Her 2020 festival is still happening, but it’s unlikely to feature international guests. There will be a few screenings of “a few good films”. “Every day the situation changes and we are constantly adapting. I was thinking about how best to move forward and have ‘something’.”

They introduced an online film club for Indian cinema fans in which the director comes onto Zoom afterwards and fields questions. It’s been “great fun” and they plan to keep it going every fortnight.

The new project has barely been announced and she’s already fielding applications from young filmmakers throughout the world.

It was born out of their annual competition for original short films, many of them addressing the themes of the migrant experience, “most made by really struggling filmmakers putting all their resources in, no funding, you can tell the uncle stepped in who has never acted and the grandmother made sandwiches, but it’s done with so much love and thought”, Lange says.

“I thought it would be nice to take this to the next level, create short films based on the theme of diversity. I was discussing it with some directors in India and they said they would come out, mentor some selected filmmakers and each make a film with one team.

“I’d like to think I’m clever but it just took on a life of its own.”

The filmmakers taking part are “absolute rock stars”, she says. Rima Dias, Kabir Khan, Onir and Imtiaz Ali are award-winning, popular directors beloved in film festivals.

One local filmmaker, 28 year-old Kauthar Abdulalim, says she hopes to be part of the project. She started working on documentaries with Open Channel but has switched to fiction and is developing a web series set in Melbourne called Salma and the City.


“It’s like a Muslim version of Sex and the City, but without the sex,” she explains.

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