The festival was started in 1997 by a group of Bollywood industry stalwarts and was headed by the late Hrishikesh Mukherjee who also founded the Mumbai Academy of Moving Image. The Film Festival was started in order to foster a climate of good cinema through stripping of the limiting labels of art and commercial which can only come about through exposure to the best of films that the world has to offer. The festival is a conscious step in that direction.
Source – India Today
This year’s edition will have about 220 films across a variety of sections. There are two competitive sections – India Gold and International Competition – with top prizes of over Rs. 25 Lakh’s each. The non-competitive section includes India Story (From across the country), Restored Classics, The New Medium (Experimental films), After Dark (Genre defying films) and World Cinema. There is also Spotlight, Rendezvous, Dimensions Mumbai and Marathi Talkies.
There are a host of high profile attendees like Monica Bellucci, John Madden and Clio Bernard. John Madden will be heading the International Competition Jury, whereas Clio Bernard will be heading the India Gold one.
Getting the Mumbai Film Festival programme together is a year round exercise that includes operations to establishing relations with sales agents, exclusively watching and selecting films, travelling to top festivals like Sundance, Rotterdam, Cannes and others to find out about forthcoming titles and getting them. Often there are titles that the audiences are not acquainted with but the programme tells audiences a little about them which helps them determine if they’d want to watch them or skip it. The Film Festival gives a platform for small films to dazzle viewers and help propel them to better stages by creating word of mouth publicity and buzz for the films.
There are a number of titles to look forward to this year like Rahul Jain’s Machines that was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, Everardo Gonzalez’s film Devil’s Freedom about Mexico’s cartels, Jonathan Olshefski’s movie Quest that was shot over nearly a decade, the 2017 Palm D’Or winner The Square, Darren Aronofsky’s Jennifer Lawrence starrer Mother!, Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me By Your Name, Irrfan Khan starrer The Song of Scorpions, Anurag Kashyap’s The Brawler (Mukkabaaz), Abbas Kiarostami’s 24 Frames, Sergei Loznitsa’s A Gentle Creature, which competed for the Palme d’Or, Sean Baker’s The Florida Project, which had its world première at the French Riviera and many others.