By Utpal Borpujari / New Delhi
“I Am Not Your Negro”, the 2017 Oscar-nominated film on American Civil Rights Movement, will open the 15th Mumbai International Film Festival for Documentary, Short and Animation Films (MIFF) slated to begin on January 28.
The 93-minute documentary written by James Baldwin and directed by Raoul Peck connects the past of the Civil Rights movement to the present and has won a slate of top international awards thanks to its powerful portrayal of the fight against racism in the United States.
The much-awaited festival will showcase nearly 430 documentary, short and animation films from over 40 countries, festival director Manish Desai says.
MIFF, the oldest and the largest film festival for non-feature films in South Asia, began in 1990 and is organized by the Films Division, a unit of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting.
This time, the festival received a record 790 entries, with 194 entries from 32 countries in the International competition and 596 entries in the National competition.
Selection of films for National and International Competition was made by independent Selection Committees. In view of large number of entries for the national competition, a two-tier selection process was followed. The Chairpersons of the Regional Selection Committees (Mumbai I&II, Delhi, Kolkata & Bangalore) met in Mumbai and evaluated the short listed films before recommending 43 films for the National Competition. International Selection Committee met in Mumbai and evaluated the films before recommending 25 films for the MIFF 2018 International Competition.
In amajor boost to the documentary movement, the I&B Ministry has this time doubled the prize money for the Golden Conch Award winning Best Documentary Film in the International Competition to Rs10 lakh from the earlier Rs5 lakh.
The Golden Conch, Silver Conch and trophies with handsome cash awards are part of the competition in categories like Best Documentary, Best Short Fiction and Best Animation film. Besides, technical awards will be given for Best Cinematography, Editing and Sound Design.
Other highlights are the PramodPati Special Jury award, Best Student Film and Best Debut film award all of which carry trophy and cash awards. Indian Documentary Producers’ Association (IDPA) and the Government of Maharashtra, through DadasahebPhalkeChitranagari join hands with Films Division in instituting awards.
Besides the contemporary films vying for top honours in the International and National Competition, MIFF will showcase best documentary short and animation films produced in India and abroad under special packages including Jury retrospectives and Best of 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 Fests 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 film maker – RakshanBenietemad, will include three documentaries from three decades. Other retrospectives will cover works of French film maker Dominic Dubosc, MudhushreeDutta and noted animator BhimsainKhurana. 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 & TV Institute, Whistling Woods, MGR Film & TV Institute, Prayasam, State University of Rohtak, National Institute of Design will be screened during the festival.
The coveted V Shantaram lifetime Achievement Award for promotion of documentary movement in India will be conferred upon an eminent documentary film maker chosen by an independent jury. The Award money for this honour too has also been doubled from Rs 5 lakhto Rs10 lakhs. All together cash awards of Rs58 lakh will be given away during MIFF 2018.