Next week, the Mumbai International Film Festival for Documentary, Short and Animation Films will commence, and from February 3-6, film lovers will get to the best selection under these genres from India and the world.
Started in 1990, biennial festival is organised by the Films Division, its team working silently behind the scenes, demanding and getting very little media attention, unlike its feature film counterpart in Goa, that is now more about glamour and less about cinema.
The community of documentary filmmakers – and though there is animation and short fiction included, trhe highlight of MIFF are it documenties—also gets little recognition, but works earnestly to bring out stories and supporting causes that the commercially-inclined mainstream film industry seldom looks at.
Over the last few years, of course, anybody with a camera and editing software on the home computer can make a film, but there is something that distinguishes a film from mere reportage—creative use of the medium and a point of view.
MIFF has become one of the most important film festivals in the world and gives out attractive cash prizes along with the conch-shaped trophy.
Along with a Competition Section, MIFF has retrospectives, seminars, workshops and open forum discussions. It’s a great place to watch films and interact with people, since nobody has minders or starry airs. Around 50 countries send in entries every year and the selection committees have a tough time picking entries.
At the 2104 MIFF, an added attraction is Good Pitch, that “brings together documentary filmmakers with foundations, NGOs, campaigners, philanthropists, policy makers, brands and media around leading social and environmental issues – to forge coalitions and campaigns that are good for all these partners, good for the films and good for society.” How Good Pitch works is that “each filmmaking teams has just seven minutes to pitch their film and associated outreach campaign. Afterwards the moderator leads a feedback session from participants around the roundtable and from the floor. A good pitch will lead to new sources of funding, and access to mass membership, research and experts, archives and lobbying,” according to information on their website. It’s a marvellous way to connect and India becoming a part of the Good Pitch programme is exciting new for filmmakers.
All in all, an informative, educative, mentally stimulating week awaits those who make it to MIFF 2014.