Mumbai: The international competition section at the ongoing 12th Mumbai Film Festival this year has a curious pattern. The 14 films, almost meticulously selected to represent the world, have narratives mostly by first timers. Sharing the stage together, were 11 directors who shared their cinematic experience and problems of making their own films.
Putting the untrodden experience of filmmaking into perspective, Iran born Swedish filmmaker Babak Najafi Tuesday said: "Once I was young and beautiful, making my first film has made me an old man. It took me five years." He is showcasing his film "Sebbe" at the fest.
Though the filmmakers were from different parts of the world, it was uncanny to see how similar their experience of making debut movies was.
Daniel Vega, who co-directed the Un Certain Regard section at Cannes winner "Octubre", with his brother Diego, said: "My wife was the line producer in the film and we were so mad during the eight weeks of shooting that we did not talk to each other. She`d communicate to me through my brother. But at the end of it we were so happy to have made the film and all that was quickly forgotten."
"Before this experience, I was very critical of other films, now I try to see the positive thing in every film," he added.
The star of the event, however, was actor-turned director Aamir Bashir, whose film "Harud" ("Autumn") is also in competition. He had the rare privilege of shooting in Kashmir and admitted that every day of shoot was like "an obstacle race".
Calling his film an "inside-out view on Kashmir" he said that he felt satisfied making a film on the valley because "there was not one genuine story on Kashmir despite it being in a conflict zone."
Thai filmmaker Anusha, the only woman on stage but the second woman in competition, said: "The film was selected not because I am a woman, but because it is a good film."
When asked who among them should win, "A Stone Throw Away" director Sebastian Hiriart said, "We all deserve to win. It is not a race or a swimming competition where the strongest or the fastest would win. Cinema is subjective."
And festival director Srinivasan Narayanan agreed.
"If I could I would create 14 awards and give one to each of these 14 films. I`m wondering about the dilemma the jury might be facing, and the fights they might be having in giving away the prize," he said.