Catherine Deneuve to Get Mumbai Film Festival Lifetime Honor

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Catherine Deneuve

The lineup includes Brad Pitt starrer 'Fury,' Richard Linklater's 'Boyhood' and Mike Leigh's 'Mr. Turner'

The 16th Mumbai Film Festival will give a lifetime achievement honor to French cinema icon Catherine Deneuve and screen a selection of her films.

The festival, organized by the Mumbai Academy of Moving Image (MAMI), will be held Oct. 14-21.

While the opening and closing films are still to be announced, organizers said that MFF will screen over 185 films from more than 65 countries.

Usually, the festival has opened and closed with Hollywood fare such as last year's The Butler and The Fifth Estate. Earlier editions have featured titles including Silver Linings Playbook, The Social Network and Moneyball. Among the highlights this year is World War II drama Fury, starring Brad Pitt, which is set for an India release on Oct. 31 via independent distributor PVR Pictures.

The festival lineup includes such notable titles as Jean Luc-Godard's Cannes winner Goodbye to Language, Richard Linklater's Boyhood, Mike Leigh's Mr. Turner, Xavier Dolan’s Mommy, Ken Loach’s Jimmy’s Hall, Kim Ki Duk’s One on One and Yoji Yamada's The Little House, among others.

A special focus on Arab cinema will feature 25 titles while – as in previous editions – the Rendez-vous with French Cinema section will offer the best of contemporary French cinema. The section is organized in association with Unifrance and the Embassy of France in India.

The international jury is still to be announced, while the India Gold Jury president will be Serbian director Goran Paskaljevic. Last year's international jury was headed by Driving Miss Daisy director Bruce Beresford. The festival will award a total of $200,000 in cash prizes in various categories honoring international and Indian films along with shorts under the Mumbai Dimensions section focusing on films based on the city.

Master classes will include sessions by acclaimed cinematographer Christopher Doyle (In the Mood for Love) and director-writer Mahamat-Saleh Haroun (A Screaming Man).
 
The festival will again host the Mumbai Film Mart, which will run from Oct. 15-17. This year's mart will focus on a new section focusing on remake rights of foreign films in India. The first Remake Market will aim to connect Indian producers with their French counterparts and has been initiated by Unifrance and LaFabrique films.

The trend of official remakes is slowly gaining ground here. Last year, French title Apres Vous saw a Bollywood version in Nautanki Saala. Gaumont's acclaimed hit The Intouchables is set for a remake to be directed by Bollywood helmer Mohit Suri and co-produced by Guneet Monga's Sikhya Entertainment (The Lunchbox) and top producer Karan Johar's Dharma Productions banner.

This year's festival was on the verge of being canceled due to a funding crunch after longtime sponsor Reliance Entertainment (owned by DreamWorks partner Reliance ADAG group) concluded its five-year sponsorship of the festival last year. MFF organizers launched a social-media crowdfunding campaign with an aim to raise the festival's total budget of $826,000. The campaign galvanized leading industry players to support the festival, with the largest contribution of $100,000 from the recently launched Cinestaan Film Company, backed by industrialist Anand Mahindra and entrepreneur Rohit Khattar. Similarly, producer Manish Mundra (Ankhon Dekhi) pledged $82,000 while other contributors included the makers of India's most successful film, 3 Idiots — producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra and director Rajkumar Hirani.

“The much-anticipated festival would not have been possible without the incredible support from industry stalwarts.… We are elated to see this kind of support and are thankful to everyone who have contributed in their own way to make this festival rise like a phoenix,” said festival director Srinivasan Narayanan.

Also present for the festival announcement made Wednesday in Mumbai were MAMI trustee Amit Khanna, festival creative advisor and leading critic Anupama Chopra, filmmaker Kiran Rao, actor-director Farhan Akhtar and directors Vikramaditya Motwane and Anurag Kashyap.

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