The Indian Film Festival Stuttgart ist the largest Indian film festival in Europe. Since 2004 it has been presented by the Filmbüro Baden-Württemberg for one week in July. In 2011 the festival changed its name from ‚Bollywood and Beyond’ to ‚Indian Film Festival Stuttgart’. This name change is meant to indicate that the festival programme does not primarily exist of ‚Bollywood’ mainstream-Hindi-film productions but that the festival also screens the latest film productions from all regions of the subcontinent. The Indian Film Festival Stuttgart represents the growing internationalisation of the Indian film as well as the interest in the Indian culture in Germany.
The twinning arrangement of Stuttgart and Mumbai existing since 1968 was the impulse for the film festival and is still the ongoing inspiration: At the beginning of 2004 a business delegation with the senior mayor of the provincial capital Stuttgart, Dr. Wolfgang Schuster, and the Indian honorary consul, Andreas Lapp, visited India. Within the context of this visit the film and media location Stuttgart and Baden-Württemberg was presented. Thereby the idea to establish an Indian film festival in Stuttgart developed.
The focus of the festival is on films which represent the whole range of the Indian cinema. According to this the festival programme includes classical Bollywood productions but, furthermore, introduces films from all regions of India. Since nowadays the Indian film industry offers ambitious independent, documentary and short films that present a differing and critical view. Frequently these are classical arthouse productions which portray the life and problems of the people in India.
Besides the film screenings lots of events are part of the festival and support the programme thematically. The tea talks, for instance, inform about economic and cultural issues. Therefore, the festival does not solely appeal to film fans, but it also addresses India-lovers, media representatives as well as interested people and experts from the fields of politics, culture, tourism, art and business.
The film festival counted 3,500 visitors in the year of its foundation 2004. In 2012 approximately 7.000 fans of the Indian film culture visited the festival.
Competing for five awards the festival presents feature, short and documentary films. The German Star of India for the best feature film is endowed with 4,000 euros and is awarded by the honorary consul Andreas Lapp. The German Star of India for the best documentary is endowed with 1,000 euros and is awarded by a jury of three experts. The Directors Vision Award is addressed to directors concentrating on cultural and social deficiencies. The Audience Award endowed with 1,000 euros is awarded by the audience who choose the winner out of all films screened at the festival.