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Screenings have now been announced for Birmingham Indian Film Festival (BIFF), supported by Birmingham City University and the BFI, part of the UK and Europe’s largest South Asian film festival, opening Friday 21 June until Monday 1 July 2019.

This year marks its 5th anniversary, showcasing a rich assortment of entertaining and thought-provoking independent films that have been winning awards and making global impact, including India’s new wave of LGBTQ+ films.

The Festival is presented by the Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival which is celebrating its own 10th anniversary and is extending to Manchester and Bradford.

Birmingham Indian Film Festival will run across the city for a phenomenal 11 days at existing partner venues: Cineworld Broad Street; MAC Birmingham, Cannon Hill Park; and The Mockingbird Cinema and Kitchen, Custard Factory. This year we welcome new partner venue Centrala based in Digbeth.

Cary Rajinder Sawhney, Executive & Programming Director of the festival said: “The Festival has dynamically opened the UK media and audiences to Indian and South Asian independent cinema in all its linguistic diversity, and that’s something we are extremely proud of. Punching above our weight as always, this year is probably our strongest programme ever with exciting Midland premieres, rarely seen archival masterpieces, and some seriously cutting-edge dramas and documentaries.”

The  celebrations will open with a sparkling red-carpet event at Cineworld Broad Street, for the Birmingham Premiere of the hard-hitting Article 15, starring India’s hottest male star Ayushmann Khurrana, ahead of its UK and worldwide release later in the month.

The Festival is particularly delighted to welcome Anurag Kashyap, in a rare chance to hear the experiences of India’s most famed cult director. A unique talent and India’s best-known filmmaker on the global festival circuit. His Netflix series Sacred Games was a global smash hit and is set for season 2.

Cary continued “We are very proud that the Festival is in its 5th year and building a new cinema audience in Birmingham. Over 70% of those surveyed during the 2018 festival were new visitors to Cineworld, MAC Birmingham and The Mockingbird cinemas combined. The festival also saw an increase in understanding of South Asian cinema for over 90% of audiences, with 56% first time attendees. It’s also very exciting that the films shown last year were supported by diverse audiences from across all communities in the city.”

To help celebrate its 5th anniversary the Festival welcomes Midlands born actor Antonio Aakeel best known for his roles in City of Tiny Lights and the hit film Tomb Raider.

Antonio added I was fortunate enough to be part of the festival last year with my film Eaten by Lions which won the audience award for Best Film and I am honoured to be returning to the Festival team this year as an ambassador for its 5th anniversary. It’s an important time to showcase the varied and diverse stories that South Asian independent cinema has to offer and is a great platform for both emerging and established talent. I’m hoping my involvement will only increase the incredible engagement the festival receives from film makers and film lovers alike.”

Antonio joins BBC Radio WM’s popular afternoon presenters Sunny and Shay who have been ambassadors for the overall festival (London and Birmingham) for the last 8 years.

Screenings will be subtitled in English.  Ticket details for all films will be available at www.birminghamindianfilmfestival.co.uk as they go on release.   #WEloveBIFF

Featured image: Sir