MIFF 2016 – A melting pot of fiction and reality
The coveted Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF) is back with it’s 14th edition starting from today, January 28, 2016. One of the most prestigious festivals in the country, MIFF provides a platform for short films, documentaries and animation movies. This year sees a host of new additions to the festival including a new segment called ‘New Cinema’ and the appointment of veteran actor Jackie Shroff as the brand ambassador of the festival. In a press conference ahead of the festival, Pandolin spoke to Mr. Mukesh Sharma, Director General, Films Division of India and brand ambassador Jackie Shroff to learn more about what MIFF 2016 holds for filmmakers and the audience alike.
Mukesh Sharma, Director General, Films Division of India.
What can one look forward to at MIFF 2016? Are there are any new introductions this year?
This is the first time since MIFF began in 1990 that a mainstream artist will be the brand ambassador of the documentary festival. We have added a new segment called ‘New Cinema’ which is mainly cinema that every other person is using these days because of technological advancements. People are making films even with their mobile phones and we have involved those films in the festival. These are films coming from a new medium and we have received several entries for the same.
We requested Jackie ji to be the brand ambassador of MIFF because he’s the face of commercial cinema. He has featured in over 200 films in all these years. And the best thing was that Jackie ji immediately agreed to come on board and has been with us throughout. He will extensively promote MIFF, thanks to his love for short films. He regards documentaries as catalysts for social change and is planning to make short films to spread awareness about dreaded diseases and other social issues.
How many entries have you received overall?
We have received 825 entries for the competition segments from all over the world.
Could you tell us about the jury for this year’s festival?
We have a variety of jury this year for the National and International segments. For the National segment we have Mike Pandey, Biju Dhanapalan, and Uma da Cunha from India, Audrius Stonys from Lithuania and Jane Yu from Taiwan. Don Askarian (Germany), Jesper Andersen (Denmark), Mathieu Roy (Canada), Siddharth Kak and Gitanjali Rao (India) are part of our International Jury.
I love children’s cinema! I’ve been involved in children’s cinema for the last 13 years and have done around 52 films for kids. With changing times I feel that public service awareness cinema is also very important.
Jackie Shroff, Brand Ambassador, Mumbai International Film Festival.
Were you excited to come on board as the brand ambassador of MIFF?
Yes. It’s a good thing if more people come and participate because of me. I’d like to thank Mukesh Sharma ji for having me as the ambassador and am very proud to be here. I will give MIFF all the support that is expected of me.
Do you have a message that you would like to give people about MIFF?
Documentaries are realities. They show us the reality of life. I myself have been wanting to make a documentary; maybe next year I will participate in the competition. MIFF is a great platform with various avenues for filmmakers. (Mukesh) Sharma ji is an artist himself and is the right man to take this seat.
What subject would you like to make a documentary on?
Cross pollination – bees and butterflies because they are diminishing. I have heard that over 50-70 per cent of our original indigenous species have become extinct. So I wish to make a documentary on how to conserve the species.
As an artist would you say that the support of established actors and filmmakers is vital for independent films and such festivals?
Absolutely! This year they have chosen me as the brand ambassador and I’d like it if they choose Shahrukh (Khan), or Akshay (Kumar), or Amitabh Bachchan ji as the brand ambassador next year. They can find a common man like me anywhere but I want a star bigger than me to come. It will lead to more people coming to the festival and more awareness will be created. This is the first time that they have taken an actor as the face of the entire festival. And I wish that more actors come forward themselves to represent this festival.