ICFF celebrates Italian Oscar winners from GreenBook and Life is Beautiful

— Highlights of the bold 2019 lineup!

Film lovers can expect another glamorous, star-studded Italian Contemporary Film Festival across Canada this June, with more movies and guest stars than ever, including writer and producer of the 2019 Best Picture Green Book, Nick Vallelonga, and renowned Italian composer, Nicola Piovani, winner of the 1999 Oscar for Best Original Score for Life is Beautiful.

Among the many stars arriving from Italy for this year’s festival are Ezio Greggio, Claudio Gubitosi, Luca Barbareschi, Fabio De Luigi and Piera Detassis.

The Italian Contemporary Film Festival, presented by IC Savings and in affiliation with Fare Cinema, announced the lineup for its 8th edition at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Toronto today. The 2019 program features 128 diverse and acclaimed films, including dozens of shorts and documentaries, totalling more than 190 screenings across the country – its largest and most ambitious program to date, which will see no shortage of star power.

Guests of the 2019 festival will include Nick Vallelonga, writer and producer of the 2019 Academy Award-winning film for Best Picture and Best Screenplay, Green Book; world-renowned Italian composer Nicola Piovani, winner of the 1999 Oscar for Best Original Score for Life is Beautiful (La vita è bella); Continue reading “ICFF celebrates Italian Oscar winners from GreenBook and Life is Beautiful”

IFFSA: Voice of South Asian Cinema in Canada

On April 18th, IFFSA Toronto unveiled an exciting lineup of films and events for this year’s festival, which runs from May 9th to May 20th. As a film festival, every year IFFSA’s attempt has been to surprise the film lovers, to take us on new adventures.

To begin with,   IFFSA, is over the moon to have the opportunity and honour to share some very special films, with their audiences, as part of our celebration of the ‘Hundred Years of Bengali Cinema’,

IFFSA Toronto is THE LARGEST SOUTH ASIAN FILM FESTIVAL IN NORTH AMERICA. In its 8th year now, the festival has become an international icon and the voice of South Asian cinema in Canada.

This 12+ day extravaganza showcases a diverse, language independent, selection of the best feature films, featurette films, short films, documentaries and music films from around the world, on themes of South Asian cultures and identities. In the spirit of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam – the world is one family”, a select number of foreign films are considered under Beyond South Asia segment.

In addition, the festival also features gala dinners, red carpet premiers, concerts, lounge parties, exhibitions, seminars, workshops and networking opportunities with government representatives, business leaders, local organizations that support film development, film stars, producers, directors, members of the media and more. Continue reading “IFFSA: Voice of South Asian Cinema in Canada”

We Got This: A Unique Blend of Pop Melodies

Vibrant and culturally eclectic ensemble, Delhi 2 Dublin, are back with the release of their latest studio album We Got This (May 172019 via Inside Pocket / Warner Music Canada). The album, produced by Toronto-based hitmaker Gavin Brown (Barenaked Ladies, Metric, Tragically Hip), offers a unique blend of energetic-pop melodies with the electronic pulse of warehouse raves, bringing a positive, colourful feeling to the socially aware messages expressed throughout.

The Vancouver-based band’s latest single “My People” speaks to their personal experiences as descendants of immigrants and paints a dynamic picture of them finding their artistic voices. The songs have an accessibility that you might compare to the songwriting of Bob Marley – speaking to the band’s own culture in the most personal way yet have depth and meaning to people of all cultures, backgrounds and ages.

The experience of making We Got This encouraged Delhi 2 Dublin to become creative storytellers, enabling listeners to relate to the messaging while dancing along to the Bhangra beats. And, of course, the songs are just as fun to listen to, filled with sing-along choruses, easy melodies and sharp production throughout.

Said vocalist Sanjay Seran, “the process of making this record was a bit of a departure from our beat-centric past and more of a journey into writing songs with a message that can really reach people. Continue reading “We Got This: A Unique Blend of Pop Melodies”

Mallika Sarabhai’s ‘The Colors of Her Heart’ – April 17, 2019 @ the Ailey Citigroup Theatre, NYC

The Colors of Her Heart is a spell binding, dance-theatre-multimedia production, choreographed and directed by Mallika Sarabhai, that uses the haunting lyrics of British musician Samia Malik with the creativity visual imagery and story creating skills of Yadavan ChandranOn the stage, six women tell their poignant stories bringing awareness into the issue of gender inequality. 

What do all women across the world share as experiences? Whatever the color of their skins, whatever their language and culture, the single identity that leads to their exploitation and violence against them is their gender. With songs in Urdu and English, and stories that are both personal and universal, the heartful composition draws you into the world of women and their lives, dwelling on their experiences of vulnerabilitylove, pain, rejection, discrimination and violation. 

