It is one of the largest festivals of its kind in this part of the world promoting documentary, short and animation films, yet, the achievements of Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF) have often been marred by its shortcomings. However, a change in guard in Films Division of India (FDI), the government body of films and organisers of the festival has brought about new initiatives.
“This year we have tried to work on areas where we have been criticised before,” said VS Kundu, the director general of FDI at a press meet for the festival that will be held from Feb 3-9.
Among the new additions to the 13th MIFF are new packages and newly-introduced categories. A set of films made by school children as a part of Lennep’s Kids Film fest, an initiative “to make our kids equipped for better cinema viewing”, will be screened on the opening day at the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA), Nariman Point.
Films by seminal German filmmaker Werner Herzog and and National award-winning director Arun Khopkar will be part of the retrospective section.
While MIFF Prism will showcase innovative films that didn’t qualify for the competition categories for length-related issues, other festival-winning films from countries such as France, Mexico, Japan and Georgia will also be screened. The venues are NCPA and Mayor’s Hall, Versova.
The festival promises to be more audience-friendly with votes by viewers deciding the winner of the Prism section. Moreover, the awards this year are spread over a number of categories — including the technical variety that were not included previously. The film selection process is also more “fair and transparent this time, with a film going through seven jury members before its selection”. It will also be the first time for Goodpitch, an endeavour that helps locally-produced films find buyers in the global market. “Goodpitch will train and mentor six selected projects, teaching them to strategise for these new territories and festivals, and provide ideas for funding,” said Kundu, about the event co-organised by Sundance and Britdoc. The categories, both national and international, will be selected by a jury headed by filmmaker Anand Patwardhan.