Three films competing at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival in January have an India connection, the best representation for India at the American festival in five years.
Sundance announced its list of films on Wednesday. Two entries come from India, and a third is a United States entry about India.
The American director Steve Hoover’s film “Blood Brother” is about a “disillusioned” American tourist who decides to stay in India after meeting a group of children with H.I.V. The film is competing in the U.S. Documentary category.
“Fire in the Blood,” directed by Dylan Mohan Gray, who holds dual Indian and Canadian citizenship, is an entry in the World Cinema Documentary category. The film “tells the story of how Western pharmaceutical companies and governments blocked access to low-cost AIDS drugs for the countries of the global south after 1996,” according to its Web site.
The British director Kim Longinotto’s film “Salma” has been nominated as a joint entry from Britain and India in the World Cinema Documentary competition. It tells the story of a young girl from South India who is locked away by her parents when she reaches puberty, a plight that befalls “millions of other girls around the world,” according to the film’s summary. After more than two decades, she finds her way back to the world outside and goes on to become a writer.
Ms. Longinotto is known for making films centered on women; her film “Rough Aunties,” about a group of women in South Africa who look after “abused, neglected and forgotten children” from the city of Durban, won the jury prize at the 2009 Sundance festival in the World Cinema Documentary category.
At the 2012 Sundance festival, “Valley of Saints,” an entry from India and the United States, won the World Cinema Audience Award in the Dramatic category. The film, based in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, is about Gulzar, a boatman who decides to escape the valley in search of a better life. But life has other plans, and he finds himself assisting a scientist in an environmental study at the Dal Lake in Srinagar. The Sundance jury praised the film for its “brave, poetic and visually arresting evocation of a beautiful but troubled region, and for its moving, nuanced and accurate depiction of the relationship between a local boatman and a young woman scientist whose research challenges the status quo and offers hope for a restored ecosystem.”
There was no other entry from India in 2012.
At the 2011 festival, India was also represented by just one film, a joint entry from India, the United States and Britain in the World Cinema Documentary category. “The Bengali Detective,” set in Kolkata, followed the adventures of an “overweight dance-obsessed intrepid detective.”
Though the movie won no awards at the festival, its portrayal of Rajesh Ji, a real-life detective, caught the eye of Fox Searchlight Pictures, which acquired worldwide remake rights from Native Voice Films.
In 2010, a more mainstream Indian movie, Anusha Rizvi’s “Peepli (Live),” the tale of a farmer who decides to commit suicide so that his family will receive compensation from the government, was entered in the World Cinema Narrative competition. The film, which was also India’s official entry to the Oscars that year, did not pick up an award at Sundance.
There were no films from India at Sundance in 2008 or 2009.