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MIFF 2024: Panel Discussion Explores the Reach and Impact of Short Films

Mumbai: The 18th Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF) hosted a thought-provoking panel discussion today on “Dissemination of Shorts: Penetration, Reach, and Exposure,” drawing insights from distinguished filmmakers and industry experts.

Anna Henckel-Donnersmarck, filmmaker and head of Berlinale Shorts, opened the discussion with a powerful analogy, likening short films to poetry. “Short film is like a poem. With each viewing, you will explore something new and amazing,” she remarked. Highlighting the prominence of Berlinale Shorts, one of the world’s largest short film festivals, Anna encouraged filmmakers to see constraints like limited funds and resources as opportunities for creativity. “With one wonderful idea, you can make a beautiful film even through an iPhone.”

Saameer Mody, founder and managing director of Pocket Films, emphasized India’s potential as a market for short films despite its strong feature film industry. “Short film is a simple yet powerful medium of storytelling. It’s the medium through which you can portray reality,” Saameer said. He discussed the digital revolution’s role in helping content find its audience, stressing the need for proper platforms to facilitate this discovery. Saameer also addressed funding challenges, advising filmmakers to explore opportunities independently. “Somebody else can never fund your dream,” he asserted.

Renowned actress Tisca Chopra asserted that short films are valuable in their own right, not just as stepping stones to feature films. “Short film is not just a stepping stone to feature film. It’s a little gem in itself, whose every moment is immersive,” she said. Chopra emphasized India’s rich storytelling tradition, assuring that “a new, unique and exciting story will always find its audience on its own strength.”

Vikeyeno Zao, a documentary and short filmmaker, highlighted crucial issues such as marketing and distribution for short films. “There should be better platforms for short films to showcase,” she added, underscoring the need for improved exposure.

Mohit Soni, CEO of Media Entertainment and Skill Council, stressed the importance of proper training and mentorship for budding filmmakers. He called for the establishment of more academic institutions and centers of excellence in filmmaking. Soni also advocated for exclusive OTT platforms for short films, suggesting the production of commercial short films to generate revenue that could fund more creative projects.

The panel concluded on an inspirational note, encouraging all aspiring filmmakers to bring their dream projects to life. The collective sentiment was clear: “There is a wonderful film inside me, which I have never made and presented.” The panel urged filmmakers to pursue their unique and exciting stories, confident that these narratives will find their audience.

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