Curtains come down on MAMI

winning smlies:Shirley Abraham and Amit Madhesia received a special mention for their documentaryThe Cinema Travellers, while Haobam Paban Kumar’s Lady of the Lake bagged the Golden Gateway Award in the India Gold category.— photos: special arrangement  

Aweek-long affair of running around the city to binge on delectable world cinema, and attending master classes and panel discussions drew to a close on Thursday as the curtains fell on the Jio MAMI 18th Mumbai Film Festival with Star at Rang Mandir in Bandra.

Dressed in their finest evening wear, Bollywood actors and filmmakers including Sonam Kapoor, Abhay Deol, Kunal Kapoor, Zoya Akhtar, Vishal Bharadwaj and Anurag Kashyup attended the ceremony. The closing film of the festival was American drama Manchester by the Sea directed by Kenneth Lonergan.

As part of the festival’s annual tradition, a host of awards were handed out amidst much anticipation and cheer. Taking the top honours in the International Competition category — the Golden Gateway Award — was Diamond Island directed by Davy Chou. Critically acclaimed Portuguese filmmaker Miguel Gomes presented the prize, while describing the film as “a simple, coming-of-age story told in an artistically bold fashion”. Chou addressed the ceremony through a pre-recorded video, thanking the jury for their choice.

The film was unanimously chosen by the jury, which included President of Hot Docs, North America’s largest documentary film festival, Chris Mcdonald, American independent producer Christine Vachon, and filmmakers Tala Hadid and Anurag Kashyap. Gomes, who headed the jury, took the opportunity to extend his gratitude for the hospitality he received during his stay, particularly thanking Kashyap, at whose residence the jury carried out deliberations. “Although our sessions got diverted often because of all the food offered to us at his place,” he laughed.

Describing the film as an “unflinching depiction of life in unflinching Bulgaria”, Kashyap presented the film Godless by Ralitza Petrova with the Silver Gateway Award in the International Competition category. Accepting the trophy, Petrova said the Indian audience share the same sensitivity towards the dark side of life in Bulgaria as shown in her film.

The Grand Jury Award was given to Mexican film Everything Else directed by Natalia Almada, which was praised for its tender approach towards the struggle of its protagonist. While Alba and When Two Worlds Collide were given a special mention by the jury.

The India Gold category, a competition section for Indian feature films, witnessed some surprises. Three-time National Award-winning director Haobam Paban Kumar’s Lady of the Lake bagged the Golden Gateway Award. The jury, headed by Turkish filmmaker Reha Erdem, lauded the film for exploring mankind’s fragile relation with nature, a pressing issue of our times. A softspoken Kumar accepted the award by thanking the NFDC Film Bazaar.

Another winner from the North East was the Assamese drama The Hidden Corner by Jaicheng Jai Dohutia, while the Silver Gateway Prize was presented to brothers Satish and Santosh Babusenan for the Malayalam film The Narrow Path, which was described as a “hypnotic and lyrical film”.

Rohit Mittal’s Autohead and Shirley Abraham and Amit Madheshiya’s The Cinema Travellers were given a special mention. While Mittal’s film was appreciated for its haunting protagonist, Abraham and Madheshiya’s movie was lauded for showing cinema as a source of communal pleasure. The Cinema Travellers also won the Young Critics Choice Award for its “noteworthy experimentation of the documentary format”.

Actor-turned-filmmaker Konkana Sen Sharma was another big winner at the festival this year, and more so for advocating women’s rights and empowerment through her cinema. She won the Mastercard Best Indian Female Filmmaker Award for her directorial debut A Death in the Gunj , an honour that comes with a Rs. 15 lakh cash prize for a first-time filmmaker. Morevoer, Lipstick Under My Burkha , a film which she acted in, won the Best Film on Gender Equality. Sharma thanked the jury for the honour.

Mumbai’s Mahuva.. Mahuva’s Mumbai, directed by Santosh Kamble, won the Golden Gateway Award among the 13 films in Dimensions Mumbai, the short film category that sought to discover young Indian filmmakers under the age of 25. Ajeeb Dastan Hai Yeh won the Silver Gateway Award, and was praised for its simple execution and in-depth understanding of human relations.

The big winners in the children’s films category, Half Ticket, were Hang in there, kids! by Laha Mebow, and A Town Called Panic: Back to School, which won the Golden Gateway Awards in feature and short film categories, respectively. Accepting the award, Mebow hoped her film was eyeing the Oscars next.

Wrapping up the 18th edition of the film festival, co-chariperson Kiran Rao with much gusto announced the dates for MAMI next year: October 12 to 19. Rao hoped for yearlong exposure towards world cinema. And in an effort to fulfil the desire, the Mumbai Academy of Moving Image will organise a screening of La La Land on November 23.

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2022 4:29:55 PM |

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