9th Indian Film Festival to Present Films that Touch Heart & Soul


HOUSTON: In its ninth edition, the annual Indian Film Festival will present feature films, documentaries and short films that will appeal to both South Asian and mainstream audiences. The festival will take place October 6-7 at the Asia Society Texas Center.

“The films submitted this year reflect the historic changes in the world today and illustrate courage, art and a defense of human rights and expression through unique and personal perspectives that touch the heart and soul,” explained Sutapa Ghosh, Founder and Festival Director.
On Friday, October 6, presentations include a feature film at 5:15 pm, followed by a Q&A session. This will be followed by a short film, and then a documentary.

Mango Dreams is a feature film directed by John Upchurch. The 93-minute English film is about a Hindu doctor with dementia and a Muslim auto rickshaw driver, who form an unlikely friendship as they cross India in search of the doctor’s childhood home.

Mango Dreams is John Upchurch’s first feature film. Upchurch grew up in a small farming town in North Carolina, surrounded by storytellers — his grandparents, farmers at the country store, and the neighborhood barber. He believes that a good story, told well, does more than just entertain, it provokes thought between laughter, healing between tears, and inspires hope. The passion to inspire positive change is what drives Upchurch’s storytelling.

The Leftovers is a 23-minute short film to be screened at 7:15 pm. Directed by Tina Thadani, the film in English language is the story of two women, who have left their reputable jobs to open makeshift schools in the heart of Mumbai’ s slums. The film follows the teachers’ trials and tribulations with the community of the lower income class, whose families know that education is the only way out for their kids.

Tina Thadani is a TV presenter from Canada, who currently works for B4U Anand. She also is an actor, who shot a pilot called Guru, which was recently screened at Cannes. Thadani felt a powerful connection to share the story about the women, who opened schools for the underprivileged. Thadani’s thoughts were, “You get all these visions from up above, with powerful messages, and you just want to take a camera and shoot.”

Limitless is a documentary to be screened at 7:45 pm Directed by Vrinda Samarth, the 59-minute film explores the lives of eight long-distance female runners, who rediscover themselves through running. The film reveals their insecurities, their bruised body image, their battered self-confidence, and their guilt at accepting that they need some me-time too. This is the story of women who reached the edge of their bounds, braved against them, pushed them, and, they discovered that the sky is the limit.

Limitless is Vrinda Samarth’s first feature documentary as a director. She enjoys experimenting and constantly recreating new narrative styles. She finds stories about raw and real characters most appealing and powerful. She started as an assistant director in Trends Ad Films, where she worked with National award winner V. K. Prakash. Since then, Samarth has worked on many national and international campaigns and feature films. She has also acted in Kannada regional film “Aidondla Aidu”. As a part of Believe Films, Samarth worked on many ad and digital campaigns for advertising agencies.

Description of the films screened on Saturday, October 7 will be published in next week’s edition of Indo-American news.