Independent and nonmainstream films could soon find a haven at FilmBay, which will be set up in Bandra (West) by the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) and filmmaker Kiran Rao.
With a tentative launch date in December, the 7,000-sqft facility will replace a defunct children’s theatre on Sherly Rajan Road.
The original structure is being renovated to make space for an exhibition hall, a 100-seat digital cinema, a reading and research library, a bookshop and a cafeteria.
“The idea is that FilmBay should not only be a theatre hall for showcasing cinema, but a hub where communities begin to grow, where people develop a diverse palate through screenings, master classes and workshops,” said Rao, who will be the creative director.
Film critic Anupama Chopra and filmmakers Anurag Kashyap, Zoya Akhtar, Dibakar Banerjee and Rohan Sippy will form the advisory committee.
“FilmBay could be for film, what Prithvi Theatre has been for theatre — an oasis,” Sippy said.
FilmBay plans to actively support independent cinema, short films and documentaries, with a focus on children’s films, including animation. “We want to tie up with BMC schools and dedicate our mornings especially to screening children’s films,” Rao said.
“It is very important for filmmakers to have a space where they can engage with ideas. FilmBay will facilitate such a dialogue,” said Nina Lath Gupta, NFDC’s managing director.
“In today’s day and age, visual literacy is important,” said Chopra. “All of us are blinkered in our choice of films. FilmBay will be a rare space that will proactively screen all kinds of films — regional and international.”