Peepli Live scores high at World Cinema Amsterdam

The festival had a "Soul of India" special focus this year. Peepli Live, which was produced by Aamir Khan, and tackles Indian farmers' suicides, came third in the audience poll, hot on the heels of Asghar Farhadi's 'A Separation' and Yasemin Samederali's 'Almanya'.

The World Cinema Amsterdam Film Festival, which showcases the best independent films from Asia, Latin America and Africa, ran from August 10-21.

Alejandro Landes' Porfirio (Colombia) won the World Cinema Amsterdam Jury Award, while Asghar Farhadi's 'A Separation' (Iran) won the Parool Audience Award.

The Soul of India section had 18 Indian features, short and animation films, that focussed on independent films, rather than Bollywood.

The more popular Indian films here included Q's (Kaushik Mukherjee's) Gandu (the only Indian film in Competition), Rizvi's Peepli Live, Onir's I Am and Kiran Rao's Dhobi Ghat.

The other Indian films included Prashant Bhargava's Patang (Kite), Aamir Bashir's Harud (Autumn) and Sidharth Srinivasan's Pairon Talle (Soul of Sand).

The shorts included Natasha Mendonca's Jan Villa, which won the Tiger Award at Rotterdam. Both Pairon Talle and Harud are partly funded by the Dutch Hubert Bals Fund.

The filmmakers present here included Onir, Q, Aamir Bashir and Prashant Bhargava.

"It was great to get such a superb response for I Am--it simply means the film is universal. The film is largely funded through Facebook contributions, so I was very happy to find a Dutch distributor through the festival as well," said Onir.

"Being at festivals like World Cinema Amsterdam is important for word-of-mouth publicity for my film, which has not yet been released—or censored—in India," Q said.

Explaining the strength of the festival, Director Raymond Walravens said, "The Indian films here show that India is a more contemporary society than even some of old Europe.

There are people of 182 nationalities in Amsterdam and only 8 per cent of its population was born in the city. So through our world cinema programming, we are programming the future of cinema."

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