Since the advent of cinema in India, Mumbai has been the cradle of the Indian cinema industry, attracting talent from all over the country and abroad. The rich diversity of Mumbai has made it the cultural capital of India, where multiple art forms, fired by the imaginative power of cinema, have found expression. Today Mumbai is a true global city, acknowledged the world over for both commercial and art cinema.
Since its inception eighteen years ago, the Mumbai Film Festival has grown into a much awaited annual event for all cine-lovers. The Mumbai Academy of Moving Image (MAMI) has built upon its rich legacy and developed into a rendezvous for not only watching the best contemporary work in celluloid but also for the meeting of minds, where film gurus and enthusiast’s vibe on the same platform.
The 18th edition of Jio MAMI showcased the best of world and Indian cinema produced in the past year, with over 175 films from 54 countries screened.
Our very own LAFF Festival Director Dr Pushpinder Chowdhry attended the festival for the very first time, she was invited along as part of the UK Oxfam team who were sponsoring the new ‘Gender Equality Award.’ She says “At Tongues on Fire we champion the concept of gender equality through film. it was an honour to support Oxfam’s award at the Mumbai Film Festival. It was also a great opportunity to network, meet people in the film business attend masterclasses and watch some amazing thought provoking films, of course”
Pushpinder with Richa Chadda, Masaan
For Pushpinder, the highlights of MAMI was the networking lunch for women film makers sponsored by Oxfam and ‘On the Sets with Directors,’ listening to Zoya Akhtar. “It was refreshing to get candid answers for questions such as ‘what was the most irritating thing on set?’, ‘do the hero’s have tantrums?’ and ‘how did they deal with cast arriving late for filming?’ “
Asked what Pushpinder took away from the event she says “It was interesting that MAMI was incorporating young people and children in the festival; as part of a jury panel and for an award. Film making is an extension of storytelling as all children are fascinated by stories and books, so it is important also to screen children’s own films. Consequently, in 2017, LAFF is proud to be showcasing short films made by talented local school children.” Pushpinder also noted that the size and scope of the Mumbai Film Festival meant that accessibility was a mission as venues were located so far apart and she found herself travelling for 3hours in Mumbai traffic between events. Events however were engaging and well organised with only slight technical hitches. They too had a fantastic team of enthusiastic student volunteers from local colleges.
LAFF and MAMI are both festivals committed to promoting cinema beyond Bollywood and are coincidentally both celebrating their 18th festivals this year. TOF was founded, 18 years ago by two British Asian women, to create a unique platform for independent cinema, important social messages and champion women in the film and media industry. MAMI was set up soon after with a similar ethos and it is inspiring that both festivals predominantly led by a female team have continued to make great strides and have paved the way for change and the breaking of glass ceilings in the South Asian and worldwide spheres on influence. It is an ethos to be lauded and we wish both festivals the very best in their future endeavours.