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Ivan Ayr's Soni to be screened at the Orrizonti Competition of the 75th Venice Film Festival 

The film, set in Delhi, stars Geetika Vidya Ohlyan and Saloni Batra in the lead roles. 

Shriram Iyengar

Director Ivan Ayr's Hindi feature, Soni, is set to be screened in the Orrizonti Competition  (Horizon section) of the Venice International Film Festival. Soni stars newcomers, Geetika Vidya Ohlyan and Saloni Batra in the lead roles. Ivan Ayr has also written the screenplay of the film (along with Kislay) and edited it.

The 75th Venice Film Festival is set to begin on 29 August and will continue till 8 September. Among the more prestigious film festivals in the world, Venice is often considered by filmmakers as a testing ground before the Oscar selections begin. This year the festival will see entrants like Damien Chazelle's First Man, Alfonso Cuaron's ROMA, Luca Guadagnino's Suspiria are among the key favorites in the competition. 

Ayr's film marks his debut as a feature filmmaker, although he has previously directed shorts Lost and Found (2014) and Quest for a Different Outcome (2015). The latter won Best Film at the San Jose Short Film Festival. Soni will feature in the Horizons Section of the competition which is 'dedicated to films that represent the latest aesthetic and expressive trends in international cinema'. The film became an official selection at 75th Mostra Internazionale d'Arte Cinematografica - Venice Film Festival, 2018. 

Soni was a part of the ‘Work In Progress’ section at the NFDC Film Bazaar 2017 where it had won two awards, the Facebook Award for Best ‘Work-In-Progress’ Project and Prasad DI Award for the Best Film in the ‘Film Bazaar Recommends’ section.

It was among the 5 films to be selected for the ‘Work in Progress’ Lab at NFDC Film Bazaar 2017 for post-production support where it was mentored by the renowned French editor Jacques Comets (Wajib - Locarno 2017 Don Quixote Award Winner) and veteran Festival Director Marco Mueller (Venice Film Festival and International Film Festival of Rome).

Speaking about the film getting selected for the Orrizonti section at the festival, Ayr said, "I'm absolutely thrilled and honored to have received this invitation. It is truly a fulfilling culmination to a long journey, being offered this prestigious platform. I want to thank and congratulate the entire team of Soni for their hard work and commitment, and a sincere thanks to Venice for bestowing this beautiful honor on our film." 

The film tells the story of Soni, a young policewoman in Delhi, and her superintendent, Kalpana, who have collectively taken on a growing crisis of violent crimes against women. However, their alliance suffers a major setback when Soni is transferred out for alleged misconduct on duty. Soni’s professional life is further strained by certain developments in her personal life, when she is forced to deal with the sudden arrival of her estranged husband.

Equally elated with the announcement the debutant producer, Kimsi says, “Soni marks my first venture as a producer and honestly I don’t think I could have begun my journey on a better note.  The awards bestowed on it at IFFI Film Bazaar 2017 and the selection at Venice 2018 have reinstated the faith and conviction we have invested in the film.”   

Another Indian film traveling to Venice is Rahi Anil Barve's Tumbbad, which is set to open at the Critics' Week, a parallel event to the Venice Film Festival.