[T]he 13th Mumbai Film Festival that begins on October 13 will not only present some of the most awaited films of the year for cinephiles in Mumbai, but also host discussions on contemporary and relevant issues concerning the filmmaking community. Open Forum, that will be held daily from October 14-20 between 2 pm-3pm will touch upon topics like crowd-funding, digital filmmaking, queer portrayal in Indian cinema, state of Indian screen-writing and independent filmmaking.
Innovative co-productions & crowd-funding: a way forward …?
In Open Forum on October 14, a panel comprising Ketan Mehta, Sanjeev Lamba and Sanjay Suri will talk about innovative co-production methods including crowd-funding which can minimize the risks of a single producer in a project. Sanjeev Lamba is the CEO of Reliance Big Entertainment while Sanjay Suri was the associate producer of Onir’s I Am which is one of the first crowd-funded films in India.
Have Digital tools helped Cinema …?
In a scene where filmmakers are increasingly turning to digital technology, Mumbai Film Festival will analyse how far digital tools have helped cinema at the Open Forum on October 15. The panel will comprise filmmaker Rohan Sippy, Amit Roy, Naresh and Sameer Hoon. Naresh will represent Reliance Media Works while Sameer Hoon is the President—VFX, Prana Studios and has worked as visual effects supervisor on recent films like Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and Transformers:Dark of the Moon.
This continues to be the most pertinent question for filmmakers and film lovers alike. At a time when a few producers are getting adventurous to support unconventional projects while many others are minting money on star-studded blockbusters, Mumbai Film Festival on October 16 will initiate a discussion on the need for producers who don’t blindly sign cheques but know how to read a script and understand the intricacies of filmmaking. On the panel are Madhu Mantena, Sunil Doshi, Uma Da Cunha, Meenakshi Shedde and Jahnu Barua.
Madhu Mantena has produced films like Mausam, Ghajini and Rann. Sunil Doshi has to his credit films like Daayen ya Baayen and Bheja Fry as a producer. Uma Da Cunha is a journalist and Indian programmer for international film festivals. Meenakshi Shedde, an award-winning film critic has served on the jury of international festivals like Cannes, Venice and Berlin. Jahnu Barua is an award-winning director of Hindi and Assamese films.
Queering India: Gay & Lesbian portrayals in new India Cinema …!
When Mumbai is successfully playing host to queer film festival and Mumbai cinema is opening up to sensitively portraying the queer community, a timely discussion on the topic on October 17 would be much welcome. Operating on the premise that today even mainstream actors are not afraid to play out gay, lesbian, transgender character or situation; Open Forum will explore if these characters have depth and detailing, or are they merely for a sensational spin? Also, where does censor become an impediment in depicting something meaningful and serious? And do they have an audience at all?
On the panel are filmmakers Tarun Mansukhani and Onir who have made Dostana and My Brother Nikhil respectively; actor Rajit Kapur who plays a gay poet in Deepti Nawal’s Do Paise Ki Dhoop, Chaar Aane Ki Baarish, film critic Rajeev Masand and Sridhar Rangayan, queer activist, filmmaker and director of Kashish, Mumbai International Queer Film Festival.
The discussion will be moderated by Meenakshi Shedde.
The relevance of film reviews: Do they really matter today …?
The Open Forum on October 18 will explore if in the internet age when everybody and anybody is a self-professed film reviewer, traditional film critics are still relevant and help establish credibility of films. The forum will also raise the question whether many of the reviewers today are bought or influenced.
Speakers include film critics Mayank Shekhar, Bhavna Sommayya and Anupama Chopra; Nikhil Advani, director of films like Patiala House, Chandni Chowk to China, Kal Ho Naa Ho and Kamlesh Pandey who has written films like Delhi 6 and Rang De Basanti.
The state of Screen writing today …!
On October 19, Mumbai Film Festival will host a panel on the current state of screen-writing in India. The proposed question is: in a country of billion plus, why is it so difficult to discover and nurture even 50 good writers for films?
Lyricist and writer Swanand Kirkire, director and writer of films like Bheja Fry and Bheja Fry 2 Sagar Ballary, director and writer of films like Mirch, Godmother and Virasat, Vinay Shukla, and Saurabh Shukla who has written films like Fatso! and Acid Factory will be the panelists.
Is taxation killing Indian Cinema …?
On October 20, a panel comprising director Sudhir Mishra, actor-producer Vivek Vaswani, CFO, UTV, Rajeev Wagle and chartered accountant Anil Sekhri who specializes in taxation will discuss the rationale behind taxation on entertainment, and whether the percentage is completely outlandish.
Documentaries vis-à-vis features: Isn’t there really a scarcity of funding, platforms and business? Or, is it?
In the Open Forum on October 21, documentary filmmakers Anand Patwardhan, Rakesh Sharma, Kabir Khan, Mike Pandey, Brahmanand Singh, Bishakha Datta, Anjali Monterio, Moinuddin Mirza, Jabbar Patel and Jaideep Varma will meet to discuss the opportunities of funding and distribution for documentaries.