The 17th Mumbai Academy of the Moving Image (MAMI) Film Festival, which aims at giving independent films a global platform, has introduced a Book Award for Excellence in Writing on cinema — a first-of-its-kind initiative.

The festival logo and (inset) Arpita Das
The festival logo and (below) Arpita Das

The award seeks to laud imaginative and nuanced film writing and publishing in South Asia.

Arpita Das, who has curated the award, says, “I feel there is a lack of nuanced discussion about cinema in this part of this world. We have witnessed some great writing in journalism, but not in books to be precise. Besides, the intention behind the initiative is that things are bound to change with some encouragement.”

festival logo

Works of fiction, graphic novel, creative non-fiction, reportage, analysis and screenplay written in English or translated into English have been invited as entries to the competition. Das is responsible for instituting the jury which will determine the winner. “The three-member jury will be connected to the world of cinema and publishing,” she adds. So, what qualities would the jury members look for in the entries? “Apart from them being an excellent piece of writing on cinema, they should have grabbed the readers’ attention and furthered discussion on cinema,” Das states.

She explains that writing on films has not been explored to its full potential and genres like conversations with filmmakers and cinema biographies have a bright future. “Works which involve conversation with filmmakers help increase our understanding of cinema and cinema biographies, not about actors in particular,” she concludes.

The festival will be held between October 29 and November 5 this year.