MUMBAI – French director Eva Ionesco‘s autobiographical tale My Little Princess picked three awards at the 13th Mumbai Film Festival Thursday night winning the Golden Gateway Award for best film and a cash prize of $100,000.
The film also won the Silver Gateway Award for best director and the Silver Gateway Award for best actress shared by Isabelle Huppert and Anamaria Vartolomei.
MFF honored Morgan Freeman with a lifetime achievement award while his latest film Dolphin Tale closed the festival. Though Freeman couldn’t be present in Mumbai, he sent a video message in which he said, “I have played all kinds of characters. I have even played God but my job is to tell stories and I am fortunate to do that. It has been a long journey and more is to come. I hope that people enjoy watching me.”
One of Indian filmdom’s most respected writers and lyricists, Gulzar, was also honored with a lifetime achievement award to celebrate his five decade career. “Its always special to be recognised by your own family and this is truly an honor,” said Gulzar.
The MFF jury grand prize Silver Gateway Award and cash prize of $50,000 was presented to Canadian film The Salesman (Le Vendeur) directed by Sebastien Pilote, which also won the Silver Gateway Award for best actor for Gilbert Sicotte. The Silver Gateway Jury Award for technical excellence was presented to Diego Poleri for Las Acacias from Argentina. The Silver Gateway special jury award was presented to Markus Schleinzer for Michael.
The MFF Celebrate Age category saw the Silver Gateway Award and a cash prize of Rupees 50,000 ($1,100) being awarded to Arabic film Grandma, A Thousand Times (Teta, Alf Marra) directed by Mahmoud Kaabour. The Silver Gateway Award and cash prize of Rs 25,000 for the second best film was given to Poland’s Fear of Falling directed by Bartosz Konopka. The Celebrate Age Jury Award Certificate of Special Mention was given to Zubin Sethna for The Usual (Wie Immer) .
MFF’s Dimensions Mumbai category – focusing on films inspired by the city – saw the Silver Gateway Award and cash prize of Rupees 100,000 for best film awarded to Ameya Gore and Sunaina Mahadik for Facelift. The Silver Gateway Award and cash prize of Rs 50,000 for the second best Film was presented to Abhay Kumar for Life is a Beach. The Jury Special Mention Award was given to Chinmaya Nagesh Dalvi for Bombay Snow and to Harshvir Oberai for The Circle Is Mine. The Mumbai Young Critics Silver Gateway Award was presented to Markus Schleinzer for Michael.
Organized by industry body MAMI (Mumbai Academy of Moving Images), the week-long MFF opened with Brad Pitt-starrer Moneyball with the festival featuring over 200 films from 60 countries.
The international competition jury was headed by Chariots of Fire director Hugh Hudson. In his closing address, Hudson used the occasion to condemn the arrests of Iranian filmmakers including Jafar Panahi, “We stand united for the rights of filmmakers arrested and imprisoned in Iran. Nothing is more dangerous than the silencing of the arts. We ask the Iranian government to release the filmmakers and allow them to work.”