Screen presence

Oct 17, 2013, 01:08 IST | Kanika Sharma

With oodles of buzz and energy dousing cinephiles across the city, The Guide raises the curtains over the 15th edition of Mumbai Film Festival that begins today

Beginning tomorrow, the 15th edition of the Mumbai Film Festival (MFF) will celebrate a weeklong offering of the finest cinema. The screenings of 200 films that span 65 countries have been orchestrated by the efforts of Reliance Entertainment and Mumbai Academy of Moving Image (MAMI).

Oprah Winfrey and Forest Whitaker star in The Butler, the opening movie at the 15th Mumbai Film Festival

In the spotlight
This time, the festival will felicitate stalwarts — Kamal Haasan and Costa Gavras. Haasan will be the youngest recipient of the MAMI Lifetime Achievement award. Gavras, the octogenarian French filmmaker, is acclaimed for films such as Z, Missing, The Music Box and others.

A still from Ashgar Farhadi’s The Past

Watch out for movies by Indie favourites Bruce Beresford, Asghar Farhadi, Leos Carax, Siddiq Barmark, Nathalie Baye, and Masato Harada. The festival will also pay homage to recently departed Pran, Yash Chopra and Rituparno Ghosh. Don’t miss masterclasses by prodigies including Beresford (Driving Miss Daisy), composer Ilan Eshkeri (Hannibal Rising, Kick-Ass and Coriolanus), editor Jill Billcock (Moulin Rouge & Road to Perdition) and filmmaker Leos Carax (Holy Motors).

Kamal Haasan
Kamal Haasan will be conferred with the MAMI Lifetime Achievement award

Cambodia will be festival’s in-focus country as it canvases its cine legacy where even their royalty — King Norodom Sihanouk aspired to be an actor. The Missing Picture, an animation film is a must-watch not only because it won the Un Certain Regard section at the Festival de Cannes but also how the film speaks of survival of film and filmmakers through Khmer Rouge. Afghan, Spanish and French cinema will be the other sections stressed upon owing to their innovative, fresh approach to world cinema.

What’s new?
This time onwards, a Composers Lab has been introduced that will take place from October 21 to 23, and will facilitate Indian music composers to hone their repertoire by meeting other veteran composers, directors, and related music and film professionals. India Project Room and Filmy Room will let under-production films find festival and mainstream screenings to encourage Indian cinema globally.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt directs and stars in Don Jon

As the debate about digital vs. film and future of 3D rages on, members of Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences — Milt Shefter, Andy Maltz and Robert Neuman will share their perspectives at discussions.

Space matters
This year’s venues include Liberty Cinema, Metro Big Cinema, Marine Lines and Cinemax, Versova. However, 2012 had included Cinemax, Sion, INOX Cinemas and NCPA. Srinivasan Narayanan, Festival Director, Mumbai Film Festival explains that the change in venues was based on feedback from previous editions, “MFF has had several shifts in venues, from Fun Republic in the 10th edition to PVR Complex, Chandan, to this time, Liberty and Metro. It depends on the funding and the availability of cinema halls.

This year, INOX had many commercial releases due to which we had to skip it. MFF is the only film festival that does not have a fixed venue of unlike Kolkata’s or Goa’s film festivals.” Expressing his excitement about exploring other zones, he shares, “We would love to do include Mulund — the other extreme, but there is no space, and we are hard pressed for funds as Reliance has been sponsoring the event for its passion of cinema rather than looking at it as profit-reaping model.”

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