Actor Richa Chadha and filmmaker Onir have been announced as the jury members for short film competition at the 2021 Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM). The festival organiser said that theme for this year's short film competition is modern slavery and equality.
The theme was decided with the aim to address the threats to the principles of equality, freedom and inclusion in the contemporary world. Chadha is no stranger to the IFFM as her critically-acclaimed feature "Love Sonia" had opened the 2018 edition of the festival.
The 34-year-old actor said she is glad to be back at the festival as a judge this time. "Being a part of IFFM Short Film Festival 2021 as a jury member is an incredible feeling. To be back here again, but as a judge this time, is very exciting.
"We are sure to expect some astounding short films on the theme of modern slavery and equality, both of which are complex subjects," Chadha said in a statement. The actor, who had featured in Arati Kadav's short film "55 km/sec", said she is aware how difficult it is to make a short feature. "Speaking from experience, I am aware of how difficult it is to tell an entire story within a short amount of time, that too on such an important theme. So I'm really looking forward to all the short film entries this year," she added.
Onir, 52, who has been associated with the IFFM since its inception, said he was fascinated and impressed by the depth and diversity of the short films. "I think that modern-day slavery runs in streams throughout our present world and the severe exploitation of people comes in many forms. And while our Constitution says that every single person has the Right to Equality, is that really the case in reality? "This year's theme gives filmmakers a chance to explore these sides of society which reflect the kind of humanity we have in present times. I am excited to see what the filmmakers come up with," the "I Am" director said.
IFFM Festival Director Mitu Bhowmik Lange said she is excited to have Chadha and Onir as the judges for the short film competition. "They are exactly the kind of judges who not only inspire others but have a huge body of supreme work to represent their expertise and flair in their respective fields and we are honoured to have them as our esteemed judges at the 2021 festival," she added.
The physical format of the prestigious festival will run from August 12 to 20, while its digital edition will run from August 15 to 30 across Australia.