An encore for ‘Evening Shadows’ at A/perture
For the next installment in its ongoing screening series, Winston-Salem’s International LGBT Film Festival OUT at the Movies will present an encore screening of the award-winning drama Evening Shadows, at A/perture Cinemas on Dec. 11.
The film, which was the closing-night selection for the fifth annual OUT at the Movies International LGBT Film Festival, held in October, receiving both an honorable mention from the jury as best narrative and the Best Performance in a Supporting Role for Mona Ambegaonkar.
Both Ambegaonkar and the film’s producer, Mohammed Shaik Hussain Ali, are scheduled to attend the screening and participate in a Q&A session afterward. There will then be a reception honoring them at Canteen Market & Bistro (411 W. Fourth St., Winston-Salem).
Rex Welton, the festival and series co-founder and director said, “Ali was in Winston-Salem for the festival and fell in love with our city. When he found out that Mona wanted to travel from India to the U.S. for several screenings, he decided to bring the film and Mona to three cities: Boston, New York, and Winston-Salem! I am really proud that Winston-Salem was selected.”
Directed and co-scripted by Sridhar Rangayan, and set in present-day Mumbai, the film focuses on Vasudha (Ambegaonkar), a middle-aged matriarch who learns that her beloved son Kartik (Devansh Doshi) is gay and romantically involved with Aman (Arpit Chaudhary).
Not only is Vasudha concerned about the potential consequences in so traditional and repressive a society, but also by the reaction of her husband Damodar (Ananth Mahadevan) should he find out.
The story is based on producer Ali’s own experiences as a young gay man in India and marks his producing debut. “The film is a universal coming-out story,” he observed. “It is the story of every queer man, who is either lucky to have or wants to have a loving relationship with their mother. Every person is able to draw references to the onscreen moments, whether it was the heterosexual couple from Western India who had to go through caste-ism; or the homosexual couple from the Ukraine who identified with the long-distance calls, motherly stares, and fatherly opposition; or the single gay person from Canada whose mother was identical to the onscreen portrayal. Everyone was able to draw parallels to their own life events. It is a story inspired by the lives of every queer person who has undergone the journey of coming out to their parents.”
Despite some dramatic concessions, “I am pleased with the labor of love,” Ali said. “And when it is so well received by the audience – eight awards and counting, 10 accolades and counting, 46 film festivals and counting – it is a feeling beyond words. We constantly get asked over social media as to when we will be releasing the movie to the public at large. We are humbled by the interest and eagerness.”
Evening Shadows also won the People’s Choice Award as Best Feature Film at the Chicago South Asian Film Festival, the Independent Vision Award (Interfaith Discernment Award) and a nomination for the jury award as Best Feature Film from the Kansas International Film Festival, the jury award as Best Men’s Feature from the North Carolina Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, the Courage Award for Best Narrative Feature from Out Here Now: the Kansas City LGBT Film Festival, the audience award as Best Drama Feature from the Out on Film Atlanta festival, and the jury prize (Free to Be Me) from the Roze Filmdagen Amsterdam (Pink Filmdays Amsterdam) LGBT Film Festival.
Ali was so pleased by the reception at last month’s festival that he wanted to bring the film back for a second screening.
“It is all because of Rex Welton and his amazing Southern hospitality,” he said. “Out at the Movies was very well orchestrated and implemented. I personally had a great time at the festival. Rex had mentioned during our conversations that he would be willing to host the cast if the situation may arise. As the plans for my actress’ impending U.S. visit to attend festivals and Boston were being worked out, it was the perfect opportunity, and Rex was more than willing to arrange the screening!”
Looking back on the widespread acclaim his maiden feature has earned, Ali is happy to share the credit. “I simply consider myself to be the one who signed the check,” he said. “All kudos belongs to the amazing, experienced, capable, and award-winning director and his team. My world-renowned director, Sridhar Rangayan, is a multi-award winning, seasoned personality with many movies under his able belt. And with such an incredible person running the show, I did none of the heavy lifting. The years of planning, workshops, rehearsals, casting, editing, etc. – was all done by the team.”
He also looks forward to what the future holds. “This is just the start of my film-industry journey,” he said. “There are miles to go before I sleep.”
See Mark Burger’s reviews of current movies on Burgervideo.com. © 2018, Mark Burger.