The 10th biennial Mumbai International Film Festival for Documentary, Short and Animation films (MIFF 2008) got off to a colourful start here with the screening of three films from South Africa, Canada and the US respectively.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi inaugurated the festival Sunday evening at the National Centre for Performing Arts (NCPA) in south Mumbai on the shore of the Arabian Sea.
With a strong wind blowing across the sea and a nip in the air, the weather was exceptionally cool, but the opening ceremony was marked by warmth among the delegates and movie buffs.
The festival opened with the screening of The Mother's House from South Africa, which was directed by Francois Verster. It was followed by a 15-minute short film Our Time Is Up from the US, which was directed by Rob Pearlstein.
A six-minute short from Canada, Infinity, directed by Jeff Simpson, was also screened Sunday.
In all, 37 countries, including Australia, China, Egypt, Finland, Indonesia, Israel, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Spain, Sudan, Trinidad and Tobago and Britain have sent in their entries for MIFF 2008.
The duration of the documentaries, short films and animation productions vary from three to 94 minutes.
The regular screenings will be held at the Tata Theatre, Godrej Theatre, Experimental Theatre and Little Theatre, all located in south Mumbai.
MIFF 2008 will also present special packages of movies from South Africa, SAARC films, Oscar winning movies, classics, films from northeastern states and Jammu and Kashmir, films produced by the Films Division of India, and the best of short films shown at the Expression en Corto Festival in Mexico.
The classics package, procured from the National Film Archive of India, includes movies made by Bert Haanstra, Robert J. Flaherty, Francois Truffaut, Istvan Szabo, Krytof Zanussi and Ritwik Ghatak.
Biographical shorts made on movie masters like Andrei Tarkovsky, Ingmar Bergman, Satyajit Ray, Bimal Roy, K.L. Saigal, Naushad Ali, B.N. Sircar, Nargis Dutt and Smita Patil have been included in the film memoirs package.
A package of World War II movies has been procured from the Armed Forces Films and Photo Division, New Delhi.
The best documentary, short and animation films in the Indian competition section will be given the Golden Conch Award and a cash prize of Rs.150,000 each.
Fifty-four documentary, short and animation movies are in the fray for the Golden and Silver Conch awards this year.
There will also be an Indian Jury Award of Rs.100,000. The producer of the best film will also get a cash award of Rs.100,000.
The jury includes Vijaya Mulay, Arunaraje Patil and A.K. Bir from India, Geoff Malone from Singapore and Ali Kazimi from Canada.
Uma Da Cunha, M.K. Raghavendra and Utpal Borpujai are the members of the critics' jury of the Indian competition section.
The Indian Documentary Producers' Association (IDPA) will also present a trophy and a cash award of Rs.25,000 to the director of the best film of the festival.
In the international competition section, the best documentary, short and animation films will get the Golden Conch Award and a cash prize of Rs.250,000 each. The number of entries in this section has risen to 44 this year.
The International Jury Award carries a cash prize of Rs.100,000. The jury consist of Vijaya Mehta and Mani Kaul from India, We Wenguan from China, Reeves Lehmann from the US and Frank Scheffer from The Netherlands.
A cash prize of Rs100,000 will also be presented to the best film on behalf of Dadasaheb Phalke Chitranagari, the state-owned film city in Mumbai.
The V. Shantaram Lifetime Achievement Award, instituted at the MIFF 2000, carries a cash prize of Rs.250,000 and has been awarded to Aribam Shyam Sharma, an eminent filmmaker from Manipur.
MIFF 2008 also has a homage section that will pay tributes to three stalwarts of Indian documentary films, K. Vishwanath, Girish Vaidya and K.K. Mahajan.
The retrospective section has short films by Wu Wenguan from China, Franch Scheffer from The Netherlands and Ali Kazimi from Canada, among others.