Monday, October 24, 2016

Meet Pankaj Tripathi at today’s ‘Mango Dreams’ screening!

18th Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival
October 20 - 27, 2016
Discovering India section

Winner of the Special Jury Award for Bridging Cultures—Arizona International Film Festival 2016
Mango Dreams
USA, 2016, 93 min, English

followed by Q&A
with director, producer, editor John Upchurch and festival curator Uma da Cunha

 October 25, Tuesday, PVR Phoenix - Audi 2, 2:55 pm

Attending screening and available for interviews
Director John Upchurch, Actors Riju Bajaj, Ram Gopal Bajaj
Samir Kochhar, Pankaj Tripathi, Nouman Ahsan (DOP), Sunil Kaushik (music director)

On realising that he has dementia, Amit, an elderly medical practitioner, longs to return to his childhood home.  In order to attain some peace of mind, he feels the need to confront the memories that have haunted him. Unwilling to be placed in an old age home, he runs away and encounters Salim, a good-natured rickshaw driver, who offers to drive the doctor anywhere to repay the debt for saving his son’s life. Along the way, Amit and Salim forge an unforgettable friendship and help each other. Both have suffered in some ways when India was divided into two. A journey that has undercurrents of the horror of the partition and the communal disharmony it gave birth to, culminates at the Indo-Pak border with a surprise reunion. The stellar cast has the revered film academic Ram Gopal Bajaj in the lead role alongside Pankaj Tripathi, and Naseeruddin Shah in a guest appearance.

"Although Mango Dreams is my first feature film, I have been working to become a storyteller my whole life. I was born and raised in rural America, a farming town in North Carolina. Growing up, the best entertainment could be found at the feet of local storytellers—my grandparents, thefarmers at the hardware store, my barber. I was surrounded by great storytellers. Their stories were engaging, made me laugh, but more importantly, made me think. Today, I still look up to the storytellers of my childhood. I love how theysparked my imagination, opened my mind to new ideas, and encouraged me to care and to feel more deeply. I grew up wanting to touch people the same way the storytellers of my childhood touched me. I started out by sharing and passing down their stories. Then, I began to create stories of my own. I learned early that a good story does more than entertain. A good story provokes thought between laughter, promotes healing between tears, transmits a message of hope. In short, a good story should enlighten as it entertains. The greatest thing I can ever hope to do in this life is tell a good story."

- John Upchurch

Paul Cox Tribute at Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Fesival

Tribute to Australian filmmaker
Paul Cox
(April 16, 1940 - June 18, 2016)

18th Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival
October 20 - 27, 2016
Discovering India section  

Screening of Paul Cox’s final film
nspired by his memoir about his victorious battle with liver cancer

Force of Destiny

Seema Biswas, Shahana Goswami, Dr Mohan Agashe
and Australian star David Wenham

October 26, Wednesday, PVR Phoenix - Audi 2, 3:30 pm

The screening will be addressed by
National Award winning director Anand Gandhi (Ship of Theseus),
and Dr Samir Shah,
 Institute of Liver Disease, HPB Surgery and Transplant, Global Hospitals, Mumbai  

“The ‘inner voice’ of Force of Destiny and the chronological order, are from my recent book Tales From the Cancer Ward. The actual story was inspired by an experience I had in India years ago. Moods and scenes overlap, as distinctions between reality and fantasy blur...'Force of Destiny' has the potential to match any drama in terms of truth, anguish, humour and high emotion. Above all it is a love story and is my first feature film in this new phase of my life.” 

 Paul Cox

This life-celebrating story is about a sculptor who survives a liver transplant and falls in love. The film is also a cry for organ donation. Major portions of the film have been shot in Trivandrum, Kerala.

Robert is a renowned sculptor who lives alone surrounded by the tools of his trade and his highly distinctive artworks. Robert is close to his daughter Poppy, but has an unresolved relationship with Hannah from whom he is separated. The family is stunned when Robert is diagnosed with cancer of the liver and six months to live. In the process of physical decline and mental turmoil, Robert meets Maya, an Indian marine biologist who comes from a different world, a different reality. Maya’s uncle also has cancer and is preparing for death by passing on his wisdom and knowledge with grace and acceptance. Against all the odds, Robert is put on the transplant list. New hope and future possibilities appear, deepening his planetary journey with Maya. In Robert’s last tumultuous months his nightmares and passion for Maya intensify. His love blossoms and he has to confront the agony/ecstasy of finding a love that has evaded him his entire life just as his body is about to be taken away from him.

