The 14th edition of Mumbai International Festival for Documentary, Short and Animation Films – MIFF 2016 was inaugurated by the Maharashtra Chief Minister Shri Devendra Fadnavis and Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting Col. Rajyavardhan Rathore in Mumbai today in the presence of veteran film maker Shri Shyam Benegal, MIFF brand ambassador Jackie Shroff, IDPA President Mike Pandey and Festival Director Mukesh Sharma.

Speaking on the occasion Union Minister Col. Rathore said “digital technology has ushered in a new era in film making and is greatly contributing to the documentary film movement.” He said MIFF has been playing a pivotal role in promoting documentary and short film culture in the country by providing a platform for filmmakers to exchange ideas.

“It is heartening to note that our film makers, despite great financial hurdles have gone ahead and made excellent films, displaying a mature approach while dealing with social and economic issues. Such films should not remain unseen” Col Rathore said. The Minister added that the Government would consider making one of the Doordarshan Channels, perhaps DD Bharati, a platform to promote documentary films. He asserted that the Government has no interest in curbing the creativity of film makers and added that the I&B Ministry has set up a Committee under Shyam Benegal to look into the revamp of film certification process.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Shri Devendra Fadnavis also underlined the importance of documentaries and short films and said “to promote animation and short films, the Maharashtra Government is ready to allot land in the Film City itself in Mumbai to set up a National Institute of Animation & Short Films “.

MIFF Brand Ambassador Jackie Shroff said “documentary films are close to my heart, I myself want to make a documentary film tracing my mother’s journey from Turkmenistan to India”.

V Shantaram Life Time Achievement Award
At the inaugural ceremony of MIFF 2016, Shri Fadnavis and Col. Rathore honoured the veteran wildlife film maker Shri Naresh Bedi with the V Shantaram Life Time Achievement Award. The award comprising a trophy, shawl and a cash prize of Rs 5 lakhs (Rs 500,000) is instituted in memory of legendary film maker V Shantaram, who was head of the Films Division in the past.

Naresh Bedi, eldest of the Bedi Brothers, is counted amongst the foremost wildlife documentary makers, being the first Asian to receive the Wildscreen Red Panda award. A graduate of the Film & Television Institute of India, FTII, Pune, Bedi has made films which have been shown on National Geographic, Discovery Channel, BBC, Channel 4 etc. He is credited with filming several rare wildlife movements. His film ‘Cherub of the Mist’ about the life of two cute red pandas had the honour of being the opening film of MIFF 2016.