"Love Sonia", a film starring Demi Moore, Freida Pinto, Rajkummar Rao and Richa Chadha among others, will open the Birmingham Indian Film Festival (BIFF), to be held in the British city in June.
The fest is returning for its fourth consecutive year, hosting curated premieres of South Asian independent films that offer rare glimpses into some of the billion plus lives in the sub-continent and beyond.
Sister to the Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival (LIFF), it is regarded as Europe's largest Indian film festival and will take place from June 22 to July 1.
The cast of "Love Sonia", directed by Tabrez Noorani, also includes Manoj Bajpayee, Anupam Kher, Adil Hussain, Sunny Parwar and Mrunal Thakur. It will mark the Birmingham premiere of the film, produced by Academy Award nominated producer David Womark.
A compelling story of two loving sisters, who are forced into the sex industry in Mumbai, the main protagonist Sonia is sustained by a fragile dream that is worth surviving for. Her searing journey spans three continents and a lifetime of experiences that no young girl should have.
Sonia is determined not to become one of the 800,000 women and children who are victims of the international sex trade industry every year.
Noorani is expected to attend the gala on June 22.
Audiences at fest can expect 10 days of premieres of feature films, documentaries and shorts, exploring a compelling slate of controversial, entertaining and thought-provoking themes with global resonances, plus question and answer sessions and panel debates.
New for this year is the annual LIFF Satyajit Ray Short Film Competition, showcasing the work of emerging filmmakers.
Indian cinema expert and Professor of Cultural Studies and Creative Industries at Birmingham City University's School of Media, Rajinder Dudrah, said: "Birmingham City University is delighted to be a headline sponsor of this year's Birmingham Indian Film Festival and join in the celebrations of South Asian history, heritage, arts and culture.
"The 10-day event will feature a host of inspirational films created by some of the finest creative professionals. We look forward to the films being showcased to generate discussion as well as to entertain."
The gala will close with "Venus", a feel-good comedy about a Canadian Punjabi transgender person who is about to embark on surgery but suddenly discovers they are the father of a teenage boy who thinks they are the coolest dad on the planet.
Cary Rajinder Sawhney, Festival Director, said: "One great thing about being in the UK and especially Birmingham is that we are culturally intertwined to India and South Asia, not just through our shared history but our living, everyday experience where South Asian communities add so much to UK cultural life, of which cinema is an important aspect."
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