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Indie Meme Film Festival Returning to Austin With Diverse Lineup of South Asian Independent Cinema

Indie Meme Film Festival Returning to Austin With Diverse Lineup of South Asian Independent Cinema

  • The 4-day event in April will open with Pan Nalin’s partly autobiographical drama, “The Last Film Show.”

Pan Nalin’s “The Last Film Show” will open this year’s Indie Meme Film Festival, Austin’s leading event curating South Asian independent cinema. Presented virtually in 2020 and 2021, the festival comes back in a hybrid format: In-person screenings will take place April 14-17 at Austin Film Society (AFS). Those wishing to watch the festival virtually can stream them April 22-24.

“The Last Film Show” is a partly autobiographical drama, set in Gujarat. An engaging, heart-expanding story of a child discovering his own creative capacities, the film is a tribute to the transition from 35mm to digital movie-making and a passion for cinema propels the child to create means to watch movies in an old-fashioned way.

“We are really looking forward to being back at AFS for IMFF2022 with the audience like it was meant to be,” said festival co-founder Alka Bhanot. “Of course, our online edition will continue for our virtual family.”

Keeping in line with its mission of highlighting socially relevant cinema, the festival this year draws attention to topics of childhood opportunity, access to arts, science and film education, women’s empowerment, cultural traditions and shifts, human rights, disability, caste and racial tensions, climate change, class, immigration, mental health, abusive and loving relationships, LGBTQ+ experiences and more. Women direct one-third of the festival titles, while 18% of the lineup features LGBTQ+ characters and stories.

“The 2022 lineup is exceptional,” added Programming Chair and festival co-founder Tripti Bhatnagar. “With both options available, there is no excuse to miss!”

Veteran actor Rajat Kapoor’s “RK/RKAY” is the festival’s centerpiece feature. The film is a surreal comedy in which a director’s failing project is further destabilized when the lead character runs out of the edit and into real life. In this entertaining and witty narrative, writer and director Kapoor takes the audience on an existential journey.

Some of the other highlights of the festival include:

Oscar-nominated Bhutanese film “Lunana A Yak in the Classroom,” directed by Pawo Choyning Dorji. Shot on location in one of the most remote human settlements in the world, it made history by being Bhutan’s first film in 23 years to get an Oscar nod. Dorji also wrote the script and co-produced the film with Steven Xiang, Stephane Lai and Jia Honglin. He is from a rural part of Bhutan that is east of Lunana. The film tells the story of a young teacher from Bhutan’s capital, Thimphu, who is assigned to work at a remote mountain school against his will. He dreams of quitting his government job, emigrating to Australia and pursuing a career as a singer.

“Pebbles,” India’s official Oscar submission and top prize winner of the 2021 International Film Festival of Rotterdam. The film will have its Texas premiere. It tells the story of a boy following his father on an overheated road trip to find his mother, who has left due to domestic abuse. The film creates a powerful cinematic experience through simplicity, minimal dialogue, and exceptional visual storytelling.

“Rehana,” debuted in Cannes and won the Cannes Debut and Asia Pacific Screen Awards Grand Jury Prize award. Bangladesh’s official 2021 Oscar submission, the film is written and directed by Abdullah Mohammad Saad will have its U.S. premiere at the festival. The film, a taut feminist drama, follows an assistant professor who witnesses an incident between a professor and a female student. Her pursuit of justice leads her into a maelstrom of controversy, as the medical college would rather close the case quietly than pursue action. Azmeri Haque Badhon plays Rehana, and has earned the ‘New Talent Award’ at the Hong Kong Asian Film Festival and ‘Best Actress’ at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards.

See Also

Gaurav Madan’s “Barah x Barah,” written by cinematographer Sunny Lahiri and Madan, chronicles the life of a photographer who captures images of the dead in Varanasi, one of India’s oldest cities.

Other feature films include “Bangla, Hit The Road,” “A Night of Knowing Nothing,” “Midwives,” “ I Am Belmaya,” “Any Day Now,” “Moshari,” “Receiver” and “Biriyaani.”

The festival’s diverse Shorts Program includes 16 films including “Baahar, a University of Texas at Austin Project;” the North American premiere of “A Coup,” and the German-Afghan production “Bambirak.”

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