Mumbai: The 14th edition of Mumbai International Festival for Documentary, Short and Animation Films – MIFF 2016 was inaugurated by the Maharashtra Chief Minister Shri Devendra Fadnavis and Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting Col. Rajyavardhan Rathore in Mumbai today in the presence of veteran film maker Shri Shyam Benegal, MIFF brand ambassador Jackie Shroff, IDPA President Mike Pandey and Festival Director Mukesh Sharma.
Speaking on the occasion Union Minister Col. Rathore said “digital technology has ushered in a new era in film making and is greatly contributing to the documentary film movement.” He said MIFF has been playing a pivotal role in promoting documentary and short film culture in the country by providing a platform for filmmakers to exchange ideas.
“It is heartening to note that our film makers, despite great financial hurdles have gone ahead and made excellent films, displaying a mature approach while dealing with social and economic issues. Such films should not remain unseen” Col Rathore said. The Minister added that the Government would consider making one of the Doordarshan Channels, perhaps DD Bharati, a platform to promote documentary films. He asserted that the Government has no interest in curbing the creativity of film makers and added that the I&B Ministry has set up a Committee under Shyam Benegal to look into the revamp of film certification process.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Shri Devendra Fadnavis also underlined the importance of documentaries and short films and said “to promote animation and short films, the Maharashtra Government is ready to allot land in the Film City itself in Mumbai to set up a National Institute of Animation & Short Films “.
MIFF Brand Ambassador Jackie Shroff said “documentary films are close to my heart, I myself want to make a documentary film tracing my mother’s journey from Turkmenistan to India”.
At the inaugural ceremony of MIFF 2016, Shri Fadnavis and Col. Rathore honoured the veteran wildlife film maker Shri Naresh Bedi with the V Shantaram Life Time Achievement Award. The award comprising a trophy, shawl and a cash prize of Rs 5 lakhs (Rs 500,000) is instituted in memory of legendary film maker V Shantaram, who was head of the Films Division in the past.
Naresh Bedi, eldest of the Bedi Brothers, is counted amongst the foremost wildlife documentary makers, being the first Asian to receive the Wildscreen Red Panda award. A graduate of the Film & Television Institute of India, FTII, Pune, Bedi has made films which have been shown on National Geographic, Discovery Channel, BBC, Channel 4 etc. He is credited with filming several rare wildlife movements. His film ‘Cherub of the Mist’ about the life of two cute red pandas had the honour of being the opening film of MIFF 2016.
MIFF 2016 – a biennial event, organized by the Films Division of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting and supported by the Government of Maharashtra will feature 30 films in International Competition, including 12 from India and 27 films in National Competition vying for the Golden Conch Award. The festival will screen a total of 385 films over the 6 day event.
The screenings will be held at the Films Division theatres, Russian Culture Centre and Sophia College theatres at Pedder Road, Mumbai. Screenings will also be held at the Mumbai University auditorium Kalina, Mumbai & Doordashan Kendra (Worli).
Apart from International and National competition, screening of films in MIFF Prism, Indian Premiers, Jury retrospectives, Animation and award winning films from different countries, Children’s documentary films, North East package, FD and PSBT (Public Service Broadcasting Trust) films, homages etc, making it a wholesome viewing experience for the delegates of MIFF-2016. The festival also presents special packages from leading international documentary film festivals like Berlin, Dresden, DokLeipzig from Germany and Leiria from Portugal, he added.
Some of the best documentaries of 2015, among them Mohammed Ali Naqvi and Hemal Trivedi’s “Among the Believers” a new documentary about the roots of religious extremism in Pakistan and Joshua Oppenheimer’s “The Look of Silence” -a Danish documentary about Indonesian killings of 1965-66 and Rinku Kalsy’s ‘For the Love of a Man’ – a documentary about the cult of adulation for Rajanikant in South India are among the top draws.
The International Jury for the Festival comprises prominent documentary makers Don Askarian from Germany, Jesper Andersen from Denmark, Mathiue Roy of Canada, Siddharth Kak and Gitanjali Rao. Mike Pandey, Uma DaCunha, Biju Dhanapalan, Audrius Stonys (Lithuania) and Jane Yu (Taiwan) are the members of the National Jury.
The festival will also have Master classes by Jury and eminent film makers, Camera and Digital workshops, Producers’ Forum, Panel discussions, Seminar and Open Forum by IDPA, under the MIFF Hub. Cash prizes worth Rs 60 lakhs (Rs 6 million) would be distributed for the winners in various categories along with Golden Conch Awards. In addition the festival will also honour a veteran personality from the Indian documentary fraternity with the esteemed V Shantaram Lifetime Achievement Award that carries a cash component of Rs. 5 lac, trophy and a citation.