Awards and international appreciation for Onir’s I AM

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In India, Onir’s next film I AM hasn’t even released yet, but at International film festivals it has already made its mark. After the Engendered Award for Human Rights in New York and the Audience Choice Award at the River to River Festival in Florence, I AM now also bagged two awards at the IFFK: a Special Mention by the official international jury and the NETPAC Award as Best Asian Film.

I AM is, as the official website states, “about people with fractured lives held together by unbroken dreams”. Four short films – Afia, Megha, Abhimanyu and Omar – woven together to one film about issues and dilemmas that bruise the modern Indian society, including child abuse and sexual discrimination. Director-Producer Onir and Actor-Producer Sanjay Suri hope to bring another dimension to independent cinema in India with I AM which also is remarkable for it’s unusual way of funding arrangement: As Onir couldn’t find financial backers for his project, he asked for help on Facebook. The people’s reactions were overwhelming, and Onir did not just get enough money so he could start shooting, he also got volonteers who worked for free on the sets as well as in the production’s background. All these sponsors and volonteers are now named as co-owners resp co-producers in the film’s credits.

I AM starring Juhi Chawla, Manisha Koirala, Nandita Das, Sanjay Suri, Rahul Bose, Purabh Kohli, Abhimanyu Singh, Shernaz Patel, Arjun Mathur, Radhika Apte, Anurag Keshyap and Anurag Basu is slated for a release in February 2011.

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