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An academic from De Montfort University with a passion for Asian cinema plans to showcase India’s contemporary film-makers with a dedicated three day festival.

Dr Monia Acciari, an Early Career Academic Fellow in Film Studies, aims to encourage the South Asian communities to connect with a new wave of Indian film at the event, to be held at the Phoenix cinema in March.

Photo Credit: Pukaar News

As a taste of things to come, a free screening of the award-winning ‘Queen’ will be held later this month, showcasing the type of film audiences can expect – those which demonstrate the ever changing face of Indian culture and highlight work being produced outside of the Bollywood mainstream.

Dr Acciari said: “There is a revolution going on in modern day Indian cinema. There are films in local languages and many of them show the changes in Indian culture and the tensions existing between traditional and modern life there.

“Of course, I’m very interested in Bollywood cinema and seeing how people have used it to reconnect with their homeland. But now my interest is shifting. I’m attending film festivals to look at how cinema from India is changing. That is the kind of cinema I’m planning to bring here to Leicester, what is called new wave Indian cinema – new authors, new ways of talking about and representing India.”

Dr Acciari, originally from Italy, discovered her love of the medium when she met her Indian husband and on moving to Leicester a year and a half ago was surprised to find no such festival to exist. She added: “There are so many places in the US and Europe that celebrate Indian cinema, so surely we should do the same in multicultural Leicester.

“The scope is to bring back South Asian communities to the cinema and enjoy a film together. At the same time, it’s important because we need to make sure this new image, this new modern India, is something we communicate about, especially with the South Asian diaspora living here in the UK”

Run in partnership with DMU Square Mile India, DMU Local and the university’s Cinema and Television History research group, the festival is working with established partners such as Leicester’s Phizzical Productions and Tongues on Fire, producers of the London Asian Film Festival. The event will take place between the 17th and 19th of March, showcasing seven contemporary films across the three days.

This month’s free screening of ‘Queen’ will be held at the Belgrave Community Centre at 6:30pm, Friday 27th January. The story tells of an under-confident Punjabi girl from New Delhi, who sets off alone on her honeymoon to Paris and Amsterdam after her fiancé calls off the wedding.

The screening is limited to 100 places. Reservations can be made by calling Josh Hargreaves on 0116 2078680 or through the dedicated Eventbrite link here.

By Jennifer Morris