The ballet shifts between powerfully spoken monologues as accounts of the performers, group and solo dances, emotive pieces, even a ghazal that come together rhythmically with the bilingual live music by Samia Malik. The pieces reflect upon the common thread that binds all women, bringing together not just the stories of six women, but the pains, travails and victories of women of all nations. The Colors of Her Heart plays at The Ailey Citigroup Theatre on 405 W 55th St, New York, NY 10019. Continue reading “Mallika Sarabhai’s ‘The Colors of Her Heart’ – April 17, 2019 @ the Ailey Citigroup Theatre, NYC”

Blues Legend Lucky Peterson launches Kitchener Blues Festival!

–Lachman Balani

 The cavernous up tempo bar and nightclub Elements in Kitchener was the scene for the launch party of the Kitchener Blues Festival this past weekend.

The Kitchener Blues Festival is one of the few tightly run annual music festivals in Ontario announcing its line-up way ahead of its scheduled event in August.

This 4 day festival in Kitchener spread over 3 stages boasts of having hosted some amazing acts in recent times such as Eric Burdon, Randy Bachman, Burton Cummings, Foghat , Edgar Winter, Rik Emmett and many more! It is the go to event for blues and rock lovers in the neighbouring Greater Toronto Area.

Matt Weidinger opened the kickoff party setting the mood for the party-goers.

Following the opening band, Lucky Peterson from Buffalo and Kitchener homeboy Shawn Kellerman and his band sent the crowd into a dancing tizzy as both young and old folks got up to groove to the blues.

Shawn opened up with his band and Lucky joined in a couple of songs later and they all came together to play nonstop blues rock ramming one song into the next without missing a beat! It was incredible to see them play for a full hour with no break between songs! Continue reading “Blues Legend Lucky Peterson launches Kitchener Blues Festival!”

Modi: The Journey Of A Common Man

~Eros Now & Benchmark Pictures to make an original series biopic on the political superstar of India ~

Eros Now, the cutting-edge digital over-the-top (OTT) South Asian entertainment platform owned by Eros International Plc, a Global Indian Entertainment Company, offers a wide range of quality content that draws the attention of its worldwide audience. In an attempt to present yet another gripping story, the premium OTT platform, today announced the most-sought after biopic on India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, produced by Benchmark Pictures, a leading production house of India led by Umesh Shukla and Ashish Wagh. Titled ‘Modi,’ the Eros Now original series showcases the eventful life of the inspiring and influential leader.

The 10-part original series on Eros Now directed by the talented filmmaker Umesh Shukla captures different phases of Modi’s life. The story begins with 12-year-old Narendra and traverses through his teenage, youth to becoming the Prime Minister of world’s largest democracy, India. Modi’s siblings, friends, neighbours and school teachers reminisce his fascinating journey of self-discovery and enhances the authenticity of the original series. Actors Faisal Khan, Ashish Sharma and Mahesh Thakur play his part to depict the different stages of his life. The original series is written by Mihir Bhuta and Radhika Anand and each episode ranges between 35 to 40 minutes highlighting many incidents that made him devote his life to the service of the country.

Narendra Modi was born to a family of grocers (who owned a tea stall) in Vadnagar, Mehsana district, Bombay state (present-day Gujarat) Continue reading “Modi: The Journey Of A Common Man”

Andhadhun to release in China as ‘Piano Player’

Andhadhun, a film that got the audiences, industry and even the critics raving, can easily be called the ‘Best Film of the year 2018. After winning accolades in India, the film is now set for a big opening in China soon. Produced by Viacom18 Motion PicturesMatchbox Pictures, Andhadhun is directed by India’s king of neo noir cinema, Sriram Raghavan. The film has been distributed internationally by Eros International.

Ajit Andhare, COO, Viacom18 Studios, says, “I am happy to announce that Viacom18 Studios has secured its maiden release in China and that too with our favourite film Andhadhun. I am very excited about our film’s prospect at the China box office and celebrating what is a major first for the studio.”

The film titled ‘Piano Player’ for the Chinese audiences is also the first China release for maverick director, Sriram Raghavan. He says, “I am super thrilled that Andhadhun is releasing in China. Ten years back, on a visit to China, I walked into a Beijing Cafe and was zapped to see Nasir Husain’s CARAVAN playing on a big screen. Dubbed in Chinese except for the songs. I was told the film was the favourite Indian film of that generation. I am curious how the Chinese audience responds to our musical thriller.”

