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Siraj Syed

Siraj Syed is the India Correspondent for and a member of FIPRESCI, the International Federation of Film Critics. He is a Film Festival Correspondent since 1976, Film-critic since 1969 and a Feature-writer since 1970. He is also an acting and dialogue coach. 



MFF 21, 02: Fernando Meirelles to get Excellence in Cinema Award

MFF 21, 02: Fernando Meirelles to get Excellence in Cinema Award

"My deepest thanks to MAMI and the Mumbai Film Festival for this honour. As a director who makes his home on the opposite side of the world from where this festival takes place, I am humbly reminded that cinema is the perfect conduit for people to recognise and celebrate our shared humanity. I have strived to convey in my films an understanding between people who do not seem to have anything in common. To show that we have more in common than we think. Your graciousness gives me hope that we—not just as lovers of film, but as a people—will recognize how crucial it is, now more than ever, to be more globally minded for the sake of our future. Thank you, Mumbai!"

--Message from the awardee.

Fernando Meirelles is an academy award-nominated Brazilian film-maker, producer and co-founder of O2 Films. His best-known film is City of God (Portuguese: Cidade de Deus), released in 2002 and nominated for four Oscars.

City of Men (Portuguese: Cidade dos Homens) was a 2002 Brazilian television programme created by Kátia Lund and Fernando Meirelles, the directors of the film City of God. The series was watched by 35 million viewers in Brazil and was released internationally on DVD shortly after the film, in 2003. In 2007, a feature-length film based on the series (produced by Fox and TV Globo) was released, directed by Paulo Morelli. It is often cited as a "spin-off" of the film, City of God. City of Men is a less violent and more light-hearted affair with (slums) dramedy elements (the film adaptation is darker, sharing its roots of City of God). However, the two do share some common aspects: the directors, some of the actors, and the setting of the Brazilian favela with its background of gangsters and poverty.

The programme tells the stories of Luis Cláudio and Uólace, better known by their nicknames Acerola (Douglas Silva) and Laranjinha (Darlan Cunha), respectively, who are two best friends, who live in a notorious Rio slum, in a community of drug-dealers, hustlers, and teenagers, struggling to fulfill their dreams.

Meirelles was also nominated for a Golden Globe award for best director in 2005 for his film The Constant Gardener, which garnered the Academy Award for best supporting actress to Rachel Weisz. He also directed the 2008 adaptation of José Saramago's novel Blindness, and the film, 360, in 2011. Recently, Meirelles was one of the directors of the opening ceremony of the Rio de Janeiro, 2016, Olympics. His latest project is the feature film, The Two Popes, made for Netflix, which is to be screened at MFF 21. Fernando Meirelles was born, and lives, in São Paulo, Brazil.

Teaser Trailer of The Two Popes:

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About Siraj Syed

Syed Siraj
(Siraj Associates)

Siraj Syed is a film-critic since 1970 and a Former President of the Freelance Film Journalists' Combine of India.

He is the India Correspondent of and a member of FIPRESCI, the international Federation of Film Critics, Munich, Germany

Siraj Syed has contributed over 1,015 articles on cinema, international film festivals, conventions, exhibitions, etc., most recently, at IFFI (Goa), MIFF (Mumbai), MFF/MAMI (Mumbai) and CommunicAsia (Singapore). He often edits film festival daily bulletins.

He is also an actor and a dubbing artiste. Further, he has been teaching media, acting and dubbing at over 30 institutes in India and Singapore, since 1984.

Bandra West, Mumbai


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