Indian Film Festival of Cincinnati brings diverse storytelling to Queen City screens

Showing a diverse range of international stories and stars, the Indian Film Festival of Cincinnati returns to several movie theaters and museums across Southwest Ohio.

A collection of 17 different films – ranging from 24-minute shorts to two-hour features – will be shown between Thursday, Aug. 17 and Sunday, Aug. 20.

Ratee Apana interviewed on the red carpet during the Indian Film Festival of Cincinnati.

Events begin Thursday, with a Prelude Showcase presentation of “Three of Us” by director Avinash Arun at the Mariemont Theatre. The 98-minute feature, which has English subtitles, is a relationship drama set in the stunning Konkan region of Maharashtra. 

The official opening night film – “Call Me Dancer” by director/producer Leslie Shampaine – is being shown the following evening at the Cincinnati Art Museum. Showtime is 6 p.m.

A full list of films, venues and showtimes is below.  Check the website for more details and after-party information.

Ratee Apana, IFFCincy’s executive director, expressed excitement about what she believes will be a “transformative experience.” 

“We are thrilled to share these captivating films with our Cincinnati audiences. Each film has been carefully selected to engage diversity through the art of cinema,” Apana said.

Promoting diversity, understanding through film

Now in its seventh year, the Indian Film Festival of Cincinnati has a stated mission to “engage diversity through film.”

These films tell multi-generational stories representing various cultures, genders, countries, religions and happenings in South Asia. All films were at least subtitled in English, and some were made right here in the United States.

Apana described the themes of this year’s films as being “relatable to all cultures that bring out our common humanity.”

“We invite the community to join IFFCincy in this noble cause and walk in the shoes of different characters, cultures and communities,” Apana said.

“Our goal is to create an inclusive space that resonates with all communities, promoting dialogue and fostering a shared sense of connection.”

People eat food during an Indian Film Festival of Cincinnati event at the Cincinnati Art Museum.
People get food during an Indian Film Festival of Cincinnati event at the Cincinnati Art Museum.

To further promote diversity, the film festival is donating net proceeds from ticket sales to provide scholarships to Cincinnati Public Schools students so they can participate in the Cincinnati Sister Cities Youth Ambassador Program (India).

The exchange program asks the high school students to participate in Academy Sessions where they not only learn how to interact in their host country and what they can expect, but also how to best represent Cincinnati and the U.S. abroad.

Cincinnati became Sister Cities with Mysore, India, in 2012. The 50-square-mile city in India’s southern state of Karnataka has a population of nearly 900,000. It’s about 8,700 miles from downtown Cincinnati.

“Together, we can make a difference in lives of Cincinnati’s youth and pave the way for a brighter, more inclusive future,” Apana said.

Indian Film Festival of Cincinnati schedule

Prelude Showcase – Aug. 17 at Mariemont Theatre at 7:30 p.m.

  • Three of Us from director Avinash Arun 
  • Runtime: 98 minutes
  • Subtitles in English

Opening Film – Aug. 18 at Cincinnati Art Museum at 6 p.m.

  • Call Me Dancer from director/producer Leslie Shampaine
  • Runtime: 84 minutes
  • English language film

Special Screening – Aug. 19 at Mariemont Theatre at 11 a.m.

  • Bully High from director/writer Bill McAdams Jr.
  • Runtime: 94 minutes
  • English language film

Shorts Collection – Aug. 19 at Mariemont Theatre at 1:35 p.m.

  • Bad Egg from director/writer Mehak Jamal
  • Runtime: 28 minutes
  • English language film
  • Shenanigans from director Lulu Valencia
  • Runtime: 7 minutes
  • English language film
  • Butterscotch from director Mayank Deogaonkar
  • Runtime: 14 minutes
  • English language film

Feature presentation – Aug. 19, Mariemont Theatre, Wooster Pike at 4p.m.

  • Footprints On Water from director Nathalia Syam
  • Runtime: 106 minutes
  • English language film

Feature presentation – Aug. 19, Kenwood City Base Theatre at 7:30 p.m.

  • “To Kill a Tiger” from director/writer Nisha Pahuja 
  • Runtime: 125 minutes
  • Subtitles in English

Shorts Collection – Aug. 20, Mariemont Theatre at 1 p.m.

  • Challenge” (documentary) from director Ramen Borah
  • Runtime: 36 minutes
  • Subtitles in English
  • Two Worlds from director Nithya Gopalakrishnan
  • Runtime: 12 minutes
  • Subtitles in English
  • Unsuitable from director/cinematographer/editor Kaustuv Mukherjee
  • Runtime: 28 minutes
  • English language film
  • “Vishappu” from director Sunish Sasidharan
  • Runtime: 7 minutes
  • Subtitles in English
  • “Rat in the Kitchen” from director Arkish Aftab
  • Runtime: 22 minutes​
  • Hindi and English language film, with subtitles in English

Centerpiece – Aug. 20, Mariemont Theatre at 3:15 p.m.

  • Max Min & Meowzaki from director Padmakumar Narasimhamurthy
  • Runtime: 135 minutes
  • English language film with closed captioning

Closing Film (double feature) – Aug. 20, Mariemont Theatre, 7 p.m.

  • Colonel Kalsi from director/editor Anand Kamalakar
  • Runtime: 39 minutes
  • English language film
  • Colonial Interlude from director Kanniks Kannikeswaran
  • Runtime: 37 minutes
  • English language film

Indian Film Festival of Cincinnati


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