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Aqui Y Alla, Miss Lovely win top prizes at Mumbai fest

Aqui Y Alla, directed by Spain’s Antonio Mendez Esparza, scooped both best film and best director in the international competition for first features at the close of the Mumbai film festival last night (Oct 25).

The film (pictured), about a Mexican worker who returns home after many years in the US, also won the grand prize of the Cannes Critics Week this year. The best film award at the Mumbai fest came with a cash prize of $100,000, awarded collectively awarded to the producer, director and sales agent of the film.

Meanwhile the jury grand prize with a cash award of $50,000 went to Beasts Of The Southern Wild; which also picked up best actor for Dwight Henry’s performance, and was awarded best film by the Mumbai Young Critics. Best actress went to Julia Garner for Electrick Children.

The Jury Award of Technical Excellence was awarded to DoP Pankaj Kumar for Anand Gandhi’s Ship Of Theseus, and the Special Jury Award was given to Musa Sayeed for Valley Of Saints.

In the new competition section for Indian features, India Gold, Ashim Ahluwalia’s Miss Lovely scooped the best film award, while Shahid was named Runner’s Up to Best Film and the Special Jury Award went to Manjeet Singh for Mumbai Cha Raja.

Miss Lovely also took the Reliance MediaWorks (RMW) CreaTech (Creativity & Technology) Award, which comes with comes with a $2,000 award of in-kind services from facilities giant RMW.

In the Celebrate Age competition, Night Boats by Igor Mirkovic was awarded best film, while The Delay from Rodrigo Pla took Runner’s Up to Best Film and Ping Pong by Hugh Hartford received the Special Mention from the jury. Local by Bharat Singh Pawar was awarded best film in short film competition, Dimensions Mumbai, and the Audience Choice Award went to The Hunt.

The festival’s move to the south of the city was deemed a success, with packed screenings at the two major venues - the National Centre for Performing Arts (NCPA) and Inox multiplex. Guests also found it convenient with the two screening venues within walking distance of the festival hotel, The Trident, which hosted events and the Mumbai Film Mart.

As it was held over the weekend, the film market attracted Mumbai film industry execs, who are located a few hours away in the Western suburbs. However attendance was down at weekday Master Classes as students and filmmakers found it difficult to commute. Satellite screenings were held at the Cinemax Versova, located in the heart of the Mumbai film industry.

The festival also held a series of Open Forum discussions on subjects including the role of a producer, film restoration and the international distribution of Indian films. On the eve of the festival (Oct 18-19), a screenwriting workshop was conducted by Melbourne film festival chair and script editor Claire Dobbin, New York-based screenwriter David Magee (Life Of Pi) and Indian filmmaker Dev Benegal.

The closing ceremony was held at the NCPA along with the screening of the closing film Blancanieves, directed by Spain’s Pablo Berger.

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