An all-women jury is not the only ‘different’ aspect of the 12th Mumbai Film Festival organised by the Mumbai Academy of Moving Images (MAMI).
“Beyond screening a variety of films from across the globe, the focus of the festival will remain the business of film and how to further it,” said Srinivasan Narayan, the festival director. Screenwriter-director Jane Campion and actor-producer Suhasini Maniratnam, two of the five jury members, launched the week-long annual film event on Thursday.
Responding to a query on the criteria for the best film, Campion, who will preside over the jury, said, “That’s the beauty of a jury. It’s not one person’s opinion, but many people’s views put together. I personally like films where I can see that the filmmaker has done something well. And that could be anything. I like it when I get to see new things, fresh ideas and courageous and curious filmmaking.”
Other jury members, film producer Tanya Seghatchian, Iranian-filmmaker-scriptwriter Samira Makhmalbaf and South Korean actor Yoon Jeonghee, were not present at the inaugural event.
In the next week, the jury will watch 14 films that have been selected from more than 190 entries from around the world. Ironically, of the films shortlisted to be judged by the ‘women-only jury’ only one or two have been directed by women.
“That is ironical indeed,” laughed Maniratnam. “But I think we have gone beyond that comparison now. I don’t think that makes a difference, and I don’t think we as women judges will look at the films any differently. I have worked in over 250 films, 100 of which have had women oriented story lines, and all of them have been directed by male filmmakers. They have done a phenomenal job. We will be watching the films as an audience, not as filmmakers or critics.”
This year’s festival opened with a screening of David Fincher’s ‘The Social Network’ on Thursday and will continue till October 28. A Film Business Centre created at main venue Chandan Cinema in Juhu is meant to be a meeting point for buyers and sellers of entertainment content. The overall prize money from the MAMI film festival is Rs 1 crore, of which Rs 50 lakh will be presented to the best film.