Dutch film 'Turn Your Body to the Sun' declared best documentary at 17th Mumbai International Film Festival

Bangladesh was the ‘Country of Focus’ this year.

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Sunday, June 05, 2022, 10:52 AM IST
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The 17th Mumbai International Film Festival, first edition post-pandemic, came to a close at Nehru Centre, Mumbai, on June 4, 2022.

The festival for documentary, short and animation films concluded with a grand closing ceremony in the presence of chief guest and Governor of Maharshtra, Bhagat Singh Koshyari.

Dutch film 'Turn Your Body to the Sun' bagged the Golden Conch for the Best Documentary of the festival.

This edition had many firsts including being the first edition to be on hybrid mode. The festival witnessed an overall footfall of 9000 till date with approximately 5000 film lovers registered as delegates, including 1400 students. Bangladesh was the ‘Country of Focus’ this year in commemoration of its 50 years of Independence and 11 films from the country were presented during MIFF 2022.

“Many films are quite inspirational; we should try to express what is inside of us and inside the society,” Chief Guest and Governor of Maharashtra, Bhagat Singh Koshyari, said in his address. “Whichever festival it may – be it Cannes or MIFF, the idea behind such festivals is to recognize the talented ones – Directors, Producers, Artistes,” he noted. He also suggested that this festival should be made an annual celebration instead of keeping it biennial, as it is now.

Eminent filmmaker and Guest of Honour, Shyam Benegal appreciated the non-feature filmmakers saying that they are self-motivated to make films that usually don’t have audience unlike main stream films. “When you make a documentary or a short film you don’t have an ensured audience unlike a feature film; you make a short film because you are totally self-motivated; the inspiration to make the film has to come from within,” he cited this as the reason for MIFF being a unique festival. “This is the most wonderful part of this evening because these film makers are clearly motivated to make their films. That is something pristine about it, which I think is what film is all about,” he added.

Benegal also mentioned that making short-films or non-feature films are not only challenging but also the most creative form of film making. He said that like an artist or a painter – whom no one had ordered to create a piece of art but he still creates. “This is the most admirable part of short films,” he added.

“It is wonderful we have this festival, and we are recognizing wonderful filmmakers giving them a forum to show their films,” he remarked.

MIFF 2022 Jury Chairperson for Internal Competition, Mina Rad shared her experience as a representative of the International Jury. she said “The Films Division has become a strong platform and market for films. During these seven days, the enthusiasm and determination of the cinema lovers to watch the movies, discuss them, discuss with the experienced filmmakers, was admirable. The quality of all the movies was very good,” she said. “Entire team of MIFF organized it well. Congratulations to those who got the award, good luck to those who didn't, your work was great too,” she said. She further hoped that this festival would be held every year.

Jury chairperson for National competition of MIFF 2022, Sanjit Narvekar, expressed his views on this occasion. He said, “As a Jury, we had the opportunity to see some of the best documentaries, short films, documentaries in the country. We saw a total of 67 movies. We observed a radical change in the way short films are made.” He lamented that the number of documentaries was low. He also said that the number of films made by the students was only five, which was disappointing. He suggested that it should be increased. There was a separate section for student films in the past, He suggested to re-open it

Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting - Dr. L. Murugan congratulated the award winners of MIFF 2022 and said, “These short films don’t need 18 reels and 180 minutes to communicate with the viewers, but they encapsulate a very big message in them. They do not rely on the superstars and box office gimmicks either. Every person who works in a documentary film is a superstar.”

He also informed that the M/o I&B is leaving no stone unturned to support the Indian cinema to grow bigger and travel from local to global. “We are walking on the path shown by our visionary leader Narendra Modiji , who has given us the mantra of ‘ Reform, Perform and Transform,” he said.

He also appreciated the efforts of the staff and officials in making the festival a success.

Secretary, Ministry of I&B, Mr Apurva Chandra, said ​ ''The 17th edition of MIFF was a week-long fiesta for documentary, short-fiction and animation films and got an overwhelming response from the audience and cinephiles in its post pandemic edition.”. He went on to say that the Ministry of I&B will strive to keep grooming the budding filmmakers from across India and give them the best facilities and platform for them to excel."

Additional Secretary, M/o I&B, Ms. Neeraja Sekhar, expressed her happiness upon the success of the 17th edition of MIFF. “India is celebrating Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav and alongside conducting various activities. I am glad that is a grand success.” She also congratulated the winners and applauded the diverse content of the edition. “We have thoroughly enjoyed the diverse content from each filmmaker,” she said. She also noted that, “MIFF will come back in a bigger way. I hope the audiences will keep supporting all the films and filmmakers.”

“I am glad that MIFF 2022 was loved and appreciated by all, especially it was heartening to see young audiences come & enjoy the documentaries and short fiction content, it’s a pleasure to know that over 12000 people attended the festival,” informed Mr. Ravinder Bhakar, Managing Director, NFDC India & Director, MIFF while presenting the highlights of the Festival Report. He also assured, “We will try to make this festival even bigger and support filmmakers in the best possible manner,” he added. “This year our aim at MIFF 2022 was to create an eco-sphere for the documentary market which is predominantly being ruled by the feature films and web series and we took a giant leap. Another effort was to connect the Industry and the Market and we ensured this by conducting Masterclasses by eminent personalities including Resul Pookuty, Prasoon Joshi, Regina Pessoa.

The Director also mentioned about the houseful screening of Ramayana: The Legend of Prince Rama which was screened during the festival. “The kind of enthusiasm the film lovers showed was amazing,” he remarked.

Best Documentary Award: Golden Conch for Dutch Film, 'Turn Your Body to the Sun':

The Dutch film 'Turn Your Body to the Sun' by Dutch filmmaker Aliona van der Horst is about the resolute quest of a daughter to retrace the path of her father, a prisoner of war in the Second World War. The film brings to light the incredible life story of a Soviet soldier of Tatar descent, who was captured by the Nazis during the war.

This film was screened as the closing film of the festival.

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