'The Butler' opens Mumbai International Film Fest
Friday, 18 October 2013
Mumbai: Lee Daniels' 'The Butler' opened the 15th edition of Mumbai International Film Festival which on Thursday honoured renowned Greek-French filmmaker Costa-Gavras and actor-director Kamal Haasan with the lifetime achievement awards for their contribution to cinema. The historical drama is the true-life inspired story of Eugene Allen, a White House butler who served eight US presidents, and stars actors like Forest Whitakar and Oprah Winfrey in lead roles. The eight-day-long festival, organised by Mumbai Academy of Moving Images and Reliance Entertainment, was inaugurated by Maharastra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, festival chairman Shyam Benegal and guest of honour Sonakshi Sinha. Benegal highlighted that the festival, which has grown strength to strength, still needs a permanent venue and more support from the government in running it smoothly. Chavan, who presented the Lifetime Achievement award to Gavras, said the government will work more closely with the festival. "We give some financial support to the festival and will give more," Chavan said, adding that the government was working closely with the film fraternity to resolve issues related to taxation. The CM said he was happy to present the Lifetime Achievement award to Gavras as the director's films were a huge influence on him. Gavras, the man behind classic political stories like 'Amen', 'Z', ‘Missing’ and ‘Capital, received a standing ovation as he reached up to the stage to receive his award. The filmmaker said he was moved to be acknowledged by a cinema loving audience. "We are in a big fight, an exceptional fight for making free movies. This award will help me in this fight and give me courage to make more such movies," Gavras said. Haasan acknowledged the contribution of people like Benegal, Gavras and K G Balachander for his cinematic career, saying many of his films were influenced by these master directors. "I did not prepare a speech because I knew I would fumble anyway. Film festivals have been the best teachers by providing a learning space to people like me," Haasan said.