Mumbai docu, short fest sets benchmark
With record entries, MIFF becomes the talking point, says TN Raghunatha
I Am Not Your Negro, the 2017 Oscar-nominated documentary on the American Civil Rights Movement, is among the 430 documentary, short and animation films from over 40 countries which will feature during a week-long Mumbai International Film Festival for Documentary, Short and Animation Films (or MIFF as it is popularly known) beginning from January 28.
The 93-minute documentary, that has won top awards in Toronto, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and eight other international festivals, will be the opening film at MIFF, which is the oldest and the largest film festival for non-feature films in South Asia. The award-winning documentary written by James Baldwin and directed by Raoul Peck connects the past of the Civil Rights movement to the present.
The response to the 15th edition of MIFF has been overwhelming, with the festival directorate having received a record 790 entries, with 194 entries from 32 countries in the international competition and 596 entries in the national competition.
Giving a major boost to the documentary film movement, the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting has doubled the prize money for the Golden Conch Award-winning Best Documentary Film in the international competition to Rs 1 million (Rs 10 lakh) from the earlier Rs 5 lakh.
Other highlights of MIFF are the Pramod Pati Special Jury award, Best Student Film and Best Debut film awards, all of which carry trophy and cash awards. The Indian Documentary Producers’ Association (IDPA) and the Government of Maharashtra, through the Dadasaheb Phalke Chitranagari, joined hands with Films Division in instituting the awards.
MIFF will showcase best documentary short and animation films produced in India and abroad under special packages including Jury retrospectives and Bestof Fests.
The Animation Package includes films of Ivan Maximov of Russia, Baret Ilk of Turkey and Lea Zagury of Brazil. A special package of French Shorts and Experimental films curated by Gabriele Brennen of the 3iS International Institute for Image and Sound, Paris will be screened on January 29. The best of the festival package includes films sourced from top documentary film festivals like Berlinale, HotDocs, Canada, Melbourne Documentary Festival and Guanajuato Film Festival, Mexico.
A retrospective of veteran Iranian filmmaker Rakshan Benietemad will include three documentaries from three decades. Other retrospectives will cover works of French filmmaker Dominic Dubosc, Mudhushree Dutta and noted animator Bhimsain Khurana.
There are also special film packages from the North East and Jammu & Kashmir.
Another important feature of MIFF 2018 is students’ participation. Student films of FTII, Satyajit Ray Film and TV Institute, Whistling Woods, MGR Film and TV Institute, Prayasam, State University of Rohtak, National Institute of Design will be screened during the festival.
Nandan Saxena will be conducting a four-day workshop on “non-fiction cinematography” during thefestival.
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