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Anticipation Builds for the 18th Mumbai International Film Festival

Mumbai: Excitement is in the air as the 18th edition of the Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF) for short films, documentaries, and animation films is set to inaugurate tomorrow. This grand event promises to be a cinematic celebration that will captivate audiences and industry professionals alike.

During a curtain-raiser press conference, Sanjay Jaju, Secretary of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, shared insights into the festival’s upcoming offerings. He emphasized that the purpose of MIFF is not just to promote cinema but also to reflect on topical and socio-economic issues and guide policymakers toward solutions.

Sanjay Jaju highlighted the growing market for documentaries, a global industry worth $16 billion, underscoring their power to inform, inspire, introspect, and entertain. “Besides documentaries, we have a very dynamic VFX segment, including animation. This industry has significant economic and employment multipliers within our country. We are pleased to include this segment in MIFF this year,” he added.

He also noted India’s advancements in the Animation and VFX industry, mentioning iconic Indian characters like Chhota Bheem and Chacha Choudhary. “The goal is to create intellectual properties in the Animation sector that resonate globally. This festival provides an opportunity for our creators to present ideas that capture the world’s imagination,” he emphasized.

Jaju announced that MIFF 2024 will feature 314 films from 59 countries in 61 languages, including 8 world premieres, 5 international premieres, 18 Asia premieres, and 21 India premieres. “Sixty countries are participating through their films and other engagements. MIFF is a global event, offering opportunities for filmmakers worldwide,” he explained.

The Secretary unveiled several novel initiatives for this year’s festival:

1. Doc Film Bazaar: The first-ever marketplace for independent filmmakers to find buyers, sponsors, and collaborators for their projects.

2. Midfest Film Selection: For the first time, MIFF has selected a Midfest Film, “The Commandant’s Shadow” directed by Daniela Volker, adding a new dimension to the festival’s offerings.

3. Inclusivity and Accessibility: MIFF 2024 is making its venues fully accessible to everyone and will showcase special films for persons with disabilities in partnership with the NGO SVAYAM.

4. Simultaneous Screenings: MIFF screenings and red carpet events will take place simultaneously in five cities: Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Pune, and Delhi, allowing wider access to the festival’s offerings.

Jaju also discussed the Ministry’s efforts to nurture future filmmakers by inviting students from premier film institutes like FTII, SRFTI, and IIMC to immerse themselves in the festival, learn from industry leaders, and network. “MIFF has a legacy of creating great filmmakers. Our aim is to cultivate champions for the future,” he said.

The opening ceremony will showcase the FTII student short film “Sunflowers Were the First Ones to Know,” which won accolades at the 77th Cannes Film Festival this year. Jaju remarked, “India’s soft power is growing, fueled by imaginative creators participating in MIFF.”

Prithul Kumar, Managing Director of NFDC, also presented a detailed overview of the festival’s features during the press conference.

The 18th Mumbai International Film Festival promises to be a landmark event, celebrating cinematic excellence and fostering global connections through the powerful medium of film.

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