Habitat International Film Festival: 10 days, 20 countries, over 60 films

- March 11, 2023
| By : Mohd Shehwaaz Khan |

The festival will screen award-winning and critically-acclaimed cinema from across the globe with Australia as a focus country

Habitat International Film Festival (HIFF) 2023 is going to be held at India Habitat Centre from March 17 – 26. The festival will screen 60 films from 20 countries with a special package from Australia as a focus country.

Apart from films, Q&A and interactive sessions, and a Festival Café serving a selection of International Street Food are the few highlights of this year’s edition.

Sunit Tandon, Director, India Habitat Centre says, “The HIFF is back in its full-fledged form this year, with an exciting line-up of top-notch new cinema from across the world that is bound to be a treat for all film enthusiasts. Australia is the focus country in this edition and we also bring a cutting-edge VR Section to the Festival for the first time. Aspiring filmmakers will not want to miss the unique opportunity provided by Kieślowski Film School Documentary Workshop. I am delighted at the overall package curated by our Programmes Team for HIFF 2023.”

Highlights of the Habitat International Film Festival 2023:

  1. Focus country – Australia will present six of its finest contemporary films of 2022 and 2023. The opening film, The Dreamlife of Georgie Stoneshowcases the elliptical memories of the teen activist’s historic fight for transgender rightsIvan Sen’s Limbo arrives fresh off the boat to India straight from its Berlinale 2023 premiere; others include The Lonely Spirits Variety HourSweet As, and Survival of Kindness.
  2. Documentary workshop – A four-day documentary workshop by The Kieślowski Film School from Poland (Krzysztof Kieślowski was an alumnus, yes!). A faculty of festival directors, filmmakers and editors will teach the art of documentary film-making. Grzegorz Paprzycki, acclaimed new voice in contemporary Polish cinema and a Kieslowski Film School alumni, will also be one of the workshop trainers. A hands-on workshop, with live editing sessions, discussions and practical exercises designed to hone skills as filmmakers.
  3. Tech meets Art – For the first time, the festival will present cinema’s latest innovation – VR and 360° video – in partnership with the Goethe Institute. Virtual Reality Program – a package of animation, short and documentary films – will focus on female and non-binary creators from around the world, and explore the relationship between the past and the present.
  4. MUBI Friday – Four films that approach the anarchy of love and its expression across different eras will be presented. These include the classic (Wong Kar Wai) to the contemporary (Joachim Trier) and the futuristic (David Cronenberg).

Award-winning features at HIFF:

  • Elvis, the buzzing Austin Butler-starrer, Baz Luhrmann biopic that premiered at Cannes and nominated for multiple Oscars.
  • Rheingold, Fatih Akin’s (Germany, Netherlands, Morocco, Mexico) high-octane adaptation of the swagger and bombast of German rap star Xatar’s 2015 autobiography All Or Nothing.
  • Carla Simón’s (Spain) Alcarras, a deeply intelligent and empathetic humane drama that engulfs you in the heat and dust and dysfunction created by market forces. The film has won 16 Awards and 51 nominations, including the much-coveted Golden Bear (Berlinale 2022).
  • Perfect Number – The return of the veteran Polish filmmaker, Krzysztof Zanussi, and his search for philosophical answers in mathematical theories.
  • The poignant We are Still Here, an anthology film about stories of indigenous heroes from Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific, overcome obstacles in their way so they can finally be masters of their own destiny.
  • Winner of the Best Screenplay at Cannes 2022 – Boy from Heaven, takes us into the heart of a ruthless power struggle between Egypt’s religious and political elites.
  • The latest Berlinale Awardee (2023), The Survival of Kindness follows Black Woman’s escape from a cage in the middle of the desert, to the city, recapture, and tragedy.
  • Oscar nominee EO by Jerzy Skolimowski (Poland) follows a donkey, who on his journeys encounters good and bad people, experiences joy and pain, exploring a vision of modern Europe through his eyes.

Further enriching the features line-up are some equally remarkable documentaries, shorts, and animation films.

  • DOC NYC 2022 nominee, Closed Circuit by Tel Inbar (Israel), is a documentary that captures the heart-pounding trauma of the 2016 terrorist attack in Tel Aviv’s Sarona Market.
  • Winner of ‘Best Documentary Feature’ at The Roxbury International Film Festival and Filmocracy Fest, Hostile by UK filmmaker Sonita Gale explores the UK’s complicated relationship with its migrant communities.
  • Winner at the Warsaw Film Festival 2022, Region of Heroes by Artur Lerman (Ukraine) is the story of those who heroically and selflessly saved thousands of Ukrainian lives during the Russian occupation.
  • Winner of the Special Jury Award at Roxbury Film Festival and the International Humanitarian Award at Flickers’ Rhode Island International Film Festival, The Bengali by Kavery Kaul (USA) is a story of a writer from Louisiana, who embarks on a quest to India to look for her grandfather’s descendants.