Festival run continues for Richa Chadha and Ali Fazal’s ‘Girls Will Be Girls’


The dynamism of Indian cinema continues to make waves on the global stage, with “Girls Will Be Girls,” the debut production from Pushing Buttons Studios—founded by acclaimed actors-cum-producers Richa Chadha and Ali Fazal—earning a coveted spot at the prestigious South By Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival. This announcement follows hot on the heels of the film’s success at Sundance, where it garnered critical acclaim and notched several awards.

“Girls Will Be Girls” will be showcased in the illustrious Festival Favourites category at SXSW, a segment devoted to highlighting the standout films that have resonated with audiences and critics alike. SXSW, celebrated for its eclectic and vibrant program, is set to take place from March 8 to 17 in Austin, Texas.

Directed by Shuchi Talati, “Girls Will Be Girls” is a coming-of-age narrative that follows the life of an audacious 16-year-old girl as she grapples with adolescence in the microcosm of a boarding school. The film explores the complexities of growing up, relationships, and self-discovery, set against the backdrop of societal expectations in India. Starring Kani Kusruti, Jitin Gulati, Preeti Panigrahi, and Kesav Binoy Kiron, the film promises authentic performances that add depth and nuance to a story that is both specific in its cultural context and universal in its appeal.

The brilliance of “Girls Will Be Girls” has not only captivated audiences but also the jury at the Sundance Film Festival, resulting in the movie winning the Audience Choice Award for Best Film. Additionally, a Special Jury Award commended the outstanding performance of lead actor Preeti Panigrahi. The film’s narrative potency and cinematic execution also propelled it onto the list of the best films at Sundance 2024, as curated by renowned international publications.

The transition from actors to producers has been a significant leap for Chadha and Fazal, who have demonstrated equal efficacy behind the camera, channeling their artistic insights into their production venture. The film is a collaborative production, brought to life by Pushing Buttons Studios in partnership with Blink Digital and Dolce Vita Films—a synergy that speaks to the power of cooperative creativity in the film industry.

Expressing their enthusiasm, Chadha shared her sentiments on this latest milestone, stating, “We are elated and honored to have our debut production, Girls Will Be Girls, selected for the prestigious SXSW Film Festival. This journey from concept to screen has been immensely rewarding, and the film’s recognition at Sundance only fueled our excitement.” She underlined their commitment to crafting a universally resonant coming-of-age story alongside an exceptional team helmed by Talati.

Echoing her excitement, Fazal conveyed his anticipation of the response the film will receive at SXSW, acknowledging, “The selection in the Festival Favourites section at SXSW validates our collective efforts and affirms the film’s impact.” He extended a heartfelt thank you to the loyal audience, insightful critics, and supportive festivals that have embraced their film with open arms.

The couple’s foray into producing with “Girls Will Be Girls” signals a new chapter in their careers, solidifying their roles as multifaceted contributors to the cinematic arts. Their labor of love has not only resulted in a sensitive portrayal of adolescence but has also added a fresh narrative to Indian cinema’s evolving canon.

The screening of “Girls Will Be Girls” at SXSW is a testament to its wide-reaching appeal and the promise of diverse narratives in film. As the festival draws near, Chadha and Fazal look forward to introducing their work to new audiences, building on the momentum of their success, and paving the way for more compelling stories from India to be celebrated on the global stage.

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