The 21st edition of the festival also honored ‘The Two Popes’ director Fernando Meirelles with an excellence in cinema award.
The 21st edition of the Mumbai Film Festival wrapped with an awards ceremony Thursday, and it was Ljubomir Stefanov and Tamara Kotevska’s meditative documentary Honeyland that picked up the event’s Golden Gateway award for best film in the international competition section.
Honeyland, a Macedonian docu that follows one of the last practitioners of wild beekeeping, also picked up a cash prize of $35,700. Australia’s entry in the foreign-language Oscar category, Rodd Rathjen’s human trafficking thriller Buoyancy, won the Silver Gateway award, which included a cash prize of $21,400.
Mumbai’s grand jury prize went to Suhaib Gasmelbari’s Talking About Trees while Carlo Sironi’s Sole earned a special jury mention as did Amjad Abu Alala’s You Will Die at Twenty.
The India Gold section’s Golden Gateway award for best film went to Prateek Vats’ Eeb Allay Ooo!. The film also earned a special jury mention for best male actor for Shardul Bhardwaj for his turn as a monkey catcher employed by the government to scare away monkeys in a high-security area of India’s capital, Delhi. The film also picked up a third win as best film in the Young Critics’ Choice Award.
Mohini Sharma won a special jury mention for best female actor for her turn in Aise Hi. The Silver Gateway award went to Gitanjali Rao’s animation feature Bombay Rose which had its world premiere in Venice where it was the first Indian animation feature to open the critic’s week section.
Saurav Rai’s Nimtoh won the grand jury prize for screenwriting.
The Film Critics Guild Award for best film went to director Kislay’s Aise Hi, while Deepti Gupta’s feminist documentary Shut Up Sona earned a special jury mention.
The newly instituted Manish Acharya Award for new voices in Indian cinema, named after the late director of 2007’s comedy Loins of Punjab Presents, saw a tie between Achal Mishra’s Gamak Ghar and Bombay Rose.
The festival’s Mumbai Dimensions award, honoring films inspired by India’s film and commercial capital, saw Akshay Sarjerao Danavale’s Batti winning the Golden Gateway award. The Silver Gateway Award went to Shubham Sanap’s Attention, while Deeksha Mhaskar’s Unsaid and Avishkar Bharadwaj’s Apna Apna Andaz earned a special jury mention.
The international competition jury was headed by acclaimed filmmaker Hany Abu-Assad, whose credits include Academy Award nominated films Paradise Now and Omar. Fellow jurors included South Indian director Vetri Maaran whose credits include India’s 2016 Oscar entry Visaaranai, Telluride Film Festival executive director Julie Huntsinger and Edinburgh International Film Festival artistic director Mark Adams.
The India Gold jury was headed by Franklin Leonard, founder of online platform The Blacklist, known for its annual list of the best unproduced screenplays; Cannes director of film department, Christian Jeune; IMDB CEO Col Needham; and Dublin International Film Festival director Grainne Humphreys.
The festival also honored acclaimed Brazilian director Fernando Meirelles with an excellence in cinema award Tuesday following the screening of his latest film The Two Popes, which will stream worldwide on Netflix.
The festival concluded with closing film Saand Ki Aankh, a real-life drama based on two women sharpshooters starring Taapsee Pannu and Bhumi Pednekar.