Thursday, October 27, 2011

Going Global via MAMI

Leena Manimekalai 

At the recent Mumbai Film Festival (MAMI), women wrote and directed six of the fourteen films competing for its major competition for first-time feature makers. And Satyen Bordoloi wrote an article, It’s Raining Women Filmmakers in Mami This Year.* I questioned him about the MAMI article. Last year, I said, MAMI had an all-women jury headed by Jane Campion. The people who run this festival must be pro-women, that’s wonderful. No, he said. Until he mentioned it, the organizers didn’t even realise that there were so many women’s films. Rashid Irani, senior film critic and a selection committee member said to Satyen:
When I’m talking to you, I realize that one of the most unprecedented things for any festival is that in the competition we have 6 debut women filmmakers...And each one of them is such a stunning debut that you have to see it to believe it.
They’d just chosen the best films. That’s all. I continued to argue with Satyen. Women’s films are often among the best, I said, but not selected, because women and men tend to promote men’s work more strongly when they advise decision-makers and advocate for inclusion. I believe that a subliminal change in attitude among all concerned can cause this kind of shift. Maybe more women made submissions because of the all-women jury last year, which told them women are welcome in Mumbai? Maybe advocates and advisers felt comfortable promoting women’s films, for the same reason? Satyen wasn’t convinced. And there were also more films directed by women in competition at Cannes this year, so maybe women now more easily find the resources to make good films? (From what I hear, I don't think so.)  Anyway, I turned to the films.