Mumbai Film Festival to start from 29 October

MUMBAI:  Starting 29 October the 11th edition of the Mumbai Film Festival (MFF) gets underway. Organized by Mumbai Academy of Moving Image (MAMI), the 11th edition of the festival is scheduled to take place from 29 October  to 5 November, 2009 in Mumbai.

A Reliance Big Entertainment initiative MFF has the distinction of being the only international film festival in India to be organized by an independent body of practicing film professionals.

“All the sections of the Festival carry some of the best films made the world over,” says MAMI chairperson ,filmmaker Shyam Benegal. “Whether it’s the thematic or the director’s point of view that makes every film so distinctive, our audience will be able to see and experience for themselves. And be enriched.”

The Festival is divided into five sections viz. International Competition for the First Feature Films of Directors, World Cinema, Indian Showcase, Dimensions Mumbai and Retrospectives.

ABOVE THE CUT, an out of competition section will highlight those debut features which are extra-ordinary but could not be included in the Competition Section.  Some of the films include: Rwanda, The Day God Walked Away (France) by Philippe Van Leeuw, a film set in Rwanda in the spring of 1994, at the outbreak of the genocide. She, A Chinese (UK-France-Germany) by Xiaolu Guo, Golden Leopard winner at Locarno’09. The film narrates the story of Mei, a young Chinese woman who leaves her humdrum village life behind for the excitement of the nearest big city and goes all the way to London. Ajami (Germany-Israel) by Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani (Camera d’Or –special mention at Cannes’09), dealing with the tragic fragility of human existence where enemies must live as neighbours. La Pivellina (Austria-Italy) by Rainer Frimmel and Tizza Covi is a tale of courage and discrimination, of loss and togetherness, set in the cosmos of outcasts in present-day Italy. Should I really DO It? (Turkey) by Ismail Necmi draws on real life as it follows the extraordinary life of Petra, a German woman living in Istanbul.

THE WORLD CINEMA SECTION would screen cinema handpicked from festivals around the globe. Moscow, Belgium (Belgium) by Christophe van Rompaey is a dramatic comedy about a 41 year-old woman with a life full of dents and bruises, who gets into relationship with a much younger man. Rage directed by Sally Potter staring Jude Law and Judi Dench is story about a schoolboy uses his cellphone camera to shoot intimate interviews with people working at a New York fashion house and secretly posts them on the internet. Man On Wire is an Oscar winning documentary on Philippe Petit’s daring, but illegal, high-wire routine performed between New York City’s World Trade Center’s twin towers in 1974 directed by James Marsh.

Some of the Indian Films to be screened at the 11th MFF include: Bengali films like Buddhadeb Dasgupta’s Janala & Rituparno Ghosh’s Abohomaan, along with Marathi films like Umesh Kulkarni’s Vihir & Renuka Shahane’s film Rita. Madhupal’s Malayam film The Crown (Thalappavu).

A brand new section REAL REEL will showcase a selection of high quality feature length documentaries. A brand new section REAL REEL will showcase a selection of high quality feature length documentaries. All films screened in the festival will be Indian premiers. This year the festival is introducing an INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION for the First Feature Films of Directors with one of the biggest cash awards in the world. The Best First Feature Film gets a cash award of Rs.50 Lakh, while the Jury Grand Prize winner is awarded with Rs. 25 Lakh cash.

The 11th MFF will hold a retrospective of the Greek master Theo Angelopoulos. The legendary filmmaker will attend the festival where he will be bestowed with the International Lifetime Achievement Award. Shashi Kapoor will be honoured with Indian Lifetime Achievement Award for the Indian Personality which includes a retrospective of his films.

The Festival will also pay tributes to the outstanding cinematic achievements of renowned Hollywood screenwriter (Taxi Driver, Raising Bull, Last Temptation of Christ) and filmmaker (American Gigolo, Mishima) Paul Schrader will grace the jury of the Festival.

This year MFF carries some of the biggest cash awards in the world for its International Competition of First Feature Films of Directors category. These debut features will compete for the cash award of about USD 100 000 (Rs. 50 00 000) and Golden Gateway India trophy for the best film and the Silver Gateway India and cash prize of about USD 50 000 (Rs. 25 00 000) for the Jury Grand Prize. The best talent from these films will be awarded Silver Gateway India. This year MAMI is introducing a USD 20 000 (about Rs. 10 00 000) Audience Choice Award. Films from all sections except retrospective and tributes will compete for this award.