The Mumbai Film Festival (MFF), in its twelfth year now, has gotten bigger than previous editions. Organised by the Mumbai Academy of the Moving Image (MAMI), in association with Reliance Big Entertainment Ltd, the festival has upped the total prize money to be won by filmmakers in competition at the festival to Rs1 crore, and has acquired an enviable list of films from across the globe to be showcased this year.
And if that’s not enough to get your attention, then this might – three time Academy Award winner Oliver Stone, who will be awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award at the festival, will be arriving to receive his award. In addition, Stone will be conducting a round table with Indian filmmakers. The other Lifetime Achievement Award at the festival will be given to Indian filmmaker Manoj Kumar.
The opening film, The Social Network, filmmaker David Fincher’s latest about the birth of social networking website Facebook, will have its first screening at a film festival after its release in theaters this Friday. In addition, a number of films from Germany, Denmark, Japan and the USA will be screened at the festival.
Among the ones to watch out for will be Somewhere by Sofia Coppola, which won the Golden Lion Venice 2010, Winter Vacation which won the top prize at the Locarno film festival, Of Gods and Men which won the Grand Prix – the highest award at the Cannes film festival, and How I Ended This Summer, a winner at the Berlinale film festival. Films from Hollywood that will be a draw at the festival include Inside Job starring Matt Damon, Bunraku starring Demi Moore and Woody Harrelson and The Company Men, starring Ben Affleck, Tommy Lee Jones, and others.
In addition to the usual Special Sections like World Cinema and Dimensions Mumbai (where filmmakers under 25 years of age make a short film on Mumbai), the festival will feature a never-seen-before retrospective of Japanese films spanning from the 1920s till now, which will include some of the best films ever made in the country.
The jury – an all woman one – will be made up of by celebrated filmmaker Jane Campion, Tanya Seghatchian, who was a co-producer on five Harry Potter films, Iranian filmmaker Samira Makhalbaf, South Korean actress Yoon Jeon-Hee and national award-winning Indian actress, Suhasini Maniratnam.
For Indian filmmakers, the good news is that the festival will feature a Film Business Center, where the best distributors from around the world, like Pathe, Studio Canal, Icon, Fortissimo and others will be present to interact with filmmakers looking for worldwide buyers for their films.
The press conference to announce the list of films at the 12th MFF comprised of chairman of MAMI Shyam Benegal, head of the selection panel Basu Chatterjee, trustee Amit Khanna and Shrinivasan Narayanan, who is the director of the festival. An official poster of the festival, designed by artist Chintan Upadhyay, was unveiled at the event too.
The Mumbai Film Festival will be held from October 21 to 28. The main venues are PVR Cinemas and the adjacent Chandan theatre, Juhu. Films will also be screened at Metro BIG Adlabs at Marine Lines and R-City, Ghatkopar.