The Mumbai Academy of Moving Image’s (MAMI) film festival which is slated to take off from October 14 till October 21, 2014 will complete its 16th year of existence if it manages to raise money to cover the expenses of the festival. Unfortunately, due to the expired five year sponsorship deal with Anil Ambani’s Reliance Entertainment after last year’s event, the organizers of the festival have struggled to move forward.

The festival committee needs Rs 5 crore  to cover the expenses for the festival and has all his hopes on its CrowdFunding Campaign.

Festival chairperson Shyam Benegal, however, seemed confident of being able to put up the show.

“Like any other set-up hits a rough patch, we are facing a crisis of sorts this year. But things aren’t so bad and I am hopeful that we will pull it off and cinema lovers won’t be disappointed. The thing with sponsorships is that it is not wise to rely on them completely. Now we have a better strategy in place, which includes crowd funding. At the end of the dark tunnel, I see light,” he said.

The Lunchbox actress, Nimrat Kaur stated, “The only film festival in our city needs support to survive. Every muscle will count to keep this from collapsing.”

Director Hansal Mehta, who was given his first award for his film Shahid in 2012 by Mumbai Film Festival, said, “I am saddened by this news. A city that gives Hindi cinema its highest revenue might not have a film festival,” he said, hoping the crowd-funding route helps the festival survive. “If 5,000 cinema lovers and industry giants contribute Rs 10,000 each, the required Rs 5 crore to sustain the festival can be raised,” he added.

Filmmaker and social activist Ashoke Pandit also strongly voiced his concerns. “In an industry where films are making Rs 200-300 crore, a film festival shouldn’t have to struggle to survive.
Top producers and film associations should come together and work out a way to ensure that this festival doesn’t die.”

The Mumbai Film Festival was founded in 1997 by a group of film industry stalwarts that were headed by late Hrishikesh Mukherjee. The main intention of the event was to acknowledge the film industry and its actors for which the country can be proud of. It has been divided into nine sections: International Competition for the First Feature Films of Directors, World Cinema, Indian Frame, Dimensions Mumbai, Celebrate Age, Retrospectives, Above the Cut , New Faces in Indian Cinema and The Real Reel. The festival aims to present the best of the crop in all its section

Meanwhile, some sources said the festival organisers were planning to launch a website next week, which will accept contributions from film enthusiasts and industry veterans in support of the festival. The organising committee will release a statement about future plans on Monday.