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DESIblitz Film Fusion Festival wins the hearts of audiences and filmmakers

DESIblitz Film Fusion Festival wins the hearts of audiences and filmmakers

With a super mix of Punjabi, Pakistani, Sports and UK & World films, the DESIblitz Film Fusion festival was a sterling success that brought audiences and filmmakers together via their unique films.

The festival showcase featured Jinnah directed by Jamil Dehlavi which was a sell-out and a valued history lesson; India’s Daughter produced by Leslee Udwin which instigated great debate; The Journey Within – The ‘Coke Studio’ Origin Story directed by Mian Adnan Ahmad which took us behind the scenes of this iconic Pakistani music show; the rural societal film Siri The Plight of Indian Farm Workers which had Punjabi audiences totally connected and Cha the terrific animation made by Gagandeep Kalirai. 

All of the films screened at the ODEON Luxe Birmingham Broadway Plaza and Midlands Arts Centre (MAC) contributed to 10 days of delightful and different films enjoyed by festival audiences.

   

Actors Shoib Nikash Shah, Namita Lal and Anushka Sen were special guests at the festival, joined by producer Leslee Udwin, directors Jamil Dehlavi, Tajinder Sindhra and Mian Adnan Ahmad who provided audiences with fascinating discussions and debates around filmmaking, culture, challenges and backstories about their projects.

DESIblitz Film Fusion Festival Programme Director Faisal Shafi said:

“We are humbled by the successful outcome of the first edition of the festival. We were fortunate to have a wonderful group of filmmakers and talent who had gracefully embraced Film Fusion.

“For the inaugural festival, we thank the audience in attendance who came to enjoy some diverse cinema.

“It was a great sight to see a packed cinema hall for Jinnah, with near full houses for Siri: The Plight of Indian Farm Workers and East is East.

“Film Fusion will expand and introduce Bangladeshi cinema from 2023, whilst continuing to elevate and promote Punjabi, Pakistani, and UK & World Films.”

DESIblitz Managing Director and Festival Executive Director, Indi Deol speaking about the festival said:

“I am thrilled to have had the opportunity to work on this exciting new festival and it was an honour to have had actors, directors and filmmakers from all over the world attend and enjoy the festival.

It’s a very tough industry to break into and trying to increase greater representation and opportunities for South Asians in filmmaking in the UK is a long road but it’s a challenge that we take on with both eyes open. It’s sometimes hard to envisage exactly what the response will be to new concepts and fusions with film festivals but overall the response to this festival has been overwhelmingly positive from the public and we are already in discussions with sponsors and film directors about the festival for next year.

This festival is created for the community to fill a void in film screening that has been missing for quite some time. Next year we hope to be back bigger and better and with lots more opportunities for communities to better connect and understand each other.”

The closing night screened the taboo-led Am I Next starring social media influencer and actress, Anushka Sen and featured an insightful Q&A with her. After which, the inaugural DESIblitz Film Fusion 2022 Awards ceremony wonderfully completed the festival by celebrating filmmakers and their contributions to the festival.

Winners of the DESIblitz Film Fusion festival awards are:

  • Best Actor – Shoib Nikash Shah (COUNTRY OF BLIND).
  • Best Actress – Anushka Sen (AM I NEXT).
  • Best Short – CHA  (Animation) – Directed by Gagandeep Kalirai.
  • Best Short Film Director – Shoaib Sultan  (DARYA KAY ISS PAR).
  • Best Film – THE JOURNEY WITHIN – THE ‘COKE STUDIO’’ ORIGIN STORY – Directed by Mian Adnan Ahmad
  • Best Documentary –  OUTSWING –  Directed by Samar Minallah Khan.
  • Best Inspirational Film –  SCARS THAT REMAIN AFTER 100 YEARS OF
    JALLIANWALA BAGH MASSACRE –  Directed by Ojaswwee Sharma.
  • Best Director – Rajeev Kumar (CHAMM).
  • Lifetime Achievement Award – Leslee Udwin.
  • Lifetime Contribution Award – Jamil Dehlavi.

The award for Samar Minallah Khan for her inspiring documentary OutSwing was collected on her behalf by Ziauddin Yousafzai and Toor Pekai Yousafzai, the parents of Malala Yousafzai. Rajeev Kumar was awarded Best Director for his Punjabi film Chamm which tackled caste and community issues with a great story. Shoaib Sultan deservingly won the Best Short Film Director award for Darya Kay Iss Par, which instantly grabbed the audience’s attention and Ojaswwee Sharma’s Scars That Remain After 100 Years of
Jallianwala Bagh Massacre winning Best Inspirational Film brought to the screen experiences of all Punjabi people despite faith or background who experience trauma and loss.

With the festival past its inaugural stage, DESIbllitz Film Fusion is now already in talks with filmmakers and producers for 2023 entries, reviewing the amazing audience feedback and planning some exciting weekenders on their way between now and the next full film festival.