speaker, panel discussions, networking events and comedy.

Also at the event, celebrated Indian actress, Shabana Azmi was given the IFFM Excellence Award, which was confirmed for the 2023 festival, but Azmi was unable to accept the award at the time. Renowned for her powerful and versatile performances in Indian cinema, Azmi has received multiple accolades including five National Film Awards during her four-decade career.

Speaking of the event and the developments, the governor said, “Founded in 2010, the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne brings Victorians together to experience the best of Indian Filmmaking, including the recent screen initiative, known as ‘My Melbourne.’ This project has seen the Festival partner with renowned Indian filmmakers to create films reflecting the lived experience of the Indian Diaspora in Melbourne and highlight the diversity of those experiences. We are indeed fortunate to have this rich cultural event in Victoria. “

Shabana Azmi expressed of the honour, “I am so grateful I was here amongst this small yet important gathering of my peers from the industry. I always believe it’s the actors who get all the honours and attention, but I truly believe that actors and films are a result of all the teams behind the camera. I am thankful to every technician, spot boy, light guy, everyone who deserve to be celebrated. I’m grateful to the Governor, the Government of Victoria and IFFM to honour me with the Excellence in Cinema Award”.

Bhowmick Lange said at the event: “IFFM Baari is a very positive step towards creating a home for the creative minds in the entertainment industry especially from more marginalised communities. It opens doors for collaboration, propelling Indian cinema into the Australian market and reinforcing the deep cultural ties between the two nations. As we celebrate 15 years of IFFM as a groundbreaking festival, Baari marks a new chapter in our journey.”

This year will premiere My Melbourne. Set in Melbourne with a local cast and crew, mentored by four of the world’s best film makers – Rima Das, Kabir Khan, Imtiaz and Onir, My Melbourne is a ground-breaking format with four relevant and timely stories celebrates diversity with new films celebrating the LGBTQAI+ community, disability, race and gender.

Working with the motto “a film with you, about you, and for you” the film series aims to authentically reflect the lived experiences and heartfelt stories of the community, drawing inspiration directly from their unique narratives. My Melbourne is a collaboration with Vic Screen and Screen Australia.

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