New York Indian Film Festival

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The New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF) is an annual film festival that takes place in New York City, and screens films relating to India, the Indian Diaspora, and the work of Indian filmmakers. The festival began in November 2001 and was founded by Aroon Shivdasani and the Indo-American Arts Council. About 40 films are screened, including features films, shorts, documentaries, and animated films.


The festival began in November 2001 as the Indo-American Arts Council Film Festival (IAAC). It was founded in response to the attacks of September 11, as a way to educate the community on Indian culture.[1] The first festival took place at the Imagin Asian Theatre. Subsequent festivals have been hosted by Tribeca Cinemas, The Walter Read Theater at The Lincoln Center, Asia Society, Aicon Gallery, Cantor Film Center at New York University, and SVA Theaters. The opening night ceremony of the 2011 festival took place at the Paris Theater.[2]

In 2007, the festival partnered with The Mahindra Group to help the festival grow and reach wider audiences. The festival also changed its name to The Mahindra Indo-American Arts Council Film Festival (MIAAC).[3]

The festival began a series of one-minute cell phone films in 2008, in collaboration with New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, New York Film Academy, and Whistling Woods International Institute for Films, Media, Animation and Media Arts.[4]

In 2011, the festival was moved to May, instead of its traditional November date. India Abroad journalist Aseem Chhabra took over as festival director, and the festival name was changed to The New York Indian Film Festival.[5]

The Festival[edit]

Each year, the festival screens about 40 films from Indian filmmakers, or films relating to India or the Indian Diaspora. Throughout the festival, industry panels and discussions with filmmakers are held, with Q&A’s after the screenings. Frequent festival attendees include Mira Nair, Salman Rushdie, Padma Lakshmi, Shabana Azmi, and Deepa Mehta.

The festival will usually hold a retrospective to honor a prominent filmmaker, artist, or actor, and will screen a number of their most notable films. Past retrospectives have featured Mira Nair, Smita Patil, and Rabindranath Tagore. The 12th NYIFF will feature a retrospective on the Indian film director Shyam Benegal.[6]

Many films had their New York or world premiere at NYIFF, including:


The festival’s jury consists of 13 members who have worked in both the Indian and American film industry. The jury's votes are monitored and collected by KPMG.[7]

  • Poorna Jagannathan (Actress)
  • Ashish Avikunthak (Professor)
  • Myrna Moncayo-Iyengar (Corporate Strategist)
  • Udayan Gupta (Journalist)
  • Muriel (Mike) Peters (Producer)
  • Sabrina Dhawan (Screenwriter)
  • Kavery Kaul (Filmmaker)
  • Madhur Jaffrey (Actress)
  • Jerry Carlson (Professor)
  • Claus Mueller (Professor)
  • Parag Amladi (Film Scholar)
  • Zenobia Shroff (Actress)
  • Nilita Vachani (Documentary Filmmaker)

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Bhushan, Nyay. "New York Indian Film Festival Gets New Dates, New Name". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 6 April 2012.
  2. ^ "11th Annual 2011 NYIFF". New York Indian Film Festival. Retrieved 6 April 2012.
  3. ^ "The Indo-American Arts Council and Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. announce their partnership to form THE MAHINDRA IAAC FILM FESTIVAL". Indo-American Arts Council. Retrieved 6 April 2012.
  4. ^ "NY Indian Film Fest partners with three film schools". India Post. Retrieved 6 April 2012.
  5. ^ Dore, Shalini. "Indo-American Arts Council ups its game". Variety. Retrieved 6 April 2012.
  6. ^ "NYIFF 2012 SIDEBAR : SHYAM BENEGAL RETROSPECTIVE". New York Indian Film Festival.
  7. ^ "Awards". New York Indian Film Festival. Retrieved 6 April 2012.