[T]his year India is represented at Sundance Film Festival by one fiction film and two documentaries–Gangs of Wasseypur, Fire in the Blood and Salma— which is commendable considering its track record at the premier film festival. The three films were selected from 12,146 submissions from all around the world.
In 2012, Valley of Saints (India-US) by Musa Syeed won the World Cinema Audience Award in the Dramatic category. In 2011, The Bengali Detective (India-US-Britain) directed by Philip Cox competed in World Cinema Documentary section while Anusha Rizvi’s Peepli (Live) participated in World Cinema Narrative competition in 2010.
This year, not only there are three films from India at the festival, but Anurag Kashyap has been invited to sit on the World Cinema Dramatic Jury. For Gangs of Wasseypur, Kashyap was awarded the Screen International Jury Grand Prize for Achievement in Directing at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards 2012 and has now been nominated for the Asian Film award for Best Director.
Gangs of Wasseypur will have an out-of-competition screening at the festival under ‘Spolight’ section. This section presents films that have been welcomed and appreciated at festivals across the globe. The list of international films that Gangs of Wasseypur has toured ranges from Cannes and Toronto to Stockholm and Sydney.
Dylan Mohan Gray’s Fire in the Blood and the India-UK co-production Salma by Kim Longinotto will screen in World Cinema Documentary Competition.
Mumbai-based Indian-Canadian filmmaker Dylan Mohan Gray, who has assisted Fatih Akin, Deepa Mehta and Mira Nair, makes his feature debut with Fire in the Blood which is shot on four continents. The film narrates the story of how in the late 1990s and early 2000s, western governments and pharmaceutical companies blocked low-cost antiretroviral drugs from reaching AIDS stricken Africa–causing 10 million or more unnecessary deaths–and the improbable group of people who decided to fight back. The film is tentatively scheduled to release in India in April 2013.
Kim Longinotto’s Salma will receive its World Premiere at the festival. It chronicles the life of a young girl from south India who was locked by her parents on reaching puberty and decides to fight her way back to the outside world twenty-five years later. This is not a first for the director at Sundance. Better known in India for her documentary Pink Saris, Longinotto was presented with the Jury Prize in the World Cinema Documentary category for her UK production Rough Aunties in 2008.
Sundance Film Festival will be held from January 17-23 in USA.