India to send women-centric films to Sundance

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A still from "Fire in the Mountains".

This Sundance, expect women-centricity to be the theme for Indian filmmakers aspiring to showcase their talent. Apart from two Indian films, Fire in the Mountains and Writing with Fire, an Indo-US production, LATA, too, is centered around that theme.

The Sundance Film Festival will be held “digitally” between January 28 and Febuary 3, 2021, and showcase 72 features, 50 shorts, four indie series, 14 New Frontier projects to debut on digital platform and satellite screens across the United States. Sundance’s official release states, festival attendees can gather in virtual waiting rooms, participate in live Q&As, and congregate in new, inspired online environments to “interact in a range of ways both new and familiar.”

Indian filmmakers have particularly eyed Sundance ever since Indian-Canadian filmmaker Dylan Mohan Gray’s Fire in the Blood was exhibited at the famed film festival coveted by makers of meaningful cinema. Previous entries from India have included acclaimed hits like Peepli Live and The Lunchbox.

The Indian entries are:

Fire in the Mountains (Feature. Director and Screenwriter: Ajitpal Singh, Producers: Ajay Rai, Alan McAlex) A mother toils to save money to build a road in a Himalayan village to take her wheelchair-bound son for physiotherapy, but her husband, who believes that an expensive religious ritual is the remedy, steals her savings. 

Cast: Vinamrata Rai, Chandan Bisht, Mayank Singh Jaira, Harshita Tewari, Sonal Jha. This will be the world premiere for the film.

Writing With Fire (Documentary. Directors and Producers: Rintu Thomas, Sushmit Ghosh) In a cluttered news landscape dominated by men, emerges India’s only newspaper run by Dalit women. Armed with smartphones, Chief Reporter Meera and her journalists break traditions on the frontlines of India’s biggest issues and within the confines of their own homes, redefining what it means to be powerful. This will be the world premiere for this film.

In addition, a film from India and the United States will find its screening in the US Fiction category:

LATA (Director: Alisha Mehta, Screenwriters: Alisha Mehta, Mireya Martinez) Lata, a 23 year old domestic worker, navigates her way through an upper class home in South Mumbai. Doors consistently open and close, giving Lata selective access to the various contending realities that occupy this space.

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