Crowd funding comes to the rescue of Mumbai Film Festival

(MENAFN- Khaleej Times) Mamis crowd-funding campaign went viral on social media and over the past few days it has been able to raise about Rs15 million.Crowd-funding and generous contributions by some prominent filmmakers and industrialists has finally helped rescue the Mumbai Film Festival (MFF) which was all set to be junked this year because of lack of money.

The MFF organised by the Mumbai Academy of Moving Image (Mami) a trust set up by the late filmmaker Hrishikesh Mukherjee in 1997 and comprising leading Bollywood directors including Shyam Benegal Ramesh Sippy Karan Johar Anurag Kashyap and Farhan Akhtar saw a massive funds crunch this year.

In a last-ditch effort to save the festival the organisers launched a social media campaign to raise funding. “We are overwhelmed by the response” Srinivasan Narayan festival director told Khaleej Times. “I have had college students calling me up and offering contributions of Rs5000 and Rs10000.”

Of course there have been larger contributions from industrialists and filmmakers as well. Anand Mahindra chairman and managing director of automotive major Mahindra & Mahindra — who recently set up Cinestaan Film Company along with Rohit Khattar the chairman — committed Rs6 million to the festival.

Mami’s crowd-funding campaign went viral on social media and over the past few days it has been able to raise about Rs15 million. According to Narayan the organisation needs at least Rs50 million to ensure the festival is held. It covers screening fees for international titles hospitality for the prominent guests (including notable filmmakers) who are invited from around the world the cost of the venue and the prize money.

The MFF has in the past honoured several prominent personalities including Oliver Stone and Costa Gavras. The renowned French filmmaker was given the lifetime achievement award last year. This year the MFF — which has also been featuring a special section on Arab cinema — has invited French actor Catherine Deneuve.

The funds crunch came about after Reliance Entertainment which was the main sponsor of the festival for the past five years did not lend its support this time. The organisers could not find an alternative supporter with deep pockets.

Ironically in one of the world’s biggest entertainment hubs — where many box-office hits fetch revenues exceeding Rs2 to Rs3 billion — it became difficult for a non-commercial festival to raise a mere Rs50 million.

But thanks to the social media campaign the festival has been rescued this year. Besides small donors filmmakers including Vidhu Vinod Chopra Rajkumar Hirani Manish Mundra Vivek Kajaria Nilesh Navlakha and Hansal Mehta have contributed their mite.

Says Khattar of Cinestaan: “Anand Mahindra and I believe that a festival as important as this should not belong to one sponsor or studio. As the youngest film studio we would appeal to the larger studios production houses and to all film lovers in Mumbai to take joint ownership. This is our festival and even the smallest contribution would help fulfill our mission.”

The festival will now be held here between October 14 and 21. — nithinkhaleejtimes.com For more news from Khaleej Times follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/khaleejtimes and on Twitter at khaleejtimes Follow khaleejtimes ->

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