Cooking With Stella will open the 8th annual Indian Film Fetsival of Los Angeles, to be held April 20 to 25 at Arclight Hollywood. The festival will showcase 33 films from five countries, including four world premieres and seven United States premieres.
Cooking With Stella, the debut directorial venture of Dilip Mehta, brother of Oscar-nominated filmmaker Deepa Mehta (Water) who produced the comedy, is about a lovable but scheming cook for the Canadian high commission in New Delhi whose lifestyle is challenged by an unconventional family of diplomats and an honest nanny.
Part of the proceeds for the opening night event will benefit the Institute for Myeloma & Bone Cancer Research in recognition of the movie's star Lisa Ray, who suffers from multiple myeloma. Ray and Dilip Mehta will be in attendance.
The Waiting City, IFFLA's closing night film, is an intimate portrait of an Australian couple whose troubled relationship is put to test when they travel to Kolkata to adopt a child. It stars New York-based actor Samrat Chakrabarti and Radha Mitchell, known for her roles in Surrogates and Finding Neverland.
Christina Marouda, executive director, IFFLA, said, "As filmmakers of Indian descent forge new relationships in Hollywood, we invite moviegoers and industry professionals to experience our unique and wide-ranging program which includes thought-provoking dramas, engaging documentaries, along with a touch of light hearted fare and a taste of Bollywood."
Among the films on the menu are Nero's Guests, a documentary on India's farmer suicides and one journalist's efforts to educate the public about their suffering; Babies Made In India, which probes commercial surrogacy in India including the ethical questions it poses; Woman Rebel, about a woman's journey from Maoist insurgent to democratic leadership; Fatso, actor Rajat Kapoor's directorial debut about a young man who dies too soon and returns to reclaim his love; Man Beyond The Bridge, about a widowed forest ranger, his relationship with a mute, homeless woman and his desperate attempt to protect the forest from poachers; and Harishchandrachi Factory, India's 2010
Oscar entry, about the birth of the Indian film industry.
The Bollywood by Night segment will feature two recent super hits: 3 Idiots and Kaminey along with the 20th anniversary digitally remastered version of Ashes To Ashes (Raakh Redux), starring a young Aamir Khan in an underworld revenge caper. A sneak-peak of Dev Benegal's Road, the Movie is also slated. Two short-film programs, including several made by Indian-American filmmakers, are on the schedule.
At IFFLA, the festival will confer its Industry Leadership Award to Sanford Panitch, president, Fox International Productions, and Uday Shankar, chief executive officer, Star India. Tennis ace-turned Hollywood producer Ashok Amritraj will receive the Industry Trailblazer Award.
Korn/Ferry International, a Los Angeles based global talent solutions firm, has joined hands with IFFLA to honor South Asians in media and entertainment. This year, women executives will be recognized. Among them are Indu Jain, chair, The Times of India Group; India's soap queen Ekta Kapoor of Balaji Telefilms; writer Jhumpa Lahiri; directors Deepa Mehta and Mira Nair; PepsiCo chief Indra Nooyi; Aparna Pande of Disney Publishing Worldwide; Saijal Patel of CNBC Asia's Market Watch and Worldwide Exchange; Shibani Joshi of the Fox Business Network; Superna Kalle of Sony Pictures Television; Deborah Tellis of Summit Entertainment; and Roma Khanna of NBC Universal International.