Indian filmmaker Kiran Rao has been appointed creative director of Mumbai’s first arthouse cinema, FilmBay, an initiative of India’ National Film Development Corporation (NFDC), to be launched by the end of this year. 

The FilmBay aims to screen independent and arthouse films and documentaries that are otherwise unlikely to receive a traditional theatrical release in India.

It will also serve as a discussion and educational hub for the local film industry and cinephile audience. It will also hold screenings for local school children. 

Rao will be supported by Mumbai film festival director Anupama Chopra and filmmakers Anurag Kashyap, Zoya Akhtar, Dibakar Banerjee and Rohan Sippy. 

FilmBay will be based at an existing theatre at Sherly Rajan Village in the Bandra West district of Mumbai. NFDC will revamp the venue, which will be equipped with an exhibition hall, 100-seater digital cinema, a reading and research library, a bookshop and a cafeteria.

The venue has been given on lease to NFDC by the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai for a period of 30 years from January 2015. 

“It has long been my dream to have a space for cinema as art, where one can experience and engage in different ways with a diverse and challenging array of films, and Filmbay is that dream coming true,” said Rao. 

NFDC managing director Nina Lath Gupta said: “This multi-faceted initiative, a brainchild of Kiran Rao, supports NFDC’s intent of pursuing innovative methods of exhibiting and making accessible diverse filmic content to a larger audience base, thus promoting India’s vibrant cinematic movement.”