Due to the challenges owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 21st edition of the MAMI Mumbai Film Festival has been postponed to 2021. MAMI is the latest among a slew of international film festivals to be cancelled this year globally, and is counted among the most important events in the Indian film festival calendar.
The decision was taken unanimously by the Mumbai Academy of Moving Image (MAMI). The festival will be releasing its official selection of Indian films for the year later in August. “We will focus and put our might behind our Year Round Programme’s digital imprint,” said Anupama Chopra, Festival Director.
While several film festivals like Kashish Queer International Film Festival and New York Indian Film Festival took their 2020 edition completely online, Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) has adopted a hybrid model, including drive-in and digital press screenings and virtual red carpets. The TIFF has announced a truncated line-up of 50 new feature films, much lower than its usual 200. London International Film Festival has also announced a hybrid edition to take place in October. Venice International Film Festival, the world’s oldest film festival, will take place with physical distancing rules in place in early September.
Earlier in May, Cannes Film Festival pushed their 2020 edition to June, but later announced that cancellation and said that they will not be going virtual. Last month, the Telluride Film Festival announced they will not be holding the festival this year, after promising a physically-distanced event.
“There is absolutely no denying that the pandemic has posed an unprecedented challenge to independent films and filmmakers, and there is no digital experience that can replicate a physical festival,” said Smriti Kiran Artistic Director, MAMI.
During the lockdown in the last four months, MAMI launched an online extension to its year-round progamme, showcasing curated films digitally to a registered audience, and has also started an online knowledge series, Dial M For Films. In the months ahead, the festival plans to focus on its verticles like the Word to Screen Market, Young Critics Lab and the Industry Programme, and expand their footprints nationally.