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School of Media.

“What’s been really great is the level of support

we’ve been getting within the city; Birmingham

City University are on board as a sponsor and we’ve

been getting great support from the Asian Business

Chamber of Commerce.

“We’re working with a range of cinemas and

growing our audience year-on-year; we’ve got Sunny

and Shay from Radio WM’s drivetime show as

our ambassadors, and this year Antonio Akeel, a

Wolverhampton-born actor who starred in one of our

films from last year, Eaten By Lions, has just joined us

as an ambassador for our fifth anniversary.

“Students from BCU are also getting involved in

a manner of guises, from promoting the festival to

coming to each screening and getting feedback from

the audience. We’re also making sure we’re using

their skills and helping them to develop so they will

be taking photographs, making videos and manning

social media for us too.”

What sets Birmingham Indian Film Festival apart is

the opportunity to meet and mingle with filmmakers

and stars at the screenings.

“The festival will see the Birmingham premiere of

the incredible must-see documentary My Home

India, about how India gave refuge to over 5,000

Polish starving children after world War II, and we

hope that the director Anjali Bhushan will be in town

to tell this proud story which is guaranteed to have

you in tears of joy,” says Cary.

“The multi award-winning director Rima Das returns

with another celebrated film Bulbul Can Sing and

we are proud that we brought her to the attention

of the UK first. We celebrate older masters this year

including the great Bengali director Buddhadeb

Dasgupta who, in spite of health challenges, has

kindly agreed to grace us with his presence for the

preview of his sumptuous magical realist movie The

Flight - think the Guillermo del Toro of India!

“And another most famous return is now the greatest

current indie filmmaker Anurag Kashyap, who gives

a special don’t-miss Screen Talk at the festival.”

The festival has worked tirelessly to promote the

virtues of South Asian cinema to a wider audience,

bringing a diverse range of films to appeal to a

plethora of film-lovers.

“Our audiences have always been diverse I’m pleased

to say, and this has included Bengali, Pakistani,

Gujarati and other South Asian communities in

the city and West Midlands,” says Cary. “But it’s

also thanks to great support by venues like MAC

Birmingham at Cannon Hill, Mockingbird Cinema at

the Custard Factory and Cineworld Birmingham who

have brought us an increasingly non-Asian audience

of fans keen to see fresh and more realistic images of

India and South Asian in all its myriad perspectives.

“We have very actively been involved in breaking

the myth that Indian cinema is just commercial

Bollywood and now mainstream journalists and

audiences are aware that there is such a thing as

Indian independent cinema and these are films that

both entertain and make you think.”

Dharmesh adds: “When you think about Indian

cinema you think of Bollywood straight away; people

think it’s the all-singing, all-dancing escape-type





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