Paul Cox, is an auteur of international acclaim. Born in Holland, he migrated to Australia in the mid 1960’s. Initially working as a still photographer and teaching at Prahran College, Paul has retained his love of photography whilst also becoming one of Australia’s most prolific and individualistic filmmakers. Paul Cox’s early films were impressionistic shorts and his early features, 'Lonely Hearts' (1981), 'Man of Flowers' (1983) and 'My First Wife' (1984) were highly acclaimed both locally and internationally. Over a 40 year career, the signature traits of Paul Cox’s work are a deep humanism, a poignant and realistic focus on relationships and a profound affinity with the arts, no more evident than in his two stand-out documentaries: 'Vincent: The Life and Death of Vincent van Gogh' (1987) and 'The Diaries of Vaslav Nijinsky' (2001).

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Mainak Dhar's '417 Miles' at Jio MAMI today!

'417 Miles' — Mainak Dhar’s delightful road trip buddy movie

Catch its Asia Premiere at

18th Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival
October 20 - 27, 2016
Discovering India section

Barcelona International Film Festival - Golden Lion Award 

Official Selection

US Long Beach Indie International Film and Media Festival
Euro Fest European International Film Festival, St. Petersburg.
Sunrise Film Festival, Canada

417 Miles
USA, 2016, 74 min, English, Hindi, Tamil

followed by Q&A with
writer and director Mainak Dhar, actor Sarah Rosenberg
and festival curator Uma da Cunha

Monday, October 24, PVR Phoenix - Audi 2, 2:30 pm

2nd Screening Thursday, October 27, PVR ECX - Audi 2, 11.30 am

Former college buddies, Tanveer and Srinivasan, have lost touch over the years. Tanveer, a 9 to 5 Silicon Valleyite, lives a very western, suburban life. Srinivasan is an emerging director of independent cinema in Mumbai. On learning that Srinivasan’s latest film has been invited to a festival in Los Angeles, Tanveer offers to drive him there. On their road trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles, they realize that even though their paths in life have diverged widely, some things have not changed. The journey down the Pacific Coast highway leads to them discovering a few things about themselves and each other. As they share this ride we learn that despite having grown in very different directions some things never change.

Mainak Dhar worked as a Assistant Director to Prakash  Jha during 2003/2004 (‘Gangajaal’) before moving to Los Angeles with the goal of watching as many movies as possible during the next 3 years and return to India to start making movies. Life and love happened. He has been working as an editor in LA for past 5 years. 2014 was the year he started to make the transition from editor to director. It started with ‘Honk For Steve’,  a  short doc about a neighborhood character. Being heavily influenced by Mumblecore movement he plans to make 3 zero budget films in the next 3 years. ‘417 Miles’ is the first in the series.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

John Upchurch's heart-clenching 'Mango Dreams' at Jio MAMI!

A tale of hope with the tragic undercurrent of the partition
Mango Dreams has touched audiences everywhere it has screened 

Catch its India Premiere at

18th Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival
October 20 - 27, 2016
Discovering India section

Winner of the Special Jury Award for Bridging Cultures—Arizona International Film Festival 2016
Mango Dreams
USA, 2016, 93 min, English

followed by Q&A
with director, producer, editor John Upchurch and festival curator Uma da Cunha

Sunday, October 23, PVR Phoenix - Audi 3, 2.00 pm 

2nd Screening October 25, Tuesday, PVR Phoenix - Audi 2, 2:55 pm

Attending screening and available for interviews
Director John Upchurch, Actors Riju Bajaj, Naseeruddin Shah, Ram Gopal Bajaj
Samir Kochhar, Pankaj Tripathi, Nouman Ahsan (DOP), Sunil Kaushik (music director)

Cathy Varvaris, Osho News

"Sometimes a film transports you to somewhere else for a few minutes of entertainment and sometimes a film has the power to move your heart and change your mind; forever imprinting it's message on your heart. This is a must see film! Thank you for this important work.”

Note from director of the CEBU International Film Festival

"After much deliberation, the 6-member jury decided to give your film Mango Dreams a special jury prize that we call the Humanity Award. Your film was moving to several of the jurors, and one juror in particular refused to leave the proceedings until your film was given recognition. And because your film covers so many diverse topics—family, religion, politics, aging, geographical boundaries, history and so forth—the only way to encompass all these concepts was to say that this film does a service to all humanity." 

Note from the festival director of the Arizona International Film Festival

"It was a very successful screening. I was at the exit doors when the crowd came out and most of them were teary-eyed. You were missed in person but I think you connected with the spirit of the film."

Notes from the Cleveland International Film Festival jury

"It really did feel like a journey across India, it felt like as an audience we were able to catch a glimpse and really see what it is like there, almost as if this were a documentary. The film itself was really well done, and in a country with such a complicated history it was really neat to see such a unique and personal touch."
" was a really great adventure and a great story about family and friendship."
" really came across like it was shot with a guerrilla style methodology. This is so drastically different than most movies and it made the film pull you in and make you a part of every scene. Everything looked legitimate and whoever was leading the costume department for the film deserves an award."
"Mango Dreams was a good, solid film about something that's important to all of us: Life and forgiveness for oneself and those that have trespassed against us. Given its depth and importance, it's also a film worth a repeat viewing."