SAIFF 'Presents' opening title


NEW DELHI -- The third annual South Asian International Film Festival will open with the premiere of "Loins of Punjab Presents," a comedy directed by Manish Acharya, organizers said Friday.

The New York-based SAIFF, which runs Oct. 3-9, is dedicated to supporting emerging and established artists from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

New Jersey-set "Presents" follows five Indian-Americans and one Jewish Indophile who participate in a Bollywood-style singing contest. Co-star Shabana Azmi is set to receive a lifetime achievement award at the festival.

"We are excited to kick off the weeklong event with such an entertaining film that our audience will really enjoy and relate to," SAIFF festival director Manjri Srivastava said. "It is SAIFF's continuing mission to discover and promote up and coming independent South Asian filmmakers and we believe writer-director Manish Acharya is one to watch in the future."

Added Acharya, a graduate from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Film program: "I know how important it is for us have the perfect audience for this film for its American debut, and that is why I am so excited about having its premiere here at SAIFF."

The film won NYU's Dennis Riese Award and won best feature award at the 65th annual First Run Film Festival.