Indian film wins award

Some members of the cast of Big in Bollywood promote the film.

By Bert Eljera

LAS VEGAS – Big in Bollywood, a film about being successful in show business and how to deal with instant fame, captured the Best Foreign film award at the Las Vegas Film festival, which ended Sunday.

The 80-minute film was one of four Asian and Asian-American feature films showcased in the four-day festival at the Las Vegas Hotel that drew hundreds of film enthusiasts to the various screenings and special events.

Now on its fifth year, the film festival attracted more than 1,000 entries – from students and experimental films to those produced, directed and acted by veterans.

Among the celebrities who graced the filmfest were Lea Thompson, noted for her Back To The Future movies, and Louis Gossett Jr., whose film, An Officer And A Gentleman, celebrated its 30th anniversary.

Festival director Milo Kostelecky designated a full day of screenings for the Asian films and tapped Lee Ann Kim, executive director of the San Diego Asian film Foundation, to help in the effort.

In addition to Big In Bollywood, featured were Aftershock, a film from China, and the South Korean movie, Sunny. Another entry, Hang Loose, featured Filipino-American Dante Basco as actor, writer and producer.

Other Asian-American films in the festival were Bang Bang and Model Minority.

Big in Bollywood centers around Omi Vaidya, a 27-year-old struggling American actor in Los Angeles. He landed a role in a Bollywood film 3 Idiots, and went to India to better understand the culture.

Armed with cameras, Vaidya and his buddies went to Mumbai to document the premiere of his movies, which became a hit, and transformed the actor into a celebrity.

Aside from the language barrier, Vaidya struggled with the pressure of is newly-found fame, and getting back on his feet after returning to Los Angeles.

Big in Bollywood is a film about what it is to be successful in show business, seen through the eyes of Vaidya’s best friends, who saw his career transformation firsthand.

The list of winners:

Grand Jury Award: The Trouble with the Truth directed by Jim Hemphill

Jury Award: Servitude directed by Warren P. Sonoda

Jury Award: In Mexico directed by Ash Adams

Special Jury Prize: Homecoming directed by Gursimran Sandhu

Special Jury Prize: Shoot the Moon directed by Alexander Gaeta

Special Jury Prize: Thief directed by Julian Higgins

Best Feature Film: Welcome To Dopeland directed by Len Dell’Amico

Best Animation:    The Panda Rabbit directed by Randy D. Rosario

Best Comedy: The Op Shop directed by Lee Rogers

Best Crime: Table Six directed by Bryan Artiles

Best Director: MoniKa directed by Steven R. Monroe

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