According to a Whatsapp message sent to me by the senior journalist Dilip Thakur, the first-ever Marathi film festival organised outside of Maharashtra will have its first edition in New Jersey in 2021. Speaking about it, the festival director Nita Pednekar Patel said, “Marathi International Film Festival (MIFF) is the first-ever Marathi Film Festival to be organized outside Maharashtra, India.
MIFF’s mission is to promote Marathi Culture and Music, through the art of cinema across the world. The First Edition of MIFF is going to take place in the United States of America.” MIFF will be attended by all regional Distributors & Exhibitors from and across the USA. Patel adds, “The biggest supporter of our film festival is a corporation that provides major content to Netflix & Amazon.”Well-known art director Nitin Chandrakant Desai and producer Ashok Subhedar of Madhuri Dixit starrer Bucket List fame are the jury members, and filmmaker Hemant Pandya is the technical director of the MIFF.
In the last fifteen years, Marathi cinema has produced some of the path-breaking and national award winning films. The USP of Marathi cinema has been its content that has brought the audience to the theatres on its merit than film stars’. Shwaas, Sairat, Court, Killa, Harishchandrachi Factory, Natarang, Fandry, Deool, Natasamrat, Kakasparsh are some of the recent films that have won accolades and were well received by the audiences too.
Shwaas, Harishchandrachi Factory were also selected as India’s official entry to the Academy Awards for the Best Foreign Language Film category.After all, India’s first feature length film was a Marathi film – Raja Harishchandra directed by Dadasaheb Phalke who is called as the father of Indian Film Industry. 1960s and 70s were the golden period of Marathi cinema. After a decline in the 80s and 90s, Marathi cinema again rose to fame beginning with Shwaas. Today, more than 100 to 150 films are produced in Marathi every year. Many new voices like Nagaraj Manjule (Sairat), Chaitanya Tamhane (Court), Avinash Arun (Killa) have surfaced at the national level from Marathi cinema.
“With such original content and legacy, it was time that Marathi cinema had its first international film festival”, said MIFF festival director Neeta Pednekar Patel. MIFF has started accepting entries for the first edition through Film Freeway from all over the world. Marathi filmmakers and producers can submit their films through filmfreeway.com. You can read more about the festival on www.
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