The London Bengali Film Festival (LBFF) is an annual celebration of films from or about the Bengali Diaspora which takes place in the UK capital. The festival will once again be held in person, in London, and will feature special guest and talks, followed by a red carpet film awards ceremony, thus making it the largest Bengali film festival in the world, outside of Bengal.
Bengali cinema is known for its deep meaning and intelligent approach. It is considered the most intellectual and artistic of the regional cinemas that make up that large body of works called "Indian Cinema" -- an almost impossible term for the large subcontinent, so filled with culture and differing traditions.
LBFF is the vision of its Founder and CEO, producer Munsur Ali who also co-founded the DAC (Digital Arts Collective) based in the largest film studios in London. The festival's Director is Subidita Bhattacharya, of Moringa Entertainment, a long time MIME favorite who has been in the entertainment industry since starting as an intern for the London-based international sales company WestEnd Films at the Cannes Film Festival. We are also proud that our own E. Nina Rothe is on the festival's Advisory Board, along with other prominent figures in the international film world.
Kicking off at the Barbican Centre on April 26th, LBFF will introduce London audiences to the UK premiere of Muhammad Abdul Quayum's latest film The Golden Wings of Watercocks, a soulful work which film critic Bidhan Biberu called "a document of the topography, climate, cultivation, myths, rituals and people's lifestyle of the Haor region of Bangladesh." The film premiered at the 2022 Kolkata International Film Festival where it won a Golden Royal Bengal Tiger Award for Best Film.
Day two of the festival will see the UK premieres of Into the Mist by Amitabha Chaterji and A Holy Conspiracy by Saibal Mitra, which stars Naseeruddin Shah as Anton De Souza, an attorney whose defense of the Reverend Basanta Kumar Chatterjee is based on the historical Scopes Monkey Trial in the US of 1925. The cast is rounded out by Soumitra Chatterjee, Partha Pratim Majumdar and Kaushik Sen.
Day three will see "A Conversation With Kaushik Ganguly" whose latest film An Angel's Kiss (Lokkhi Chele) will close the festival in its UK premiere. The UK premieres of The Terrace by Indrani Chakrabarti and Joon by Barnali Ray Shukla feature two fascinating women's stories and will also playing on the same day, in venues to be announced.
Day four will see three short films play, directed by Amit Ashraf, Bhuiya Redwanur Rahman and Tanni Chaudhuri. And before announcing the awards on Day five of the LBFF, there will be two films playing, the UK premiere of Ganguly's closing night film, as well as another UK premiere, Chabiwala - The Keysmith by Raja Ghosh. While the festival focuses on the Bangla culture and the stories of its people, there will be two awards handed out, including the Audience Choice, voted by the moviegoing public, and the Spirit of Bengal Award, given to a film which encapsulates the spirit of the London Bengali Film Festival.
It is important to note that all films will feature English subtitles. For more info and to book tickets, check out the LBFF website.
Top image from 'The Golden Wings of Watercocks', courtesy of the festival, used with permission.