India’s Last Film Show wins Asian World Film Festival

Last Film Show (aka Chhello Show), India’s Oscar nominee, was crowned the winner of this weekend’s Asian World Film Festival in Los Angeles.

Writer-director Pan Nalin and producer Dheer Momaya were presented with the Snow Leopard Trophy at the Saban Theater in Beverly Hills.

“The best film encompasses everything we want to see in a great film: good storytelling, moving performances, technically appealing, visually compelling, and a heartfelt connection with the audience. We received a number of very good films this year and it was a difficult decision. But this film reminded us why we loved cinema. It reminded us of cinema’s ability to enchant and inspire. It’s a love letter to cinema, to light and to life itself,” say festival judges Janet Nepales and Pitof Jean-Christophe.

The film has been showing at festivals for over a year since it debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival in June 2021. It’s finally nearing a commercial release in the US, which could boost its visibility as it seeks a Best International Feature Film nomination. Samuel Goldwyn Films has set a release date for December 2nd. It had a commercial release in Gujarat, India on October 14, 2022, giving it the necessary qualifying theatrical release in its native territory.

“This award comes at just the right time while we are busy screening the 95th Academy Awards,” Momaya said. “For a year we’ve insisted ‘Last Film Show’ [as an] in theater-only experience.”

Inspired by director Pan Nalin’s own childhood, the film follows the dreams and aspirations of a nine-year-old boy named Samay (portrayed by Bhavin Rabari) in rural Gujarat. Obsessed with seeing movies on the big screen, Samay’s life takes a dramatic turn when his beloved neighborhood cinema converts from 35mm to digital.

Other Asian World Film Festival winners included Iranian director Houman Seyedi’s ‘World War III’, which premiered at the Venice festivals and will next be screened at the Hainan Island Film Festival. He received a Special Jury Award and Best Actor Award at the AWFF for Mohsen Tanabandeh.

The Snow Leopard Award for Best Actress went to Singapore’s Hong Huifang for “Ajoomma,” He Shuming’s drama about a middle-aged woman obsessed with contemporary Korean culture, which premiered in Busan last month.

Asian World Film Festival: Winners and Award Winners 2022

Best movie: “The Last Film Show” directed by Pan Nalin (India)
Best actor: Mohsen Tanabandeh for World War III (Iran).
Best Actress: Hui Fang Hong for “Ajoomma” (Singapore).
Special prize of the jury: “World War III” (Iran)
audience award: “Aurora’s Sunrise” (Armenia) dir. Inna Sahakyan.
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Scholarship Award of $5,000: “Warsha” (Lebanon-France) dir. Dania Bdeir.
$60,000 Panavision Grant for Best Feature Cinematography: “Kerr” (Turkey) (Andreas Sinanos, cinematographer).
Panavision $15,000 Best HFPA Short Film Shooting Grant: “Deer” (Iran) Dir. Hadi Babaifar.
Stars Collective Prize for Emerging Filmmakers of $2,000: “Burul” (Kyrgyzstan) dir. Adilet Karzhoev.
The Bruce Lee Prize: Daniel Wu, actor, martial artist, director and producer.
Snow Leopard Award for Outstanding Cinematic Achievement: Park Chan-wook, writer, director and producer of Decision to Leave.
Snow Leopard Lifetime Achievement Award: Albert S Ruddy, Producer.
Snow Leopard Rising Star Awards: Desmond Chiam, actor, writer and producer. India’s Last Film Show wins Asian World Film Festival

Charles Jones

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