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Ronita Torcato

A little chit, a little chat, a little bit of this & that;meaning news, views & lotsa reviews from an independent journo based in Bombay aka Mumbai



 The  serpentine queues of young and aspiring filmmakers at the Films Division,the epicentre of the 14th edition of the Mumbai International Festival for Documentary, Short and Animation Films( MIFF ) will be glad to know the Maharashtra Government will allot land in Film City Goregaon  to set up a National Institute of Animation and Short Films. The good news  was announced by Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis at the inaugural at the Ravindra Natya Mandir, which is one of five venues of the biennial docfest,which concludes tommorrow.
Mr Fadnavis told the gathering that documentary films much more than features ‘"shake us and bring about societal change."He observed that “digital technology has ushered in a new era in film making and is greatly contributing to the documentary film movement” and  urged the Films Division which comes under the umbrella of the Ministry of Films and Broadcasting, to innovate to remain in the public eye "and find a reason to exist".
Films Division had signed an agreement with  Prasar Bharati  for the telecast of  documentaries on  DD Bharati Channel. The  Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting Col. Rajyavardhan Rathore   said the I & B Ministry is still seriously contemplating a dedicated channel for documentary, short and animation films.Such a channel has been vigorously demanded for many years now by numerous film-makers,(and repeated with passion at MIFF 2016 by Indian Documentary President Association Mike Pandey and film-maker Shyam Benegal ) but the Central Government has yet to decide whether it will be a new channel or an existing  one like DD Bharati.
The I&B Minister Rathod said the Indian Government supported the freedom of the filmmaker who "should not be limited" by archaic certification laws and referred to the newly set-up committee led by Shyam Benegal to examine the certification process. He also commended film makers for their maturity and persistence in making "excellent films on socio-economic issues despite  financial hurdles."
At the ceremony which was graced by distinguished film makers like Shyam Benegal, Bollywood star and  MIFF's newly appointed brand ambassador Jackie Shroff, IDPA President Mike Pandey and Festival Director Mukesh Sharma,  veteran wildlife film maker Naresh Bedi was honoured 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 the renowned film maker and a former head of  the Films Division,V Shantaram whose first ever international accolade came from the Vatican.
FTII alumnus Naresh Bedi is the first Asian to receive the Wildscreen Red Panda award at the Wildbeast Film Festival in Bristol, known as the Green Oscar, way back in 1984. Bedi recalled grappling with a rhinoceros or tiger and wallowing in freezing water. He said doc films had helped him make many discoveries about wildlife and conservation.His film ‘Cherub of the Mist’ on a pair of red pandas was the opening film of MIFF 2016 which will screen a total of 385 films over the week long event which concludes Feb 3.  Cash prizes totalling Rs 60 lakhs (Rs 6 million) will be distributed to the winners in various categories along with Golden Conch.
Bollywood hero and the new face of MIFF Jackie Shroff said he regards documentary films  as catalysts for social change and is planning to make short films on health and other social issues.
A biennial event organized by the Films Division of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting and supported by the Government of Maharashtra, the weeklong MIFF 2016 is showcasing 30 films in International Competition, including 12 from India. The National competition sees 27 films vying for the Golden Conch Award. The bustling MIFF Hub in FD's sprawling campus will be the venue of Master classes,workshops,  panel discussions, seminars and IDPA's daily Open Forum. Cash prizes worth Rs 60 lakhs (Rs 6 million) would be distributed for the winners in various categories along with Golden Conch Awards
Stellar  attractions include Mohammed Ali Naqvi and Hemal Trivedi’s Among the Believers, a documentary about the roots of religious extremism in Pakistan,Joshua Oppenheimer's The Look of Silence on the killings in Indonesia in the  sixties ( both of which have been screened at IFFI Goa)  and Rinku Kalsy’s For the Love of a Man on the Rajnikanth cult in South India.
The International Jury for the Festival comprises documentary-makers Don Askarian (Germany), Jesper Andersen (Denmark), Mathiue Roy (Canada), Indian filmmakers,programmers and journalists like Siddharth Kak, Gitanjali Rao, Mike Pandey, Uma DaCunha, and Biju Dhanapalan as well as Audrius Stonys (Lithuania) and Jane Yu (Taiwan) are members of the National Jury. The festival will also have master classes by the jury and filmmakers, camera and digital workshops, a Producers’ Forum, panel discussions and seminars. The screenings  are at the Films Division theatres, Russian Culture Centre and Sophia College theatres on G Deshmukh Marg (aka Pedder Road) the Mumbai University,Kalina campus and Doordashan Kendra, Worli. 
FD has set up a special Zone, whereby documentary films are being shown in other cities at the same time as MIFF for the  benefit of  film lovers who are unable to travel to Mumbai. Hence, the National competition will be held simultaneously in New Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Bhubaneswar, Guwahati, Lucknow, Nagpur and Thrissur.


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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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