Viacom18 Studios along with Eros International has now partnered with Tang Media Partners to release this quirky thriller in China.

Andhadhun starring Tabu, Ayushmann Khurrana and Radhika Apte opened to rave reviews in India on October 5th, 2019.

Continue reading “Andhadhun to release in China as ‘Piano Player’”

The 2019 ICFF Youth program offers a variety of youth films in multiple languages!

The 2019 ICFF Youth program will feature 12 films, burgeoning from an Italian film festival to a marvellous multicultural celebration of film, which includes 2 Canadian-made movies: La Légende de Sarila (The Legend of Sarila) and Nelly et Simon: Mission Yéti (Nelly and Simon: Mission Yeti).

The International Contemporary Film Festival Youth returns with another fantastic program from April 8th to the 13th. Presented by IC Savings, ICFF Youth continues to grow, now featuring more international films than ever. Screenings will take place at the TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto, Cineplex Yorkdale, Cineplex Cinemas in Vaughan and SilverCity Richmond Hill.

The 2019 line-up features movies in Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Mandarin and Cantonese with English subtitles.

La Légende de Sarila (French)(The Legend of Sarila) is a Canadian animated movie based on Inuit culture and tradition. Set in northern Canada in 1910, it tells the story of three young Inuits, who head for the legendary land of Sarila in search of food for their clan.

Leo Da Vinci: Missione Monna Lisa (Italian) (Leo Da Vinci: Mission Mona Lisa) is a North American premiere and a co-production between Italy and Poland. It tells the tale of a brilliant inventor who finds himself on an adventure to find a hidden treasure to help his friend Lisa, who has lost everything. Continue reading “The 2019 ICFF Youth program offers a variety of youth films in multiple languages!”

Kesari trailer out now. Megastar Akshay Kumar Starrer Showcases ‘The Story Of The Bravest Battle Ever Fought’

The much awaited trailer for Kesari is out and has left audiences enthralled. After sharing glimpses of the battle of Saragarhi in three teasers that were released last week, the trailer, which is packed with action, drama and emotion gives audiences an insight into the bravest battle ever fought. 

The Kesari trailer begins with Akshay Kumar saying, “A Britisher, once told me, I am a slave and only cowards are born in India. Today is the day to give him a reply.” Just a few seconds later, the viewers can see thousands of Afghan soldiers running towards Akshay’s character Havildar Ishar Singh, the leader of the Sikh regiment. The trailer then takes the audience into the middle of the epic battle of Saragarhi. All who experience the trailer for ‘Kesari’ will be left with the urge to find out how these 21 brave Sikh soldiers fought against 10,000 Afghan soldiers to safeguard their land from invasion.

Akshay Kumar looks convincing as a leader of the Sikh soldiers, who can be seen roaring like lions in the midst of combat with weapons in their hands and rage in their eyes. The trailer captivates and fascinates with fearsome action scenes, spectacular sword fighting techniques, and intense dialogues. The trailer also introduces the female lead of the film Parineeti Chopra, who is filled with pride as Akshay Kumar heads for the battle.

The background score, action scenes and rugged avatar of megastar Akshay Kumar will surely leave movie lovers wanting more. Continue reading “Kesari trailer out now. Megastar Akshay Kumar Starrer Showcases ‘The Story Of The Bravest Battle Ever Fought’”

Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt visit India Pavilion at Berlinale 2019

International Festival Heads keen to attend the 50th Anniversary of IFFI

The team behind the upcoming movie‘Gully Boy’including Mr. Ranveer Singh, Ms. Alia Bhatt, Ms. Zoya Akhtar &Mr. RiteshSidhwani visited the India Pavilion at Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale) 2019. They released the IFFI 2019 Brochure and were apprised by the Indian delegation about activities planned for the Golden Jubilee anniversary of IFFI to be held later this year.

The Indian Delegation members at Berlinale met with over half a dozen Film Festival Heads & Key Senior Executives of the film industry. Ms Nadia Dresti, Deputy Artistic Director and Head of Locarno Film Festival was apprised about several policy initiatives of the Government of India to promote ease of filming and curb piracy. Her help was sought by the delegation to reach out to Locarno Film Festival for IFFI 2019.Ms Dresti expressed that she had visited IFFI Goa last year and emphasized her proactive participation for the 2019 Edition as well.

Indian Delegation also interacted with Mr Stephan Ottenbruch, Head of Indo-German Films, wherein they discussed about a larger German presence at IFFI 2019 andexplored possibilities ofcollaboration. Continue reading “Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt visit India Pavilion at Berlinale 2019”