Fly fashion, bloodshot eyes and hordes of young’uns two shades paler from not having seen the sun in a week: must be film fest season! The Brooklyn Film Festival just announced that it would return for its 20th year on June 2. While we wait for it to unveil its lineup, here are two other fests to catch if you slept on those Tribeca tickets.
NEW YORK INDIAN FILM FESTIVAL
April 30 to May 7, Village East Cinemas, East Village.
1. Lipstick Under My Burkha. Competing with Hotel Salvation and Death By A Gunj to be the festival’s most-talked-about film, this one follows four women as they discover freedom within their sexuality. India’s Central Board of Film Certification refused to certify it because it was too “lady-oriented”– yet another instance of morally regressive, constitutionally questionable censorship.
2. An Insignificant Man by Khushboo Ranka & Vinay Shukla (May 3, 6.00 pm, Village East Cinemas, East Village): The current chief minister of Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal, has been making history, skirting controversy, winning and losing fans on both sides of the aisle for the past few years. Following a spectacular anti-corruption movement, Kejriwal launched his national political party in 2012, taking on the giants of the political spectrum in an unheard of feat. This film purports to go behind the scenes into a polarizing brand of politics, one that’s seen variously as anarchic, futile and game-changing. With Kejriwal at its center, the film has been described as a “low-key thriller” that’s “well-crafted, briskly edited documentary that is instantly engaging”.
3. Love Commandos by Miriam Lyons (May 6, noon, Theater 4, Village East Cinemas, East Village): In a criminal practice called honor killings, families in India and other countries will often resort to murdering children who marry without approval, across caste and class lines. Lyons’ documentary profiles an incredible volunteer organization run by five ordinary, middle-aged men dedicated to, in their own words, “helping India’s lovebirds who want to marry for love.” While pot-bellied, gruff looking, middle-aged uncles are hardly the stereotype one associates with protecting free love, this inspiring organization does just that. Expect to have archaic morals and stereotypes upended in what looks like a beautifully shot film.
NYC INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL
May 1 to May 7, Producers Club, Midtown.
1. Looking For David by Betsy L. Ross (May 1, 6 pm, Producers’ Club, Midtown): Made by the mother of a man who died from a prescription painkiller overdose shortly after his 30th birthday, this film is a visceral exploration of a mother’s loss through interviews with friends of her son David. The big picture view involves complex, interwoven aspects of drug addiction.
2. How To Defuse A Bomb: The Project Children Story by Des Henderson (May 2, 8:15pm, Producers Club, Midtown): Belfast, Northern Ireland was one of the most bombed cities in the early ’70s. By 1975, Denis Mulcahy, an Irish immigrant and expert in the NYPD Bomb Squad disposal unit started a scheme that helped 23,000 children escape the violence there. An extraordinary story of heart and courage, it’s no wonder the filmmaker has scored interviews with Bill Clinton and Martin McGuiness, and gotten Liam Neeson to narrate.