Jio MAMI 21st Mumbai Film Festival will be on from October 17 to October 24 across multiple venues in Mumbai, the capital city of the west-Indian state Maharashtra.
From October 17, the cinephiles from across the country will be in Mumbai city to attend the screening of Noah Baumbach’s or Martin Scorsese’s new movies or attend the world premieres of the much awaited films. One of India’s biggest film festivals, Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival with Star is all set to begin its 21st edition from October 17. The Mumbai Academy of Moving Image (MAMI) held a press conference in Mumbai to announce its stellar film and talent lineup for the eight-day festival which will showcase over 190 films which includes 50 debuts, 13 world premieres spanning 53 countries and in 49 diverse languages.
Malayalam film Moothon (the elder one) by actor-filmmaker Geetu Mohandas has been declared as the inaugural film. The movie tells the tale of a boy’s journey from the south-Indian island Lakshadweep to Mumbai in search of his healer brother. It will be a first for Malayalam film to open the festival and second time for a film directed by an Indian woman director to be chosen as the opening film.
Sharing her excitement, Geetu Mohandas, director of Moothon, said, “I feel ecstatic. I feel excited because I came back from TIFF and now, we are heading for the MAMI opening, which couldn’t be better for an independent filmmaker like me. MAMI has given me such an amazing platform. So, I am very grateful.”
The lineup for this year
The festival will bring together some of the best cinemas from India and across the world for the thousands of cinema-lovers in the city. A few of the big ticket crowd-pullers this year are the Netflix distributed movies like Fernando Meirelles’ biographical comedy-drama The Two Popes, Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman and Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story, starring Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver. Other Hollywood heavyweights like James Gray’s Brad Pitt-led space drama Ad Astra, Alma Har’el’s Honey Boy (from a screenplay by actor Shia LaBeouf based on his childhood), Joanna Hogg’s The Souvenir, Ari Aster’s folk horror Midsommer and Ken Loach’s Sorry We Missed You. “You have to matter as a festival for big studios to give us their films, so this has definitely been an achievement in the last five years,” said Smriti Kiran, artistic director, MAMI.
Kiran also insists that MAMI is a discovery platform for Indian indie films and said, “This year we have some women making their directorial debut as well, like Arati Kadav, Seema Pahwa and Tannishtha Chatterjee.”
There will also be a Masterclass with the multi-talented filmmaker Meirelles on filmmaking and his new film Two Popes which will be moderated by Anupama Chopra, festival director and an acclaimed film critic. He will also be awarded the Excellence in Cinema Award 2019 (International) at the festival. The Excellence in Cinema Award 2019 (India) would be presented to another multi-talented actor, director, painter and photographer, Deepti Naval for her substantial contribution to art and cinema and her portrayal of characters that have emphasised the changing roles of women in India.
While the out-of-competition Spotlight section of the festival will showcase new and exciting work from both critically acclaimed and breakthrough Indian filmmakers which has five world premieres this year, the Dimensions Mumbai Jury and International Competition Jury sections will shine light on up-and-coming filmmakers from India and debut filmmakers from all over the world respectively. “This is the most exciting time of the year for film lovers in the city. The Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival with Star is once again set out to put forth the best of world cinema and take the best of Indian cinema to the world. I am especially looking forward to being a part of the International Competition Jury. It’s an opportunity to engage with new and promising talent from across the world,” said Zoya Akhtar, filmmaker and MAMI board member.
Vishal Bhardwaj, filmmaker and MAMI board member said, “Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival with Star is a one of a kind film festival that creates a unique cinematic experience for movie lovers across the country. The lineup is so diverse and vast. There is an interesting watch for every kind of film enthusiast.”
In its 21st year the festival is also introducing a new initiative called the ‘Industry Program’ where a set of highly curated one-on-one sessions will be conducted by industry professionals with Indian and international experts from the world of film. The idea behind the initiative is to bring the industry closer while learning from one another and bridging all boundaries.
Other interesting categories in the festival are the Rendezvous with French Cinema, films from Egypt and Qatar in Special Presentation, MAMI Tribute to Mrinal Sen’s Bhuvan Shome (1969) and special screening of the documentary Kaifinama which commemorates the birth centenary of the progressive, Urdu poet Kaifi Azmi.