Brisbane treated to the best from India’s independent film makers

24th June 2014

Big names from the world's biggest film industry are converging on Brisbane for a festival the likes of which Australia has never seen before.

Hosted by QUT, the inaugural Indian International Film Festival of Queensland (IIFFOQ) will showcase the best of Indian cinema - including a world premiere, 10 Australian premieres and critically acclaimed shorts - in a competition format.

Award-winning producer of Romeo + Juliette and Moulin Rouge, Martin Brown, will chair the judging panel, alongside Bollywood writer Farrukh Dhondy and France Televisions' Jean-Marc Surcin.

"This is Australia's first-ever independent, competitive Indian film festival and we are excited to share this rich and diverse cultural experience with the Queensland community," said festival founder and Artistic Director Chayan Sarkar.

"We are proud to present the Australian premiere of Manjunath as our opening film.

"It's a story about one man striving to maintain his honesty, integrity and principals - it's an inspiration for every honest individual whose path may be challenged by greed and corruption."

The IIFFOQ focuses on new wave independent Indian cinema, which has evolved beyond the Bollywood musical genre the nation is famous for.

The cinematic line-up includes director Anup Singh's Qissa: The tail of a lonely ghost, which stars Irrfan Khan (Life of Pi, Slumdog Millionaire).

Sudhin Thakur's controversial film Pinky - Ek Satyakatha is the story of an award-winning female athlete who was charged with rape and accused of being a male, giving viewers a glimpse into the politics behind Indian sports.

The IIFFOQ's opening ceremony and selected screenings will take place at QUT's Kelvin Grove campus.

QUT's Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Commercialisation) Professor Arun Sharma said the festival reflected the deepening economic and cultural ties between Queensland and India.

In 2011 QUT awarded an Honorary Doctorate to legendary megastar Amitabh Bachchan and the actor launched a creative industries travel bursary in the name of his late father, Dr Harivansh Rai Bachchan, a leading 20th century poet.

"This is a landmark festival that will create collaborative opportunities for independent film makers, producers, distributors and other industry professionals from our respective creative sectors, as well as real-world industry connections for our creative industries students and graduates," said Professor Sharma, who is the festival's Honorary Patron.

Executive Dean of QUT's Creative Industries Faculty Professor Mandy Thomas said QUT was a global leader in the creative industries disciplines and was well placed to partner with the world's most prolific movie-making country.

"There is so much QUT's creative researchers and students can learn from India's rich and vibrant film industry, just as we can offer India's creative sector much in terms of education and professional development," Professor Thomas said.

"Our support for this festival is also part of our commitment to engaging with the state's many cultural communities, of which our Indian community is one of the largest."

The festival runs 28 June to 2 July.

It is supported by the Brisbane Lord Mayor Cr Graham Quirk, Screen Queensland and Michael Hawkins of the Asia Pacific Screen Awards.

Visit the IIFFOQ website for more information about the films, screening schedule and satellite events.

Chayan Sarkar is a Brisbane-based film maker and the director of critically acclaimed Australian independent film The Sleeping Warrior.

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Media contacts:
•Chayan Sarkar, IIFFOC Artistic Director, +61 410 420 004, info@bollywooddreams.biz
•Kate Haggman, QUT Media, +61 7 3138 0358, kate.haggman@qut.edu.au.

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