The 13th edition of the Mumbai Film Festival (MAMI) that kickstarted Thursday has an impressive line-up of over 200 films from 60 countries, but one stunning difference. Of the films in the highly coveted international competition, almost half are from debut women filmmakers.
From the 14 films in the highly coveted international competition, which is for first-time film directors, six films are by women filmmakers - truly a first.
Even the festival organizers weren't aware of this fact.
"While talking to you I realised that one of the most unprecedented things for any festival is that in competition we have six debut women filmmakers vying for the many prizes," Rashid Irani, senior film critic and a selection committee member told IANS.
"And each one of them is such a stunning debut that you have to see it to believe it," he added.
The films 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.
Festival director Srinivasan Narayanan is happy to see so many women filmmakers in this competition.
"Last year we had an all women's jury and this year we have women dominating the competition section. What more could we ask for?"
During the seven-day-long film festival, movie buffs will enjoy visual delights from the masters of the art like renowned international directors Lars Von Trier, Wim Wenders, Gus Van Sant and Bela Tarr.
Apart from this, the winners from the world's best film festivals, including Cannes, Berlin and Venice, will also be showcased during the festival.
"This is by far the best festival we have had under MAMI so far and the best in the country," MAMI chairman Shyam Benegal told IANS.
"The quality of any film festival should be judged by its films. This year we have an enviable line up of not only the best films made in the world last year, but also the best from the Cannes Critics Week, first films of Indian filmmakers, great first film in competition etc. There's something in the festival for everyone - the film professionals, cinema lovers and especially the youth hungry for good cinema," he added.
MAMI organises the festival along with Reliance Entertainment.