Celebrating our 10th Birthday, the UK and Europe’s largest South Asian film festival showcases our richest ever assortment of entertaining and thought provoking line-up of independent films.


This year’s highlights include a red carpet opening night at Picturehouse Central with the exciting World Premiere of cop whodunit Article 15, starring Bollywood star Ayushmann Khurrana directed by Anubhav Sinha. Our closing night marks the return of Ritesh Batra, the director of The Lunchbox with the premiere of Photograph starring the legendary Nawazuddin Siddiqui.


In our 10th year we are literally stuffed to the rafters with great films.  It is certainly our most diverse showcase with 10 languages, 7 talented women directors’ films are premiered and we reflect India’s controversial new wave of LGBTQ+ themed films. We also highlight young emerging talent from all over South Asia through the Satyajit Ray Short Film Competition.


Our themed strands in this brochure kick off with Bengal Tigers highlighting this regions unique contribution to Indian and world cinema.  There is an opportunity to catch Bengal’s hottest new talents with films like eerie sci-fi Ghost of the Golden Groves, or Unsaid, to legendary filmmakers including a Q&A with one of Kolkata’s finest master’s Buddhadeb Dasgupta alongside his magic realist film The Flight. We also honour the recent passing of director Mrinal Sen with a restoration of his classic Khandhar and offer a rare screening of Jean Renoir’s The River at new venue partner Cine Lumiere.


Keeping our reputation up as the Punk Rock of Indian film festivals our strand Young Rebel literally busts all the stereotypes with an action-packed, fun and thought provoking bunch of movies exploring younger lives. Multi-award winning director Rima Das returns to LIFF with her must-see Bulbul Can Sing. Coming-of-age comedy The Lift Boy will have you falling off your seat, while the Roobha and Kattumaram premieres present young lives struggling to find their own space in the system. In Chuskit a disabled Ladakhi girl fights for her education.


True to the festival’s mission to screen films about real people’s stories, deep dive into our Extra-Ordinary Lives strand with amazing documentaries and dramas from across South Asia. An audience favourite at Cannes, we present the Mumbai romantic drama Sir, and the rollicking Hindi hit The Man Who Knew No Pain that delves into Tamil pop-culture in Mumbai. Don’t miss the tense Kannada whodunnit Arishadvarga, or the unforgettably feel-good documentary My Home India (bring tissues).


Our Film, Power & Politics strand at Barbican and partner universities offers a critical insight into the fast moving political changes of South Asia with a screening of Toronto (TIFF) doc, Reason by Anand Patwardhan, based on a true terrorist incident the compelling Bangla drama Saturday Afternoon, Gandhian values black comedy #Gadhvi and Kashmir based Widow of Silence are a few films to look out for.


We are expecting a host of filmmaker Q&As and special guests, including Parched star Radhika Apte, and one highlight is the return of festival favourite director Anurag Kashyap of Sacred Games and Gangs of Wasseypur fame. Make sure you buy your tickets in advance for this one!


We are delighted to welcome back our regular many partners including Title Sponsor the Bagri Foundation, who share our passion for Asian arts and culture, for the fifth year in a row. We also offer a special thanks to the BFI Audience Fund for their valued contribution, and many more friends and supporters.


Please remember there are no adverts before festival screenings so arrive on time.


We look forward to seeing you there!


Cary Rajinder Sawhney
Executive & Programming Director