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MIFF 2024: Corporates and Documentaries Collaborate to Drive Social Change

Mumbai: In a groundbreaking initiative at the 18th Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF), seven documentaries focusing on socially significant subjects were presented to corporate leaders at the festival venue, NFDC – FD premises, Pedder Road, Mumbai. This unique session aimed to bridge the gap between documentary filmmakers and the corporate world, promoting collaborations through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funding, co-production, sponsorships, and other forms of support.

The session, titled ‘Leveraging Documentary Films to Strengthen Brand and Promote CSR Initiatives,’ showcased films addressing issues such as women empowerment, arts and culture, environment and sustainability, healthcare, and sports. The filmmakers pitched their projects to an audience of corporate leaders, seeking backing for their socially impactful work.

Prithul Kumar emphasized the historical significance of documentary films, noting their ability to address and reflect societal issues. “Documentaries are always very important for the kind of impact they have,” he said. Kumar also highlighted the increasing viewership of documentaries, even though they are not commercially released in Indian theatres.

Krishna Vilasini advised filmmakers to align their projects with the social causes endorsed by brands, thereby enhancing the potential for collaboration. She emphasized the importance of reputation for brands and how documentaries can complement their image. Vilasini also noted that millennials and Gen-Z consumers are heavily influenced by the content they consume about brands.

Amit Bhasin pointed out that documentaries often highlight underrepresented topics from remote parts of the country. He mentioned that government regulations prevent corporates from using CSR funds for business-related causes, but they still seek to build a purpose and communicate it effectively through impactful storytelling.

Prasanth Venkatesh remarked on the rich tapestry of stories in India due to its diverse culture. He stressed the importance of authentic storytelling in documentaries to raise awareness and propose solutions. “True stories about work done create a lot of impact. Good storytelling can help brands to increase impact,” he said.

The session, moderated by Chandrashekhar Mantha, Partner in the Risk Advisory (RA) practice at Deloitte India, underscored the growing market for documentaries. Mantha shared that around 11 billion documentaries are made annually, with the number expected to rise to 16 billion soon.

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