Posted by Larry Gleeson
An official selection of Indian films to be announced
4th August, 2020, Mumbai – The Mumbai Academy of Moving Image (MAMI) took a unanimous decision in the light of the coronavirus crisis, the devastating pain and suffering across the country and uncertainty over the reopening of cinemas in Mumbai to push the Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival to 2021. The festival will, however, be releasing its official selection of Indian films for the year later in August.
“It is with a heavy heart that we have decided to postpone the Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival 2020 to next year. It is our responsibility to do everything we can to keep our communities safe during this crisis. We are humbled and grateful for the special place that the festival has carved for itself in Mumbai’s cultural landscape. We promise that the festival will come back with fullness in spirit and enthusiasm for our beloved city of Mumbai,” said Isha Ambani (Board of Trustees, MAMI).
“The world is grappling with a global calamity. 2020 is about survival, introspection, and
humility. We have decided to prioritize healing this year and hold the festival in its full splendor next year. We will focus and put our might behind our Year-Round Programme’s digital imprint that has already created a stir with Dial M For Films and MAMI YRP Home Theatre. As we carve the path ahead, we would like to thank our partners, sponsors, collaborators, and the filmmaking community for standing by us. Our endeavor will be to support them as much as we can in getting through this dark time,” said Anupama Chopra (Festival Director).
The postponement of the upcoming edition of the festival, however, doesn’t signal any flagging in the academy’s (MAMI) constant effort to galvanize the industry, curate the best Indian cinema and bring them to the widest possible audience. Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival is a crucial milestone in the journey of new films from India as well as a platform that discovers and encourages upcoming film talent. With that in mind, the selection committee at the festival has been watching films relentlessly and an official selection of Indian films for this year will be announced shortly.
“There is absolutely no denying that the pandemic has posed an unprecedented challenge to independent films and filmmakers, and there is no digital experience that can replicate a physical festival. But this unfortunate predicament has also come with its own share of opportunities. In the last three months, MAMI has adapted to shifting realities and pivoted to focussed programming online with a two-pronged aim. First, to serve the community of film lovers that have relied on MAMI to bring them the best films from all over the world and the second, to continue to provide filmmakers with a platform to showcase their films. Our online knowledge series, Dial M For Films has received staggering love. We will be taking both the academy and Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival’s key initiatives online and work towards strengthening and exploring a new frontier for MAMI opened by the digital format that is not confined by geography. We stay committed to the independent filmmaking community and our audience. We will continue to nurture the community, serve our audience and expand our footprint by adding more extensions to our digital arm and creating value for filmmakers who are already at a loss this year,” said Smriti Kiran (Artistic Director, MAMI and Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival).
The unexpected impetus provided by COVID-19 has brought home the fact that there is a vast audience outside of Mumbai for the many initiatives that the academy (MAMI) has launched (Dial M For Films, Year-Round Programme Home Theatre), and there is no time like the present to focus on a national imprint for Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival verticals like the Word to Screen Market, Young Critics Lab and the Industry Programme.MAMI has already launched an online extension to its popular year-round imprint called MAMI Year Round Programme Home Theatre which curates films that are shared digitally with a large database of film lovers and empowers filmmakers to bring their films to the audience directly. It has also started an online knowledge series -Dial M For Films, which focuses on breaking down what lies behind the moving image through sharply curated, specific, live conversations with solid film talent. The conversations have found a growing audience as they take viewers on a journey through the process with the lived experience of working professionals that is invaluable. An announcement regarding the dates of Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival in 2021 will be made soon.
About MAMI Year Round Programme & MAMI Initiatives
The MAMI Year Round Programme (MAMI YRP) is a one of a kind film program started by Mumbai Academy of Moving Image (MAMI) in 2016 with the belief that it is not enough, in an ecosystem like India, to have just a week-long film festival. It hosts weekly screenings, workshops and conversation sessions for film lovers in the country. This has given the academy a year-long imprint and presence as opposed to presence only for a week in the year. Through this program, passionate film lovers can sign up and access the best and latest Indian and international films, series, and talent throughout the year. The Year-Round Programme has expanded its footprint and now encompasses an online screening arm, MAMI Year Round Programme Home Theatre and the online knowledge series Dial M For Films which puts the audience and aspiring film professionals in the front seat with some of the best in the business.
Along with the thriving MAMI Year Round Programme, MAMI will also take a host of its popular festival (Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival) initiatives online which include the Young Critics Lab (YCL), Word to Screen Market and the Industry Programme.YCL was set up to foster young writing talent in the field of cinema. The online YCL mentored by acclaimed film critics Baradwaj Rangan and Mike McCahill will enable students from all over India to participate and will feature in-depth modules that examine and hone analytical as well as writing skills. Word to Screen Market is a first of its kind of platform in India where authors, publishers, and the literary community engage directly with content creators to option stories for films, TV, and the digital medium. This year, Word to Screen will take place online and focus on digital workshops with publishers and content creators. The Industry Programme was launched last year with an aim to galvanize the industry nationally and globally for knowledge exchange, connections, discovery, and collaborations. In its online avatar, the program will bring together creators from all over India to talk about the challenges they face and share their learnings. For more information log onto http://www.mumbaifilmfestival.com.
Until next year, I’ll see you at the movies!
(Source: Mumbia MAMI Film Festival Press Release)