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IFFLA 2019: Widow Of Silence wins best film, The Field wins best short film

Megha Ramaswamy’s film, The Odds, closed the 17th edition of the festival.

Filmmakers Praveen Morchhale, Shazia Iqbal and Anand Patwardhan at IFFLA 2019

Sonal Pandya

The Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) ended on 14 April with the world premiere of The Odds (2019) and handed out its awards to Praveen Morchhale's Widow Of Silence and Sandhya Suri's The Field.

The 17th edition of the festival took place from 11-14 April. According to a press release from the festival, the 2019 lineup featured of "5 world premieres, 2 North American premieres, 2 US premieres and 11 Los Angeles premieres, with films presented in 9 different languages, and 50% of the lineup coming from female directors".

The narrative film jury was made of director Amman Abbasi, media and communication professor Shekhar Deshpande, and Array vice-president Tilane Jones, while the short film jury consisted of director Amy Adrion, director Andrew Ahn, and producer Megha Kadakia.

Widow Of Silence review: Riveting exploration of ruined lives in a mesmerizing landscape

A still from Widow Of Silence

The night's big winner was Widow Of Silence that took home the Grand Jury Award for Best Feature Film. Anamika Haksar's Ghode Ko Jalebi Khilane Le Ja Riya Hoon was awarded Honorable Mention, while Anand Patwardhan's Reason took home the Audience Award.

Ghode Ko Jalebi Khilane Le Ja Riya Hoon review: A surreal collection of fantasy, gritty realism, and bitter truth

"We present the grand jury prize to a film that illuminates a condition that most of the world doesn't get to see and shines a light on the characters that live through it everyday," the Grand Jury said of Morchhale's film. "This filmmaker's civic disobedience illustrates their love and compassion for their country and their people, and the craft of their filmmaking was beautifully wise and refined."

In the short film category, Sandhya Suri's The Field won Grand Jury Award for Best Short Film. Jayisha Patel's Circle won Honorable Mention and Shazia Iqbal's Bebaak picked up the Audience Award.

"The film takes images that normally evoke a sense of fear and flips the narrative on its head redefining a new more empowered world for the female protagonist and exploring an often unseen story of a woman's drive and agency over her own body and life,” the short film jury said of The Field. "Set against a visually stunning landscape and beautiful photography of rural India, the filmmaker's adept storytelling comes to life flowing through rhythmic twists and turns imbued with both the mundane day-to-day life and desirous love," it added.

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