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The Film Festival Guide to Mumbai

Picture of Sridevi Nambiar
Updated: 19 September 2016
Mumbai is the undisputed cinema capital of India. So it is only natural that the city is home to some of the most exciting film festivals in the country, along with the biggest production houses and distribution companies. Here we have rounded up a list of the top five film festivals that have continued to bring the best of world cinema to Mumbai, while at the same time supporting indigenous talent.

Mumbai Film Festival

The Jio Mumbai Academy of Moving Image (MAMI) Mumbai Film Festival, commonly known as Jio MAMI festival is one of India’s biggest film festivals. This festival gets a lot more involvement and interaction with mainstream Bollywood than other festivals in the city. The festival was first organized in 1997 under the leadership of the late Sri Hrishikesh Mukherjee, one of yesteryear India’s most remembered film directors. The festival aimed to disseminate and inculcate appreciation of good cinema among Indian audiences. The Board of Trustees believed that the only way to achieve this was by hosting an international film festival in Mumbai. The festival screens over 200 films over the course of eight days.

PART 2 ❤️🙊❤️ #mami2015 #mumbaifilmfestival #supportivemessage #deepveer #RanveerSingh #DeepikaPadukone

A video posted by ✨Deepika🌹Ranveer✨ (@deepveer_love) on

KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival

Founded in 2010, KASHISH is India’s first LGBT film festival to be held with approval from the Government of India’s Information and Broadcasting Ministry. Voted as one of the ‘Top 5 coolest LGBT film festivals in the world’ by MovieMaker magazine via an audience poll, this festival gets heavy participation from Bollywood and international cinema personalities. KASHISH, however, is more than just cool. This important film festival believes that cinema is a powerful medium capable of spurring change, and uses the power of film to rally public opinion towards equality and dignity for the LGBTQ community. The five-day film festival screens narrative features, shorts, documentaries, etc, from around the world, while also seeking to provide a supportive platform for queer cinema from the country.

Mumbai Shorts International Film Festival

The Mumbai Shorts International Film Festival provides a much needed platform for short filmmakers from around the country seeking to bring exposure to their work. The festival started in 2012 with the consultation of senior members from the film industry seeking to create a short films culture in India. The festival aims is to feature and celebrate the best of international cinema and at the same time provide an opportunity for professional networking opportunities and for discussing and disseminating knowledge of current trends in short filmmaking.

Jagran Film Festival

Jagran is a one-of-a-kind travelling film festival, starting from Delhi, travelling through Kanpur, Lucknow, Allahabad, Varanasi, Agra, Meerut, Dehradun, Hisar, Ludhiana, Patna, Ranchi, Jamshedpur, Raipur, Indore, and Bhopal and finally culminating in Mumbai. The festival claims to be geographically the largest in the world, as it claims to have connected with over 50,000 people last year by having visited 16 towns and hosted 400+ screenings and 16 cinema appreciation workshops. Its primary aim is to connect great content with audiences across the country and promote a culture of cinema appreciation.

QnA session with #AanandLRai at #jagranfilmfestival after screening of #NilBatteySannata #Meerut

A photo posted by Colour Yellow (@colouryellowproductions) on

Mumbai International Film Festival

This biennial festival was founded in 1990 with the collaboration of the Government of Maharashtra and the Indian Documentary Producers’ Association. Specializing in documentaries, shorts and animations, the Mumbai International Film Festival is one of the primary platforms for independent, alternative cinema from around the country. Its commitment to promoting indigenous cinema led the festival board to create a separate competitive category for Indian film screenings. Its foreign cinema categories represent 40+ countries on an average.