Innovations and international linkages boost creative content at MIFF 2014

Innovations and international linkages boost creative content at MIFF 2014
As the count down begins for the inauguration of the 13th Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF 2014) on February 3, a series of run up events are being organized to kindle interest in documentary and short films among Mumbaikars. Addressing a press conference in Mumbai today, the Festival Director and DG, Films Division V S Kundu said, the focus of this festival has been on broadening international linkages and supporting innovations.
Shehernama – mini film festival on complex urban issues.
For the first time, Mumbai International Film Festival has tied up with Action Aid to present a unique 3 day film festival called Sheharnama – focusing on urban issues. This mini-festival, which will be inaugurated by Shabana Azmi and MIFF Festival Director V S Kundu at Mayor Hall of the All India Institute of Local Self Government in Juhu, will feature over 40 films that look within the nooks and crevices of the city to render a cinematic expression of the urban experience. Several such films made in recent years will be screened alongside older iconic ones that are an invaluable record of urban cultures in the developing world.
Films Division documentaries that have sought to shape the Indian citizen; student films that explore an engagement with social reality and form; and citizen videos on the social media  are some of the threads that constitute the palette of the films and videos to be screened at Sheharnama.
The programme includes iconic films Like Deepa Dhanraj’s ‘Kya Hua Is Shehar Ko?’ on communal riots in Hyderabad in 1984; international films like ‘Tondo, Beloved: To What Are The Poor Born’ on life in slums next to the Manila port and ‘A Disappearance foretold’ on the redevelopment of areas in Beijing before the Olympics. Among recent films from India are Anirban Datta’s ‘Wasted’, a metaphysical reflection on the notion of waste in our cities and lives and Uma Tanuku’s ‘Night Hawks’ on life and labour in the nocturnal landscape of Delhi. ‘Hamare Ghar’ and ‘Breakin’ Mumbai’ are among the student films in the package along with a selection of films from NID and the Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology.
The Shehernama films have been co-curated by filmmakers Surabhi Sharma and Avijit Mukul Kishore. (Entry for the Shehernama Film Festival is free and open to all).
Lennep Kids Film Festival
Mumbai International Film Festival has joined hands with Lennep Media and CineKids of Netherlands to bring award winning Dutch documentary, live action and animation films suitable for viewing by school children.  This pre-cursor festival, which began on January15, has been screening films in 15 schools across Mumbai. The festival features film screenings and post screening discussions led by educators encouraging children to watch, discuss and learn from high quality content exclusively created for them.  Another special feature of the festival is the film making workshop for children, enabling them to make their own films. Five of the best films made by children at the Lennep Kids Film Festival will be screened during the inauguration of MIFF 2014 at NCPA, Mumbai on February 3.
Good Pitch Squared Campaign.
Among the highlights of the festival is the Good Pitch India campaign by the BritDocs –a social entrepreneurship organization to nurture new talent and new approaches in documentary film making. Good Pitch on Feb 4, will bring together filmmakers, NGOs, foundations, philanthropists, brands and media around leading social issues to forge coalitions. Six films : 17 Not Required Indians,  Border within Border,  Driving with Selvi,  Love Commandos,  Fireflies in the Abyss and Rooting for Roona  (Details at  and
MIFF Zone Screening in 7 cities
In an effort to give further impetus to the documentary film movement in the country, the national and international competition section films of MIFF 2014 will be simultaneously screened at MIFF Zones in Delhi, Kolkata, Guwahati, Chennai, Bangalore and Nagpur. Additional screening will also be held in suburban Mumbai.  
All together 32 hours of screening has been planned at each of the centres. On week days, the screenings will take place in the evenings, while on Saturday and Sunday, films will be screened day long from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. There is no entry fee.  In Delhi, the screening will be held at the Siri Fort auditorium, while Nandan is the venue for shows in Kolkata. The MIFF documentaries and short films will be screened at Badami House and Freedom Park in Bangalore and Russian Cultural Centre and MGR Film & TV Institute in Chennai.  In Nagpur, the films will be shown at Gunjan Hall, DRM Railway Office.
Festival Line Up
The festival line up includes Indian and international documentary and short film titles made over the past two years.  Films have been selected through rigorous two tier process to ensure that varied committees viewed the entries before making their choices.
The International Competition includes documentaries and short films that have been making the right noises around the festival circuit for a while. Dylan Mohan Gray’s Fire in the Blood, Ian McDonald’sAlgorithms, Shai Heredia’s I Am Micro, Kim Longinotto’s Salma, Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Act of Killing, and Nishtha Jain’s Gulabi Gang.  The Indian section includes the likes of Shivendra Singh Dungarpur’s Celluloid Man, Satyanshu Singh and Devanshu Singh’s Tamaash (The Puppet), Raja Shabir Khan’s Shepherds of Paradise, Govind Raju’s Golden Mango and Sunanda Bhat’s Have You Seen the Arana?
Apart from the regular awards, new awards have been introduced  for producer, cinematographer, editor, sound recordist and animator. Awards for the most innovative film (named after Pramod Pati)  and most popular film of the festival have also been instituted, taking the total number of awards to 32 from 22 in the MIFF 2012. A veteran Indian documentary film maker will be honoured with V Shantaram Lifetime Achievement Award. MIFF will distribute cash awards worth Rs. 55 lakhs apart from Golden Conches, trophies and certificates to the winners in different categories.