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DMU joins arts organisations to launch the first Leicester Asian Film Festival

An academic’s passion for Indian cinema has led to her helping to produce the first Leicester Asian Film Festival.

LeAFF - logo

De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) lecturer Dr Monia Acciari, an Early Career Academic Fellow in Film Studies, was surprised to find that one of the most diverse cities in Europe did not have a dedicated festival to celebrate South Asian cinema.

So, in partnership with DMU Square Mile India, #DMUlocal, Leicester arts organisations Phizzical Productions and Phoenix Cinema, as well as London Asian Film Festival, our city will host the First Leicester Asian Film Festival from Thursday 16 March to Sunday 19 March.

Included on the bill at the Phoenix Cinema is the film Lipstick Under My Burkha which was refused a certificate by India’s Central Board of Film Certification, thereby blocking its release. Their reasons included that it is “lady oriented and is “audio pornography”.

The film tells the story of four feisty women in a small town in India who try to steal a piece of freedom from within the confines of their restrained lives.

There is also a fund-raising screening of You Are My Sunday for DMU Square Mile India, which follows five friends in search of a new football pitch after they are banned from Juhu Beach. 

Square Mile India draws upon DMU research to support Indian communities and give students the chance to gain valuable global experiences. The initiative is making a real difference to the lives of some of the poorest and most vulnerable families in the region of Gujarat, India’s westernmost state.

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A total of seven films will be showing during the festival at the Phoenix.

Dr Acciari, who hails from Italy, said her passion for contemporary Indian cinema was awoken more than a decade ago when she met her husband, who comes from India.

She said: “There is a revolution going on in modern India cinema. I started watching Bollywood movies but, having been raised on Italian cinema, I was naturally drawn to the auteurs less present in the mainstream.

LeAFF - Lipstick

A still from Lipstick Under My Burkha

“Bollywood is important but there is so much more to cinema in South Asia. There are films in local languages and many of them show changes in culture and the tensions existing between traditional and modern life there.

“There are so many places in the US and Europe that celebrate South Asian cinema so surely we should do the same in multicultural Leicester.”

LeAFF - You are my Sunday

Some of the cast from You Are My Sunday

Samir Bhamra of Phizzical Productions said: “We are happy to be working alongside such creative organisations for the very first Leicester Asian Film Festival. The festival boasts a varied programme of carefully curated high quality, independent Asian cinema.

Details of all of the films are on the website www.leicesterasianfilmfestival.com or you can book tickets through www.phoenix.org.uk

Posted on Thursday 16th March 2017

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