London: Director Pawan Kumar's Kannada film, Lucia, has won the coveted Audience Award at the fourth London Indian Film Festival (LIFF).
The inventive crowd-funded film, powered by UK-based online outfit Distrify, delighted sold-out audiences across the city. The 10-day festival concluded on July 25.
"To win this award in the face of such powerful competition is a dream come true for me. I thank the London Indian Film Festival for selecting the film for its world premiere and would also like to thank the London audience and the Kannada community in UK for supporting the film," Kumar said.
The festival also featured a rare 'Life in Pictures' Masterclass by Adoor Gopalakrishnan.
Anurag Goswami won the Satyajit Ray Foundation's short film award, held in conjunction with LIFF, for Kaun Kamleshwar (Who's Kamleshwar).
"It's an honour and a great feeling that our efforts have been recognised at such a prestigious avenue. Short films are finding an audience like never before, courtesy festivals such as LIFF. It's very encouraging and satisfying that our voices are being heard all over the world," Goswami said.
Special Jury Mention went to Vikram Dasgupta for his entertaining, bold and vibrant interweaving of stories in the film, Calcutta Taxi.
The London Indian Film Festival opened with Amit Kumar's Cannes favourite Monsoon Shootout and closed with Bombay Talkies, a homage to the centenary of Indian cinema by Karan Johar, Zoya Akhtar, Dibakar Bannerjee and Anurag Kashyap.
The screening was preceded by a speech by actor Gulshan Grover.
"The London Indian Film Festival makes me proud. As a member of the Indian film fraternity, I feel that the festival is doing wonderful things for Indian cinema, especially the cutting edge, progressive cinema that needs a platform for visibility, for reaching out to more people and more hearts."
The LIFF centrepiece called In Conversation was with actor Irrfan Khan. The festival also featured a rare 'Life in Pictures' Masterclass by noted South Indian director Adoor Gopalakrishnan.
"The Festival has gone from strength to strength. It's great to close with a wonderful fusion between Bollywood and independent films, different energies and ideas crashing into each other in dynamic ways; a perfect finale for audiences in an eclectic city like London," said festival director Cary Rajinder Sawhney.