'The Butler' to Open Mumbai Film Festival

"The Butler"

The 15th edition of the event will screen more than 200 films, including Joseph Gordon-Levitt's "Don Jon" in the competition for debut feature directors.

NEW DELHI – The 15th edition of the Mumbai Film Festival -- to be held Oct. 17-24 -- will open with Lee Daniel's The Butler, organizers Mumbai Academy of Moving Images announced Wednesday. The festival is co-presented by Reliance Entertainment. The lineup of over 200 films from 65 countries includes programming sidebars that will focus on the cinema of Afghanistan, Spain, Cambodia and France.

As in the past, MFF will award $220,000 as cash prizes in various categories, including the international competition for debut feature directors. The thirteen competing entries include Anthony Chen's Ilo Illo, Paul Wright's For Those In Peril, Joseph Gordon-Levitt's Don Jon and, the only Indian entry, Nagraj Manjule's Marathi language film Fandry .

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The festival's World Cinema program includes titles such as Abdellatif Kechiche's Cannes winner Blue is the Warmest Color, Ethan and Joel Coen's Inside Llewyn Davis, James Gray's The Immigrant, Nicholas Winding Refn's Only God Forgives, Paul Schrader's Lindsey Lohan-starrer The Canyons, Bill Condon's The Fifth Estate and Jean-Marc Vallée's Dallas Buyers Club, among others.

The festival will feature a spotlight on films from Afghanistan -- with the Kabul Fresh section now in in its second year -- along with Spain and Cambodia, in addition to the sixth edition of the Rendez-vous with French Cinema.

As reported earlier, the festival will honor acclaimed Greek-French director Costa-Gavras with a lifetime honor while the programming includes a retrospective of his work including titles such as the Oscar-winning political drama Z.

The festival's competition jury, which judges both the first feature competition and the World Cinema program, is presided over by Driving Miss Daisy director Bruce Beresford, with fellow members including French actress Nathalie Baye, Japanese film-maker Masato Harada, Indian actress Konkona Sen Sharma and Canada-based Indian director Deepa Mehta (Midnight’s Children).