Three-time Green Oscar winner Mike Pandey has announced that he is working on a series of documentaries on tigers with Bollywood actor John Abraham, shooting for which will commence from January next year. Pandey, who is also the president of the Independent Documentary Producers' Association (IPDA), added that Abraham will also collaborate with him to promote awareness among India's youth about the issue. "John Abraham is a youth icon. His involvement will bring the attention of the youngsters to the cause. Additionally, we plan to release the documentary and also screen it at various schools and colleges for a larger reach," Pandey said. He was speaking to Hindustan Times on the sidelines of the ongoing 45th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Goa.
Elaborating on his other plans, Pandey added that by the end of 2015 he will set up an online platform that will enable people to download documentaries of their choice. He currently runs a channel on YouTube called Earth Matters. A 5-year contract with Doordarshan, he said, is also on the anvil to showcase documentaries from all over India. The agreement, Pandey said, will also help documentary makers earn more money for their work.
Pandey was the first Asian filmmaker to win the Wildscreen Panda Award, also known as the Green Oscar, for his film The Last Migration -- Wild Elephant Capture in Surguja in 1994. Later, he won the award for Shores of Silence: Whale Sharks in India (2000) and in 2005, again for Vanishing Giants – a story of his passion and involvement with elephants. His Shores of Silence also won him the National National Award for Best Film in the Exploration & Adventure Category.
IDPA General Secretary Priti Chandriani, who was also present at the press conference, said that the IDPA holds workshops to train people on documentaries but the body needs more funds to reach out to more audiences.
Urging everybody involved to promote documentaries in the country, Pandey said that IPDA is in talks with a number of corporates to set up a TV channel dedicated to such works under their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives.