MIFF 2014 opens with the screening of rare films of British Era; Anand Patwardhan gets V Shantaram Life Time Achievement Award

MIFF 2014 opens with the screening of rare films of British Era;
Anand Patwardhan gets V Shantaram Life Time Achievement Award
 
The week long festival celebrating the best of documentary films –the Mumbai International Film Festival , MIFF 2014 began today,  with a rare insight into the life during pre-independence India, and presentation of V Shantaram Award.
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The Governor of Maharashtra inaugurated the Festival by traditional lighting of lamp, in the presence of Bimal Julka, Secretary, I&B, V S Kundu, Festival Director, Members of the National & International Jury and several prominent film makers. Mr. Sankaranarayanan in his address appealed to the film makers to lend their voice to raise the problems of disadvantaged through their films
 
Veteran film maker on social issues Anand Patwardhan was honoured with the V Shantaram Life Time Achievement Award for his contribution to promotion of documentary films movement in India.  Anand Patwardhan is an acclaimed documentary filmmaker known for his activism through social action documentaries on topics such as corruption, slum dwellers, nuclear arms race, citizen activism and communalism. His notable films include Bombay: Our City (Hamara Sahar) (1985), In the Name of God (Ram ke Nam) (1992), Father, Son and Holy War (Pitra, Putra aur Dharmayuddha) (1995), War and Peace (Jang aur Aman) (2002) and Jai Bhim Comrade (2011), which have won national and International awards. Jai Bhim Comrade, had won the Best Film award at MIFF 2012. Speaking about the type of films he makes,  
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Mr. Patwardhan in his acceptance speech said, “my feelings are mixed. My films speak about the reality of the disadvantaged. They have raised several socially relevant issues, but the impact has been marginal. The issues I highlighted through my films sine 1980s continue to exist – rampant demolition of slums and uprooting of poor, communal violence, increasing crime against women, atrocities against the downtrodden, nuclear arms race etc, continue to remain as serious challenges”.  Mr. Patwardhan thanked the jury for chosing him for the award and said such awards would help make his works more visible V Shantaram Award carries a a cash prize of Rs 5 lakhs (Rs 500,000) and a citation.
 
The opening film - the 86 minute package curated by the British Film Institute National Archive – Before Midnight : a Portrait of India on Film, 1899-1947,  is a collection of home movies, documentaries , dramas and comedies exploring how life was  lived in British India. It has over 100 short films covering topics ranging from temples to tigers.  Maharajah of Jodhpur’s home movies provide an epic portrait of princely power in the 1930s and 40s, whilst those of the Gorrie family offer an intimate picture of family life and their expeditions into the Himalaya. The collection also features the films and TV dramas that helped to shape the mythologies of British India including The Drum (1938), The North West Frontier (1959) and The Far Pavilions (1984).
 
Another highlight of the opening ceremony was the screening of short film titled ‘Checkmate BB’ produced by Mumbai School kids. 17 kids from 13 schools were trained to conceptualize, direct, shoot and edit a film of their own at a workshop conducted by by the Linnep Media and CineKids, Amsterdam as part of the fortnight long Linnep Kids Film Festival, that was held in 15 schools of Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Thane, as a run up to MIFF 2014.
 
Indian Navy’s ceremonial Naval band and Bangalore’s noted music group – Mystic Vibes also enthralled the audience at the inaugural ceremony.
 
What MIFF 2014 has to offer :
The festival line up promises best of documentary films and the International Competition includes documentaries and short films that have been making the right noises around the festival circuit for a while. Dylan Mohan Gray's Fire in the Blood, Ian McDonald's Algorithms, Shai Heredia's I Am Micro, Kim Longinotto's Salma, Joshua Oppenheimer's The Act of Killing, and Nishtha Jain's Gulabi Gang.  The Indian section includes the likes of Shivendra Singh Dungarpur's Celluloid Man, Satyanshu Singh and Devanshu Singh's Tamaash (The Puppet), Raja Shabir Khan's Shepherds of Paradise, Govind Raju's Golden Mango and Sunanda Bhat's Have You Seen the Arana
Detailed day-wise screening schedule can be accessed at www.miff.in
In addition, there will be a number of Open Forum discussions, master classes and seminars on film making and promoting documentary film culture.
 
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MIFF Profile : Anand Patwardhan –
 
Anand Patwardhan has been making films on peoples’ movements in India for over four decades. In 1970-72, on scholarship to study in the USA, Patwardhan participated in the anti-Viet Nam war movement and later became a volunteer in Cesar Chavez’s United Farmworker’s Union. On returning to India in 1972 he joined Kishore Bharati, a rural development and education project in central India. He was active in the Bihar anti-corruption movement in 1974-75 and in the civil liberties and democratic rights movement during and after the 1975-77 Emergency. Since then he has worked with movements for housing rights of the homeless, communal harmony, sustainable development and social justice in the face of religious fundamentalism, rampant privatization, globalization and nuclear nationalism. Most of his films have faced State censorship as well as the wrath of religious fundamentalists and he has successfully challenged these assaults in court and the public domain.
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His engagement with the Bihar anti-corruption movement in 1974-75 led to the making of Waves of Revolution (1974). His film on Bombay, Bombay Our City (1985), examined the daily battle for survival of Bombay slum dwellers. This film won the National Award and Filmfare Award in 1986. Patwardhan’s documentation of the radical fundamentalism of the nineties resulted in the widely acclaimed In the Name of God (1992). The rigor and discipline of his documentary practices also underpin War and Peace/Jang aur Aman (2002), a documentary journey of peace activism filmed over three tumultuous years in India, Pakistan, Japan and the USA. The film was made in the aftermath of the widely celebrated nuclear testing in the Indian sub-continent. This film received the award for Best Film at the Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF), 2002.
 
His continuing work on caste politics in India assumes monumental form in his latest film, Jai Bhim Comrade (2012). The film, shot over 14 years, explores the history and tradition of reason followed by India’s Dalits and their music of protest. The film won the Bartok Prize at the Jean Rouch Film Festival, the Best Film prize at the Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF, 2012) and the Special Jury Award at the National Film Awards among many other screenings and awards.

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