The 22nd edition of the Mumbai film festival has been postponed to 2021 in light of the ongoing coronavirus crisis in India, the organizers announced Tuesday.
The festival, run by the Mumbai Academy of the Moving Image (MAMI) and sponsored by billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s telecommunications giant Jio, was originally scheduled for November. The festival will release its official selection of Indian films later this month.
“It is with a heavy heart that we have decided to postpone the Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival 2020 to next year,” said Isha Ambani of the MAMI board of trustees. “It is our responsibility to do everything we can to keep our communities safe during this crisis.”
“2020 is about survival, introspection and humility,” said festival director Anupama Chopra. “We have decided to prioritise healing this year and hold the festival in its full splendor next year.
For this year, the festival will focus on its year-round program of films. It announced a collaboration recently with streamer Mubi to show one film a month from their catalogue. The partnership began with Sanal Kumar Sasidharan’s controversial Rotterdam winner “S. Durga.” The festival will also continue with its virtual knowledge series ‘Dial M For Films.’
“The pandemic has posed an unprecedented challenge to independent films and filmmakers, and there is no digital experience that can replicate a physical festival. But this unfortunate predicament has also come with its own share of opportunities,” said the festival’s artistic director Smriti Kiran. “Our online knowledge series, ‘Dial M For Films’ has received staggering love. We will be taking both the academy and Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival’s key initiatives online and work towards strengthening and exploring a new frontier for MAMI opened by the digital format that is not confined by geography.”
India has 1.86 million known coronavirus cases with 39,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University in the U.S.