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Brilliant and bad, sums up MIFF 2016's national jury of films viewed

“A mix of brilliant and bad,” is how Biju Dhanapalan, an engineer-turned-visual effects specialist described the films seen by the National jury at the 14th MIFF which concludes tommorrow. At the Mumbai International Film Festival, competition films are divided into two main categories, national and international. A five-member jury viewed the 27 films in the national category.
 
Audrius Stonys, Lithuania-born academician, remarked that even if there were two outstanding films
at a festival, it should be considered a very good festival. “At MIFF, we
saw at least four great films, and another 10-12 high-grade efforts. Indian
documentaries have always been by and large good, but till a few years ago,
the cinematic language they used was very Indian. Now, these films have
crossed that hurdle and their style can find place in any international
film festival. By way of suggestion, I feel that investigative and
political films should have a category assigned to them, since, otherwise,
they are compared with films of quite a different genre.”
 
Da Cunha complimented the Films Division for spending two years putting the fest together.However, she suggested, “It should be made an annual event and should be organised on a bigger scale. " Replying to a question about how MIFF compares with other film festivals, like Cannes or Venice, she commented, “It is unfair to compare it to Cannes or Venice. So many factors should be considered before evaluating a festival—how old is the festival, city-funding and other sources of financing, prizes and prize-money, etc. But let me assure you that a prize at MIFF has its own special value.”
Dhanapalan was of the view that it is the talent that defines a film-city. “Hollywood just happened because people of various nationalities were attracted to the place to work in the film industry. Peter Jackson did the same for New Zealand. If we can attract excellent talent, there is no reason why India cannot surpass Hollywood.”

Asked how Indian documentaries were faring internationally, and if co-production is a growing trend, Da Cunha said, “Indian documentaries have won so many awards internationally. By comparison, features have worn hardly anything in recent years. And yes, co-productions are a great was to get funds and reach bigger markets.”

To a question about budgets, Stonys said, “Budgets are not an issue in India. Yes, some self-funded documentaries are below par and cannot be marketed as a result. But generally, Indian documentaries, like MIFF itself, have a very good reputation in the world. All that is needed to make even better films is quality education, and a much larger number of regular film workshops.”

A word about the jury: 

Stonys lectures on cinema in many cities, including Doc Edge Kolkata; Da Cunha is a programmer, casting director and film journalist and Dhanapalan has worked on over 100 feature films in India before re-locating to Singapore, where he
currently teaches animation. Mr. V. Packirisamy of the MIB's Films Division was the national jury co-ordinator.

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About Ronita Torcato

Torcato Agnela Ronita
An incomplete round-up of movie news, features & views from an independent journo & (dare I say it:-) film critic in Mumbai

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