The 20th Jio MAMI screens over 200 film and hosts masterclasses with the likes of Darren Aronofsky
The festival also has a dedicated section to discuss the developing #MeToo movement
The Mumbai Academy of Moving Images Film Festival or Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival enters its 20th edition this year. With over 200 films, the festival showcases titles from India and across the globe under various categories and competitions. The 20th edition is a significant year for the festival because the last three years have been critical in forging partnerships with other organisations and festivals, and introduction of new sections.
Talking about the major highlights, Smriti Kiran, creative director of the festival, says, “In the last three years, we had a burst. We grew and now we are focusing on increasing the qualitative engagement. We have got movies like Widows, Roma and a bunch of others in our programme that we have not been able to get earlier because we didn’t have the right partnerships in place.”
With categories like Spotlight (that showcases films that push boundaries with their narrative styles), Play (that celebrates digital Internet storytelling and premieres digital content from India and other countries) and Large Short Films World Premieres (that celebrates original short films), the awareness about MAMI has certainly increased. “The festival has become a preferred destination for talent and all India premiers, and it’s gaining momentum within Asia. This year, we have some exceptional talent, like American filmmaker Darren Aronofsky and Sean Baker, an American film director and cinematographer, coming down. We have put together a very robust programme that has films from every genre,” says Smriti.
The festival opened last evening in Mumbai with Vasan Bala’s much awaited Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota (The Man Who Feels No Pain), a comedy, that had won the Midnight Madness: People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival. The other titles to look forward to are Bilathikuzhal, Chippa, Lovesick, Rajma Chawal, An Elephant Sitting Still, And Breathe Normally and Azougue Nazare under the India Story and Discovering India categories and the International Competition section.
The festival also pays tribute to the late Swedish auteur Ingmar Bergman celebrating the centenary year of the master’s birth with four of his best works — Persona, Saraband, Summer with Monika and The Seventh Deal. In addition, a documentary — Searching for Ingmar Bergman by director Margarethe von Trotta will be screened.
Legendary actress, the late Sridevi will be honoured with the MAMI Tribute, while veteran filmmaker Shyam Benegal will be awarded The Excellence In Cinema Award for his contribution to Indian cinema. An important aspect of MAMI, that has put the festival in the news of late, is its stand on the #MeToo movement. “We have taken a stand and we believe in it. We feel it’s the need of the hour and MAMI will never shy away from these conversations because these are very important conversations, ”
“We have created a special programme where there are going to be two discussions dealing with different aspects of the industry to talk about #MeToo and there will be a workshop to explain the legal angle as a lot of people are unaware of the sexual harassment laws. We are happy to be a part of this despite all the tough decisions and churning, it’s a beautiful time to be at the centre of this. There can be some revelatory conversation around what we are going through,” she adds further.
In addition, the festival has a dedicated section for knowledge sessions and conversations about different aspects of films and filmmaking. This series of conversations and masterclasses feature names like filmmaker Lucrecia Martel, Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos, filmmaker Darren Aronofsky, MUBI (an online film website) Founder Efe Cakarel and filmmaker Sean Baker.