A still from Seththumaan | Courtesy: Neelam Productions

Debutant To Thamizh’s Tamil film ‘Seththumaan’ (Pig) and Karishma Dev Dube’s much-acclaimed ‘Bittu’ won the grand jury prizes for best feature and best short film awards at the recent 19th edition of The Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA).

The festival, held virtually because of the ongoing pandemic situation, also saw the audience awards going to Ajitpal Singh’s ‘Fire in the Mountains’ and Aarti Neharsh’s ‘The Song We Sang’ for the best feature and best short respectively.

Sajin Babu’s Malayalam feature ‘Biriyaani’, Rima Das’ Assamese short ‘For Each Other’, and Upamanyu Bhattacharyya and Kalp Sanghvi’s animation short ‘Wade’ won honorable mentions, while Nivita Chaliki also won an honorable mention for her performance in the short film ‘Forever Tonight’.

The festival was held virtually during May 20-27 and screened 40 films, including two world, eight North American, five US and 18 Los Angeles premieres, spanning 17 languages, with 16 women directors.

The features jury, chaired by Milan Chakraborty, head of film at Marginal Mediaworks, and comprising Nathan Fischer, founder of Paris-based sales agency Stray Dogs, and Jenn Wilson, senior film programmer, said in its citation for ‘Seththumaan’: “The grand jury prize for best feature went to a film that impressed us tremendously, both in terms of filmmaking and dramaturgy. It’s a phenomenal first feature, gentle and impactful, done with heart and guts, that is at the same time very candid and very mature and complex.”

The shorts jury, headed by filmmaker Tanuj Chopra and comprising actors Nik Dodani and Sakina Jaffrey, said in its citation for ‘Bittu’: “A spectacular film about a brilliant young girl with a foul tongue who discovers that her defiance is lifesaving. We found this film absolutely riveting and compelling.”

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About Utpal Borpujari


Utpal Borpujari is a National Film Award winning filmmaker and film critic. He won national award for his debut feature film 'Ishu'.


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