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The Federation of Indo Americans of Northern California (FIA) presents their annual Festival of India and Parade to celebrate the richness of India’s culture and heritage. This year, FIA introduces the first San Francisco Global Movie Fest.

The Movie Fest will showcase the best of world cinema fostering creative and technical talent. It will present the newest and best films from around the world and hope to teach its audience about other cultures, current event topics, and the filmmakers’ own experiences.

Short films, documentaries, and feature films (up to 120 minutes in length) are submitted by independent filmmakers from around the world (China, Philippines, Australia, etc.) and will be screened at either California Theater or Towne 3 Theaters in San Jose August 15 through August 17, and juried by a panel of industry professionals. Winners are chosen based on content, innovation, and technical execution. Movie Fest categories include: narrative short, narrative feature, documentary feature, Bay Area Film Initiative, and South Asian Panorama.

A press conference will be held on August 15 at the California Theater, followed by a Red Carpet reception that will be attended by Hollywood insiders, Bollywood celebrities, dignitaries, ambassadors, producers, directors, and actors, including comedian Eddie Griffin, who will be giving a standup comedy performance. At 9 p.m. the world premier of the movie, Last Supper, will be shown. Written by Vojko Anzeljc, Param Gill, and John Buchanan. Gill is also the movie’s director. He is an American film director and writer of Indian descent, known for directing films that tackle diverse themes. Last Supper is a funny, touching story about two romantic and ambitious lunatics, Fumnanya (Eddie Griffin) and Andy (Josh Meyers) who escape a mental institution with a video camera. They set out to make a movie about their romantic adventure to find a princess and be rewarded with a magical kiss.

Romesh Japra, Convener and President, has high hopes for the success of the Movie Festival. He stated, “[We wanted] to include most of the global communities to be a part of this festival. We’re trying to build a platform for all the global communities to join us, [so that] we can learn from each other, to get the youngsters more excited [so that they] become more involved once they see that the other communities are part of [this event]. The whole world is a family and we want the whole world to be happy and prosperous. [Our goal is to] unite the communities and [inspire] Indian Americans to take the lead. We want to empower everyone, through music, culture, and movies. That’s why we decided to include the Movie Fest as part of the [Festival of India].”

Attendees can expect to partake in the same festivities during the three-day event. The Festival kicks off with a flag-hoisting ceremony on Thursday, August 14 at San Jose’s City Hall; San Jose Council Member, Ash Kalra will be presiding.

The event will continue through the weekend of August 16 and August 17 in Fremont with a mela, dance competitions, cultural programs, Bollywood musical extravaganzas, and a parade. The popular health fair will have more than 50 physicians and allied health professionals available to provide free health services. There will be a kid’s corner at the fair with rides and games for children, as well as booths of arts and craft, boutique shops and food stalls. No matter your age or interest, there will be something to entice and entertain all of your senses—from watching ethnic Indian dances to tasting authentic Indian fare.

“The Federation’s mission is to promote unity in diversity and democracy, and to build [a] healthy relationship between various Indian and American communities,” stated Rajesh Verma, FIA Chairman. He added, “The Festival will have many invited dignitaries, from all walks of life, such as politicians, artists, singers, dancers, and musicians. In the past, the FIA team has brought to you many celebrities from Bollywood.” And this year is no exception, as the 2014 Parade Grand Marshal is none other than Ayushmann Khurrana. The famous Bollywood star of  Vicky Donor fame and TV host will be leading the parade through downtown Fremont.

Ritu Maheshwari, Chair of Media Relations and Publicity, summed it up best, “[The] Festival of India and Parade has, over the years, tried to integrate large sections of community. This year it has gone global with SF Global Movie Fest. With movie entries from over 40 different countries, it is attracting huge number of young volunteers. Tremendous social media response promises to transform this year’s festival into a global online movement as well. Anyone can join and participate via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and web.”
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Thursday, August 14, 6:30 p.m. Indian Flag Raising and Festival Kick-Off at San Jose City Hall.
Friday, August 15, 5:00 p.m. Opening Night Gala, Red Carpet, and Press Conference at California Theater.
Saturday, August 16 and Sunday, August 17. 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Mela, Health Fair, Cultural Programs, Singing and Dance Competition in Fremont.

Sunday, August 17, Noon-2 p.m. Parade (corner of Paseo Padre and Walnut Ave., in Fremont). Awards Night Banquet at San Jose Garden Airport Hotel.