The future of the 16th edition of the Mumbai Film Festival, one of the country's key international movie extravaganzas, seems bleak due to lack of sponsors and funds. However, organisers are hoping to bail it out and said the final call will be taken Monday.
The festival, organised by Mumbai Academy of Moving Image (MAMI), is scheduled to take place Oct 14-21.
With the end of a five-year long partnership with Anil Ambani's Reliance Entertainment, the organisers are now on the lookout for a title sponsor and additional funds.
"It's very easy to say the festival may not happen, but we're trying our best to make it possible. We do not have a title sponsor as of now but we are meeting potential sponsors and also trying to garner support and funds via social media," Srinivasan Narayanan, Mumbai Film Festival director, told IANS.
He said the "final call" about the fest will be taken Monday evening.
A Facebook post disclosing "an uncomfortable truth for #cinema-lovers in#Mumbai" brought the uncertainty over this year's event to the fore.
The message read: "The Mumbai Film Festival...faces a skip this year due to lack of sponsors. Organising a film fest doesn't happen in small change, and MAMI requires roughly Rs.5 crore to put up a great show. This also means that if just 5,000 cinema lovers contribute Rs.10,000 each, the target can be achieved.
"#Shame, for five crores is probably a weekday's collection of a masala film. #SaveMAMI, do share this message!"
With hashtags such as #SaveMAMI and #SaveMFF, the fate of the fest is much-talked about on social networking platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.
Narayanan said if Bollywood stars like Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir Khan show their support by even tweeting in favour of the fest, "MAMI festival will be funded like anything else".
The team is also seeking state funding apart from the Rs.10 lakh support and other permissions they get from the Maharashtra government.
The Mumbai Film Festival has, over the years, brought in big names to the country. Just last year, Oscar winning Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi and noted French filmmaker Costa Gavras, visited the event and shared their expertise with the audience.
Narayanan said Reliance Entertainment had invested over Rs.22 crore over their five year contract and took the festival to new heights.
"We are very grateful to them," he said, adding that MAMI officials are now meeting industrialists to make the fest see the light of the day, however, support from any film actor or filmmaker is yet to come their way.