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MUMBAI — Brad Pitt-starrer Moneyball kicked off the 13th Mumbai Film Festival Thursday organized by industry body Mumbai Academy of Moving Image (MAMI) and supported by Reliance Entertainment. MFF runs through Oct. 20.
The opening ceremony saw industry stalwarts such as veteran Bollywood film-makers Yash Chopra and Ramesh Sippy accompanied with Reliance Entertainment chairman Amit Khanna and actress Dia Mirza lighting a ceremonial lamp before the Moneyball screening. Compared to years past, this year’s opening ceremony was a modest affair devoid of cultural programmes and speeches. “We really wanted the film to be the center of the show this year,” explained MFF director Srinivasan Narayanan. That objective seemed to be achieved given the audience applause as the end credits rolled for Moneyball.
Following the opening screening at the main festival venue — a multiplex cinema in a suburban mall – the open air launch party was held at the Sun-n-Sand Hotel on Juhu Beach where festival jury members were introduced to attendees. This year’s international competition jury is headed by British director Hugh Hudson (Chariots of Fire) and members include Polish filmmaker Jerzy Skolimowski, Tomorrow Never Dies director Roger Spottiswoode, Korean helmer Na Hong-jin and veteran Indian actress Sarika.
MFF has garnered a loyal following among cineastes given the sheer variety of world cinema on offer while showcasing upcoming Indian talent. This year’s lineup of over 200 films also celebrates 50 years of the Cannes Critics Week which will include titles such as Jerzy Skolimowski’s Walkover, Tony Scott’s Loving Memory, Ken Loach‘s Kes and Indian director Gitanjali Rao‘s 2006 animation fantasy Printed Rainbow.
Another highlight is that six first time women directors will compete in the 14-film strong international section which include Julia Leigh‘s Sleeping Beauty from Australia, History Only Exists When Remembered by Julia Murat from Brazil/Argentina, My Little Princess by Eva Ionesco from France, The Dead Sea by Leena Manimekalai from India, The Mirror Never Lies by Kamila Andini from Indonesia and She Monkeys by Lisa Aschan from Sweden.
As in the 2009 festival which almost saw a stampede for Lars Von Trier‘s Anti Christ, organizers are expecting a similar rish for the controversial Danish director’s latest Melancholia.
Following its launch last year, MFF will also hold the Mumbai Film Mart which runs from Oct. 15-17as a business networking platform. With a special focus this year on tapping non-traditional markets for Indian cinema in China, Korea, Japan, Europe and Latin America, the mart is expected to include representatives from IM Global (USA), Rapid Eye (Germany), Novo Films (France), Metropolitan (France), Top Films (CIS), Showbox (Korea), Nikkatsu (Japan), Happinet (Japan), Pioniwa (Japan), 1 Production (Taiwan), Apex Entertainment (Korea) , Zeus Film (Taiwan), CJ Entertainment (Korea) and Huayi Brothers (China).
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