Odisha-born producer's film wins top award at LA Femme fest

Indo Asian News Service

Bhubaneswar, Oct 23 (IANS) English movie "Desires of the Heart", produced by Odisha-born Solila Parida, has won the best foreign film award at the LA Femme Film Festival in Los Angeles.

"We have tried to tell an untold story in an entertaining way. I am happy that everybody liked the film. It was team work," Parida told IANS over phone from New York, where she is based.

"Desires of the Heart" is a love story that focuses on 'Sati' practice followed in certain Indian communities in which a recently widowed woman would immolate herself on her husband's funeral pyre. The practice was banned several times, with the current ban dating to 1829 by the British.

The film, which deals with the 'Sati' practice in a light manner with a good dose of drama, suspense and great music, was shot in Savannah, Georgia as well as in Bikaner, Rajasthan.

The cast includes Hollywood stars Val Lauren and Alicia Minshew and Bollywood actors Gulshan Grover and Harsh Mayar.

Award-winning director James Kicklighter went behind the camera to narrate the story and Rajesh Rathi was roped in to direct the India portion of the film. Anthony Guerrero edited the film.

Jitendra Mishra, also from Odisha and known for co-producing award-winning film "I Am Kalam", is the associate producer of the film.

"We have finished the film in September 2013 and started getting invitations from several international festivals along with rave reviews. We are planning to release the film in India as soon as we get a like-minded distributor," Parida said.

Born in Berhampur town of Odisha, about 180 km from state capital Bhubaneswar, Parida, a multi-talented professional, did a course in direction and production from Hollywood Film Institute.

She settled in the US over two decades ago and she has been making international movies for the global market in English with both Hollywood and Bollywood stars. "Desires of the Heart" is her fourth feature film after producing "Vishkanya", "Koi Hai" and "Bandit Lovers".