Festival of Lights vs Fright Night. Whimsical Family Comedy.

Neenu and Bobby are introducing their parents on the night when Diwali meets Halloween. Neenu wants the perfect Diwali, but her nephew Jai wants a spooktacular Halloween. Everything goes wrong in this multicultural comedy of errors. The dog runs away. Bobby gets into trouble. Will they ever have the perfect holiday?

  • Shilpa Mankikar
    ABC-Disney Showcase
  • Shilpa Mankikar
  • Shilpa Mankikar
    Security, Airplanes, commercials
  • Biljana Ilic
    Romeo & Juliet in Yiddish, The Love Hunter
  • Meetu Chilana
    Key Cast
    Monsoon Wedding on Broadway, NBC Talent Showcase
  • Swann Gruen
    Key Cast
    Inside Amy Schumer
  • Abeer Khan
    Key Cast
    Mr. Robot
  • Susham Bedi
    Key Cast
    Royal Pains, Fillum Star, The Guru
  • Bev Sheehan
    Key Cast
    As the World turns, Diner
  • Project Type:
    Feature, Short, Web / New Media
  • Genres:
    Family, Comedy, Dramedy
  • Runtime:
    43 minutes 46 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    July 15, 2020
  • Production Budget:
    50,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Baltimore New Media WebFest
    Baltimore, Maryland
    United States
    November 4, 2017
    Excerpt / Work in Progress
    Best Family Series - Winner
  • Jersey City Popup Film Festival for Halloween curated by Kevin Smith's Producers
    Jersey City, New Jersey
    United States
    October 30, 2017
    Excerpt / Work in Progress
    Winner - Audience Award & Best Actor (Swann Gruen). Nominee - Best Actress (Meetu Chilana)
  • New Delhi Short Film Awards
    New Delhi
    November 9, 2017
    No Screenings / Awards Only
    2nd Place - Best Web Series
  • Largo Awards
    Several Cities in Switzerland
    Best Web Series - September
  • IndieFest
    San Diego, California
    United States
    No Screenings / Awards only
    Award of Merit: October Web Programming
  • Roma WebFest
    November 25, 2017
    Excerpt / Europe
    International Competition
  • Toronto WebFest
    May 26, 2017
    Excerpt - last 10 minutes
    Nominee - Best Family Comedy & Best Diverse Presentation
  • Vancouver WebFest
    Vancouver, BC
    April 21, 2018
    World Premiere
    Nominee - Best Pilot over 30 minutes
  • Garden State Film Festival
    Asbury Park, NJ
    United States
    March 24, 2018
  • Jodhpur International Film Festival
    Jodhpur, Rajasthan
    December 30, 2017
    Asia Premiere
    Competition - Professional Shorts
  • Kids First Film Festival by Coalition for Quality Children's Media
    50 Cities
    United States
  • Bali Film Festival - CJIFF
    September 20, 2019
    Bali Premiere
    Best International Short Film - Winner
  • Yogyakarta Film Festival
    October 16, 2019
    Yogyakarta Premiere
    Platinum Star of Central Java - Best Director - Winner
  • Central Java International Film Festival
    Surakarta city - Semarang city - Borobudur
    August 22, 2018
    Indonesia Premiere
    Best Director - Platinum Star of Java Award / Winner
  • Southampton International Film Festival
    United Kingdom
    October 19, 2018
    UK Premiere
    Best Short Screenplay and Best Pilot - Nominee
  • Seoul Webfest
    Korea, Republic of
    August 16, 2018
    South Korea Premiere
    Best Comedy, Best Editing, Best Ensemble Cast, Best Kids (Abeer Khan) - Nominee
  • Film-Com
    United States
    June 19, 2018
    Pitch Market
  • Asia Web Awards

    Korea, Republic of
    March 28, 2018
    Best Dramedy - Nominee
  • Asia Pacific International Film Festival and Awards
    June 7, 2018
    Indonesia Premiere
    Gold Prize - Short Film - Winner
Director Biography - Shilpa Mankikar

Shilpa Mankikar is an Indian American filmmaker based in New York and India. Shilpa's work combines a commercial sensibility with provocative content. She has a background in Film Distribution, Business Development, and Marketing.

Four of her scripts were finalists at the 2016-8 Sundance Screenwriters Lab. She was a Director at the 2015 ABC-Disney Talent Showcase. Shilpa's films have won the Planet Out 1st Prize at Sundance, the National Board of Review Award, and Best of Fest at international festivals including Palm Springs, Switzerland, and Shanghai. She has interviewed a broad range of influencers including former President Bill Clinton, star Cameron Diaz, writer Maya Angelou, Fortune 100 CEO's, American veterans, and village street sweepers in India. She is a graduate of the MFA Film Program at Columbia in New York, and Oberlin College. Shilpa currently makes music videos, branded content, feature films, and documentaries.

In 2001, she was a Co-founder of 3rd I, a national film distribution network that hosts 106 South Asian diaspora filmmakers per year in the US. Shilpa formerly handled Programming and Outreach for the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival and Marketing for its affiliate CAAM (formerly NAATA) Distribution. After 9/11, she was able to book a national PBS broadcast of anti-hate crimes documentaries. Subjects included South Asians in New York, Sikhs in early 1900's Oregon, Japanese American Internment, and Filipino American veterans. This slate also received a grant for free nation-wide distribution at high schools and libraries.

She also managed Acquisitions and Distribution for Hypnotic, Universal Pictures' Short Film & New Media Division. This included acquiring films at festivals, packaging films for internet and cable, testing early mobile short films, and developing business partnerships with Yahoo, Sundance, B4U, airlines, and ancillary platforms. Shilpa is a contributor to indieWIRE. Credits include Spike Lee's BAMBOOZLED, DESI: SOUTH ASIANS IN NEW YORK (WNET/Channel Thirteen), and the InDigEnt pilot SAM THE MAN (Dir. Gary Winick).

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Director Statement

DIWAL'OWEEN is my tribute to the multi-cultural America that I grew up in, which we need to see more of. People of different backgrounds, grow up in the same neighborhood, and love each other. Misunderstandings lead to humor.

I grew up in a big Indian American community in New Jersey. My family had a huge Diwali party every fall. It was a lively holiday, and everyone we knew was invited. But -- my parents were first generation immigrants, and it was very traditional. We wore traditional Indian clothes and celebrated the old country traditions.

I wrote this piece in November 2014, because my nephews - the 3rd generation Indian Americans - wore Halloween costumes to Diwali dinner. This new generation breaks from traditions, while still celebrating the holidays. The rom-com story line was loosely based on my sister's wedding, when the dog ran away as her in-laws were meeting our parents for the first time. I won't give any other spoilers away.

After Directing at ABC-Disney Showcase, I decided to shoot this in a 2-camera Sitcom style in 2015-6. I was inspired by Black'ish, Fresh off the Boat, and quirky Wes Anderson comedies. It is timely to start a South Asian American sitcom. Casting such a diverse and talented cast took almost a year. Fundraising took almost a year. We shot 10 pages/day some days. I wanted to capture the authenticity of the locations - deep in the woods, Chinatown, suburban New Jersey (which everyone always makes fun of). I also wanted to comment on Indian things that have now become American - yoga, samosas, etc. and bring viewers into an enclave they may not be aware of - the dancers, the oil lamps, and the atmosphere.

This project ultimately celebrates community, quirky families, and the lengths people go to for love.