The annual Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival has been postponed to 2021, according to a press statement from the Mumbai Academy of Moving Image that organises the event. The decision was taken “in the light of the coronavirus crisis, the devastating pain and suffering across the country and uncertainty over the reopening of cinemas in Mumbai”, the press release stated.

The festival, which is popularly known as MAMI, is usually held in October every year. A hugely popular event in the Mumbai cultural calendar, MAMI showcases a wide selection of international arthouse films and documentaries. Its sections on Indian cinema, particularly the competitive India Gold category, have emerged as a reliable barometer of what Indian filmmakers are thinking about and creating. The events include Movie Mela, in which delegates get an opportunity to interact with Hindi film celebrities.

“It is with a heavy heart that we have decided to postpone the Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival 2020 to next year,” Isha Ambani, who is on MAMI’s board of trustees, said in the press release. “It is our responsibility to do everything we can to keep our communities safe during this crisis. We are humbled and grateful for the special place that the festival has carved for itself in Mumbai’s cultural landscape. We promise that the festival will come back with fullness in spirit and enthusiasm for our beloved city of Mumbai.”

Sidebar events that went virtual with the onset of the pandemic, such as conversations with filmmakers and premieres of independent features, will continue, festival director Anupama Chopra said. “We have decided to prioritise healing this year and hold the festival in its full splendour next year,” Chopra added. A selection committee will continue to watch Indian films that could possibly be premiered in collaboration with MAMI, the press release added.

“We stay committed to the independent filmmaking community and our audience”, Smriti Kiran, the festival’s artistic director, said in the press release. “We will continue to nurture the community, serve our audience and expand our footprint by adding more extensions to our digital arm and creating value for filmmakers who are already at a loss this year.”