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MAMI 2017: Kiran Rao, Anupama Chopra announce lineup for Mumbai film festival

The festival will screen 232 films from 49 countries in 51 languages, from Hindi to English, Samoan to Brij.

Photo: Shutterbugs Images

Sonal Pandya

The 19th Mumbai film festival, which runs from 12 to 18 October, unveiled some of its programming and the international competition jury at a press conference in Mumbai on 14 September.

Chairperson Kiran Rao and festival director Anupama Chopra led a press conference on Thursday to announce the films and events which would be a part of the upcoming MAMI [Mumbai Academy of the Moving Image] festival.

They were joined by the festival’s creative director, Smriti Kiran, and a few members of the board of trustees, filmmakers Anurag Kashyap and Rohan Sippy, producer Siddharth Roy Kapur, PVR chairman Ajay Bijli and Kaustubh Dhavse, joint secretary in the government of Maharashtra.

Rao spoke about strengthening the festival’s programmes that they had started in the past few years. “In order to shape and mould and change the cinema landscape in the city, we realized it was not just to pop up for one week in the year but to have a conversation with our audience for the rest of the year as well,” she said.

The year-round programme has had 24 screenings, masterclasses and workshops since February. Before the festival begins, a Word to Screen market, bringing publishers and filmmakers in conversation, a screenwriting workshop for young adults, and the young Indian critics workshop will have taken place. 

The keenly anticipated Movie Mela, a filmi day filled with panels and conversations, will take place on 7 October, as a curtain raiser to the festival, so that attendees don’t have to choose one over the other.

The panel announced that the international competition jury will be headed by filmmaker John Madden, Mexican cinematographer Alexis Zabe, Hong Kong-American actress Celina Jade, actress-director Konkona Sensharma and Argentine writer-director Santiago Mitre.

Ralang Road, Mukkabaaz, Zoo lead India Gold section of 19th MAMI International Film Festival

The 19th Mumbai film festival will screen 232 films from 49 countries in 51 languages, from Hindi to English, Samoan to Brij. Dipesh Jain’s In The Shadows (Gali Guliyan), Devashish Makhija’s Ajji, Shlok Sharma’s Zoo and Rima Das’s Village Rockstars are some of the Indian films competing in the India Gold section. While Colombia’s Bad Lucky Goat, Turkey’s More (Daha), USA’s Quest, Spain’s Summer 1993 and South Africa’s The Wound are amongst those competing in the international section. 

Chopra said she hopes the festival becomes a platform where new talent and filmmakers get a voice. Rao also said she wants the festival to fill that gap and bring non-formulaic Indian films to a home audience. The festival also wants to “bolster distribution of Indian cinema”.

Rao said, “For our films to even travel to international festivals, filmmakers themselves have to spend the money to apply and travel and there isn’t a well-developed system of Indian independent films, both in India and abroad. These are the films we, as an academy, can do.”

Photo: Shutterbugs Images

Anurag Kashyap spoke about his personal experience, “What festivals do many times to a film is it gives them visibility sometimes that they solely need. Our films Haraamkhor (2017) and Peddlers, which was never released, got visibility because of MAMI. The indie vs mainstream cinema, that divide is across the world. Fandry (2013) was at MAMI before it went to Berlin [film festival]. A film, when it shows at a home festival, is eligible for world premiere at all the festivals. Big festivals will still pick them up.”

Producer Roy Kapur lauded Rao and Chopra and said, “This is the birthplace of Indian cinema and that we didn’t have a world-class festival was a matter of great concern to many, but none of us really did anything about it. In 2014, when they [Rao and Chopra] got involved in the festival and virtually resurrected it from the state it was in, the sort of strides [the festival] has made in the last three years are quite incredible.”

This year, the festival’s opening ceremony will be at Liberty cinema and the festival will screen films in Thane as well, in addition to its usual theatres in South Mumbai, at the Regal, and Andheri (West).

The MAMI Mumbai film festival runs from 12 to 18 September.

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