The 11th Mumbai Film Festival is a day away, but Richa Rungta’s exposure to world cinema has already begun.
The BMM student of RD National College, is one of 21 students selected to train as film critics during the international film festival, which begins on October 29.
“After two full-day sessions and four films I am convinced that this is my calling,” said Rungta (20).
Like her peers, Rungta was nominated by her college for the MFF programme. Of the 70 students shortlisted, 21 finally made the cut as MFF’s first youth jury in 11 years.
“They are already quite a refined lot of cinema lovers. My attempt is to expose them to as many films as possible so they understand the four genres of criticism. They’ve seen some very difficult cinema under me and I have to admit that their passion and ability to contextualise the film is very encouraging,” said German critic, Daniel Kothen Schulte, who has been mentoring them since October 26.
“Often the critic becomes larger than the film. But I'm offering you a cup of tea to drink it and not the role of a tea-taster. Understand the process of filmmaking before you critique it,” Amol Gupte, the creative director of Taare Zameen Par, told the students.
The young jurors will also learn to distinguish between film critiquing and being a festival juror and coming to a collective verdict.
“I’m keen on understanding my responsibility as a critic. I want to understand who I am writing for,” said Ameya Bahulekar (18), student of LS Raheja College.
One juror will be awarded the Mumbai Young Critics Award and the Silver Gateway of India Trophy, based on an essay on their best film in the festival.
“I’m very pleased that MFF has taken this initiative to educate young cine lovers. Not many festivals insist on an exercise in finding a film’s substance, people are quite consumed with popular cinema,” Schulte said.