10th Mumbai International Film Festival
India, March 6 - March 13 2008
The 10th International Film Festival of Mumbai brought to the city which gave its name to Bollywood, the Indian version of Hollywood, a selection of quality films from around the world and a diverse program of national products representing linguistically and often culturally diverse states of India. The festival is organized by the Mumbai Academy of the Moving Image (MAMI) and lays claim to be the only independent film festival in India.
From only one screen when it started a decade ago, the 10th edition had the benefit of seven screens spread over the city and its suburbs. The IMAX Center, with its modern and practical atmosphere, its remarkable projection facilities and comfortable theatres, was well-appreciated by the festival goers although it’s far away location was not very convenient, particularly in Mumbai’s incessant traffic.
Over 140 films from about 40 countries participated in the festival, which opened with Polish Andrzej Wajda’s Katyn (2007) and closed with Japanese Naomi Kawase’s The Morning Forest (Mogari no mori, 2007). In addition to the largest section “Global Vision”, showcasing recent films around the world, and the Indian Competition, which was judged by both the FIPRESCI jury and a jury composed of members from different sectors of the film industry, special screenings were held, of Wajda’s Kanal (1957), Italian Giulio Antamoro’s classic Pinocchio (1911) accompanied by live music as tradition demands and three films of Rainer Werner Fassbinder to commemorate the anniversary of his death. The filmmaker in Focus was Carlos Saura, who received a Global Lifetime Achievement Award during the closing ceremony, while the audience enjoyed six of his films, including his latest, Fados (2007).
The country in focus was China. Retrospectives were organized to honor Wajda and Ritwik Ghatak. The latter is credited with having sown the seeds of new wave cinema in India. Homages were also held to great names of cinema who passed away recently, Ingmar Bergman, Antonioni and India’s own, Nabendu Kaku, who wrote over 100 Hindi scripts. “Film India Worldwide” (films made abroad by or about Indians) presented the latest links that connect India with the international film scene and the newly established “Dimensions Mumbai”, aimed to encourage young talents and was very successful in generating enthusiasm.
The FIPRESCI jury, with three members, evaluated ten Indian films. The same films were also judged by a second jury although both juries chose the same film, Tingya by Mangesh Hadawale as the Best Film. One small problem was that starting with a mix-up in the festival catalogue, neither the press nor the delegates ever figured out which jury member belonged to which jury although in a press conference organized the first day, by Sudhir Nandgaonkar, the Artistic Director of MAMI, we were personally introduced to the press and answered their questions individually. (Gönül Dönmez-Colin)