The 20th MAMI Festival is geared to entertain film buffs. Ronita Torcato is thrilled
Today, all roads lead to the 20th edition of Mumbai's very own international filmfest, the Jio Mumbai Academy of Moving Image (MAMI ) Mumbai Film Festival with Star which promises a surfeit of cinematic riches at multiple theatres across the city until November 1. Registrations are still open to the seven-day movie festival although passes may not be available to the movie of your choice. You can register here for Rs 500 only at https://in.bookmyshow.com/special/jio-mami-20th-mumbai-film-festival-with-star/ET00082823
The Fest opened with Vasan Bala’s The Man Who Feels No Pain (Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota) the outrageous story of a young man born without pain receptors who longs to defeat 100 opponents in a tournament. The #MeToo movement had its fallout on the fest which axed AIB's Chintu ka Birthday, Rajat Kapoor's Kadakh and Shazia Iqbal's Bebaak. Film-maker Anurag Kashyap resigned from the MAMI Board of Trustees. But film fans will be fully satisfied with the line-up which the globe, multiple Indian states and a latter-day Babel of languages including Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Hindi, Punjabi, Bengali and Gaddi as well as Hebrew, German, Greek, Hungarian, Polish, Turkish, Austrian, French and of course, English.
The selection also has a range of titles that have been making waves at festivals around the world. The closing film is Steve McQueen’s Widows. Set in contemporary Chicago, amidst a time of turmoil, it revolves around four women with nothing in common except a debt left behind by their dead husbands' criminal activities, who take fate into their own hands, and conspire to forge a future on their own terms.
The Excellence In Cinema Award will be bestowed to Shyam Benegal, who was instrumental in starting the festival, for his defining contribution to the landscape of Indian cinema. MAMI signed an MOU with the Canadian Consulate for exchange on a regular basis in sourcing films and leading talent from both countries. MAMI is also presenting a battery of conversations and master classes with filmmakers Darren Aronofsky, Sean Baker and Lucrecia Martel, Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos and MUBI Founder Efe Cakarel.
MAMI will be commemorating the late Sridevi and honouring her for her exceptional contribution to Indian cinema. The festival will also honour the iconic Swedish auteur Ingmar Bergman in the centenary year of the master’s birth with four of his best works and one documentary about him by Margarethe von Trotta. MAMI has also instituted two awards for excellence in writing (English and Malayalam).
MAMI has tied up with Festival Scope Pro, a leading B2B platform allowing programming of selected festivals around the world to be viewed online. Festival Scope Pro partners with a network of more than 100 festivals and co-production markets.
This section showcases short films which are of a duration of fiveminutes or less and are made by Mumbai-based filmmakers between the ages of 18 and 25. This year’s Dimensions offers 16 shorts across both fiction and documentaries.
Films are eligible for the Audience Choice Award which offers a cash prize of Rs 10 lakhs to be equally shared by the director(s) and producer(s). This year, the festival will premiere 14 new titles.
WORD TO SCREEN MARKET
This is a first-of-its-kind platform for great literary narratives to find their way to screens. Conceptualised and helmed by Anupama Chopra, Kiran Rao and Smriti Kiran, it is championed by actor Sonam Kapoor and curated by publisher, Arpita Das along with a robust selection committee. This year, over 200 titles in 10 languages were presented for optioning by authors and publishers from across India to over 120 content creators and production houses.
This is a competitive section where winners stand to win Rs 25 lakhs for the Golden Gateway Award, Rs 15 lakhs for the Silver Gateway Award and Rs 5 lakhs for the Jury Grand Prize. This year, the festival will premiere nine breakthrough titles including Kabir Singh Chowdhry’s Mehsampur based on the true story of the Punjabi singer-composer Amar Singh Chamkila and his wife Amarjot who were shot dead by militants in 1988 in Mehsampur prior to a performance; and Jaaon Kahan Bata Ae Dil. Directed by Aadish Keluskar, the film has also been shortlisted for the Oxfam Award for Best Film On Gender Equality.
Films in this section will also vie for the same handsome cash prizes as above. This section will premiere 12 debut features— which include one World premiere and one Asia premiere. The eclectic selection comprises both documentary and narrative features from 21 countries in 13 languages. This is also the first time in two years that the International Competition selection features an Indian film, Meghalaya filmmaker Dominic Sangma’s debut MA•AMA which was presented in NFDC Film Bazaar’s Work in Progress Lab 2017.
This section premieres a plethora of diverse voices in cinema from cultures and countries around the world. The 64 films include 14 women directors, cover 43 countries and 37 languages. The films are eligible for the Audience Choice Award which offers a cash prize of Rs 10 lakhs.
‘Film festivals are magic’
India has the world’s largest film industry with over 1,900 films produced annually across 20 languages. According to a recent report by the Motion Picture Association and consultants Deloitte, the size of the Indian film industry in 2017 was estimated at $2.3 billion. This figure is estimated to reach $3.1 billion by 2022.
Festival Director Anupama Chopra thinks film festivals “are magic because for a few days, during the festival, it feels like films are the most important thing in the world. Festivals offer the opportunity to discover cinema that you may not encounter otherwise and listen to artists talk about how they do what they do. I don’t think anything can quite match the wonderful madness of a film festival.
“Doing MAMI for us is institution building so the challenges are vast. Since it’s a live event, these can’t be predicted either—right now I’m just praying it doesn’t rain on opening night. But the satisfaction of seeing the festival come together makes up for all the stress and sleepless nights. As for ensuring that MAMi is as successful as possible, we keep trying. We work harder and we try and reach as many new people as we can each year. “
Mumbai’s very own film fest
This specially curated out-of-competition section showcases new, exciting work from critically acclaimed Indian filmmakers. It has three feature films, of which two are world premieres plus an anthology of five short films.
This section includes films both—Indian and International—that hold up a mirror to cinema that sees India from the outside, as a third eye looking into what is familiar and obvious but viewed differently. Curated by journalist and film programmer Uma Da Cunha, this section showcases the world premiere of Chippa (Dir. Safdar Rahman,Hindi) and three directors.
This section has four world premieres, Amaltash, Ashleel Udyog Mitra Mandal, Bardo, and Photo-Prem. Also, the film Dhappa which won the Nargis Dutt Award for Best Feature Film on National Integration at the 65th National Film Awards.
This segment celebrates the youngest medium for storytelling; the internet and premieres the best in digital content in India and the world along with conversations on the state of online cinema.
This segment will be screened at Matterden, previously known as Deepak Cinema at Parel. Half Ticket awards are decided by a six member children’s jury, selected through contests among participating schools. This year’s selection has 21 films including award-winning Rammat Gammat (My Best Friend Shoes) which has participated in 20 international and Indian film festivals so far. Written and directed by Ajitpal Singh, the Gujarati-language-short is the only Indian selection this year at CINEKID in Amsterdam, the largest children's media festival in the world attended by over 80,000 children, parents and industry professionals.
THE NEW MEDIUM III
Curated by Shaina Anand (PVR ECX CitiMall, Andheri) features 16 multi-screen films, many of them Asian premieres, as well as video installations by six women artists and filmmakers, and fivemen and five collectives of artists.
MAMI YOUNG CRITICS LAB
Launched in 2010, this Lab provides a platform of mentorship and guidance for aspiring film critics and journalists. This year’s mentors are National Award-Winning Film Critic Baradwaj Rangan and The Guardian’s Mike McCahill.
Stellar films will also be screened in the Restored Classics section, in Rendezvous with French Cinema and the After Dark showcase of horror, sci-fi, fantasy and grindhouse films.