Mumbai Film Fest: Cambodian Drama 'Diamond Island,' Asghar Farhadi's 'Salesman' Among Winners

'Diamond Island'

The main India section honor went to Haobam Paban Kumar's 'Lady of the Lake.'

The 18th Mumbai Film Festival wrapped Thursday night with an awards ceremony that saw David Chou's France-Cambodia co-production Diamond Island winning the Golden Gateway Award in the fest's international section.

The film — which screened at this year's Cannes Critics' Week, where it picked up the SACD Prize — revolves around an 18-year-old boy from the Cambodian provinces who arrives in a big city to work on a construction project.

In his Cannes review, The Hollywood Reporter's Jordan Mintzer wrote that “this fictional effort benefits from a sharp sense of style that makes good use of the exotic (for us) settings and cast of young untrained actors.”

The Silver Gateway Award went to Ralitza Petrova's Bulgaria-based thriller Godless, while the jury grand prize went to Mexican drama Everything Else by Natalia Almada.

This year's international competition jury was headed by Portuguese director Miguel Gomes (Arabian Nights), with other members including writer-director Tala Hadid (The Narrow Frame of Midnight), Indian filmmaker Anurag Kashyap (Gangs of Wasseypur), Hot Docs festival president Chris McDonald and producer Christine Vachon, whose credits include the Oscar-winning Boys Don't Cry.

The audience choice award went to The Salesman by helmer Asghar Farhadi, who won Iran's first Academy Award for A Separation in 2012. The Salesman is Iran's official entry in the foreign-language category for the Oscars.



The India Gold section's Golden Gateway Award went to Haobam Paban Kumar's Lady of the Lake, which premiered at the Busan International Film Festival. The film examines an endangered community in India's northeastern state of Manipur.

The Silver Gateway Award went to The Narrow Path by Satish Babusenan and Santosh Babusenan, while Aicheng Jai Dohutia's The Hidden Corner won the jury grand prize. Deepak Sampath's dark thriller Autohead received a special mention, as did the documentary Cinema Travelers by Shirley Abraham and Amit Madhesiya. The film, which screened at this year's Cannes Classics sidebar, looks at the fading tradition of traveling cinemas in India's western state of Maharashtra, of which Mumbai is the capital. Cinema Travelers also won the young critics' choice award.

This year's festival included two new awards: the Oxfam Award for best film on gender equality, which went to Lipstick Under My Burkha by Alankrita Shrivastava; and the Mastercard Best Indian Female Filmmaker Award, which was given to Konkona Sensharma for A Death in the Gunj. Following its Toronto premiere, the latter film opened the Mumbai fest.

The awards ceremony was attended by many Bollywood stars, including Sonam Kapoor, Richa Chadda, Abhay Deol, and Rahul Bose, as well as directors Anurag Kashyap, Kabir Khan, Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Vishal Bharadwaj, among others.

Organized by the Mumbai Academy of Moving Images, the festival was sponsored by telecom major Reliance Jio and 21st Century Fox's Star India network. Organizers announced that next year's event is set to run Oct. 12-19.

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