MIFF 2016 to showcase 385 documentaries & short films

NEW DELHI: A total of 385 documentaries, short and animation films will be screened during the 14th edition of Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF) for Documentary, Short and Animation Films commencing on 28 January.

The biennial event, organised by the Films Division of the Information & Broadcasting Ministry and supported by the Maharashtra Government, will conclude with the awards ceremony on 3 February.

MIFF will feature 30 films in the International Competition, including 12 from India, and 27 films in National Competition vying for the Golden Conch Award.

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 and Doordashan Kendra (Worli). 

Addressing the curtain-raiser press conference in Mumbai, Festival director Mukesh Sharma said, 'MIFF is the oldest and the largest festival of non-feature films in South Asia as it started in 1990."

He added, "MIFF brings together a talent pool of documentary film makers from the across the world with their works featuring in international, national, animation and new media competition sections. We received a record number of 831 entries from 25 countries."

The inauguration of the Festival from Mumbai will be covered live by DD Bharati from 4.30 pm

Additionally, Sharma also informed that for the first time, MIFF had roped in a brand ambassador in Jackie Shroff. "He who regards documentaries as catalysts for social change and is planning to make short films to spread awareness about dreaded diseases and on social issues," Sharma added.

Highlighting the importance of documentaries that deal with real life challenges, veteran filmmaker Mike Pandey stressed the need for a dedicated documentary channel in the country. 

Sharma said in order to increase the outreach of documentary films, the Films Division has signed an agreement with Prasar Bharati, under which Films Division's documentaries will be shown on the DD Bharati channel.

The inauguration and closing functions will be held at the Ravindra Natya Mandir in Mumbai at 5 pm on 28 January and 3 February respectively. Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis will be chief guest for the opening ceremony and Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Rathore will preside. 

Maharashtra Culture Affairs Minister Vinod Tawde, filmmaker Shyam Benegal, I&B Secretary Sunil Arora, Films Division DG Mukesh Sharma, and Shroff will be present.

"Apart from International and National competition, the screening of films in MIFF Prism, Indian Premieres, 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, will make it a wholesome viewing experience for the delegates of MIFF 2016,"Sharma said. 

The festival will also present special packages from leading international documentary film festivals like Berlin, Dresden, DokLeipzig  from Germany and Leiria from Portugal.

Some of the best documentaries of 2015, among them Mohammed Ali Naqvi and Hemal Trivedi'sAmong the Believers -  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 documentary makers Don Askarian from Germany, Jesper Andersen from Denmark, Mathiue Roy of Canada, Siddharth Kak and Gitanjali Rao.  

Pandey, who is president of the Indian Documentary Films Association, 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 filmmakers, Camera and Digital workshops, Producers' Forum, Panel discussions, Seminar and Open Forum by IDPA, under the MIFF Hub.

Cash prizes worth Rs 60 lakh will be distributed for the winners in various categories along with Golden Conch Awards.

In addition the festival will honour a veteran personality from the Indian documentary fraternity with the V Shantaram Lifetime Achievement Award that carries a cash component of Rs 5 lakh, trophy and a citation.

Buoyed by the warm reception to the MIFF Zone, screening of films in National competition will be held simultaneously in New Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Bhubaneswar, Guwahati, Lucknow, Nagpur and Thrissur. MIFF Zone is aimed at taking select competition films to film lovers who are unable to travel to Mumbai for the MIFF.

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