18th MIFF Bids Glittering Farewell, Pledges an Even Brighter Return


Under the twinkling lights of Mumbai’s iconic skyline, the 18th Mumbai International Film Festival for Documentary, Short Fiction, and Animation films concluded, illuminating the City of Dreams with the brilliance of cinematic artistry. The city that never sleeps reverberated with the echoes of storytelling and creativity, reaching its crescendo with a spectacular closing ceremony graced by Maharashtra Culture Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar.

Celebrities, filmmakers, and luminaries from the film and entertainment world gathered to celebrate the festival’s resounding success and the enchanting magic of non-feature cinema. Among them were Shekhar Suman, Shaji N. Karun, Subbiah Nallamuthu, Poonam Dhillon, Chaya Kadam, Ammie Barauh, Akshay Oberoi, and Vishal, among others.

Keynote Address by Sudhir Mungantiwar

Delivering his keynote address, Culture Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said that our filmmakers are the Kohinoors of our nation. “When we move forward, our heritage and every subject connected to our films will move forward. The capacities of those sitting here are such that they can reach the depths of our souls through their art; depths even doctors may not reach,” he added. He urged everyone to leave MIFF with a renewed perspective and a commitment to increasing their capacities in the years to come.

The minister also congratulated the Government of India for its efforts in promoting talented filmmakers through this esteemed medium. Highlighting the transformative power of films, he stated, “Films are a mirror to society and lead to social transformation. A single dialogue from this sector can transform a person’s life.”

Mungantiwar underscored the multifaceted role of films, stating, “Films are not only a source of entertainment but also a power station that develops personalities. When personalities are developed, societies develop, and when societies develop, the nation develops.” He concluded his speech with a call to action, encouraging everyone to come together through the medium of film to take the pride of our nation to every house and heart across the globe.

Jury’s Insights

Bharat Bala, Chairman of the International Competition Jury, shared the jury’s views on the competing films. He mentioned that they were inspired by the narratives of cultural values around the world, which still place family at the center of our lives and highlight the resilience of humanity. “The soul of all the documentaries reflected the culture of humanity and the culture that we live and breathe from across the world. We expect all of us to invest more in documentaries so that humanity can thrive,” he added.

Apoorva Bakshi, the Chairperson of the National Jury, expressed honor in witnessing strong, profound, and poignant narratives emerging from different parts of India. “The highlight of the viewing experience was how filmmakers across the board deconstructed the anatomy of patriarchy and portrayed male relationships through a tender lens, which was seldom explored,” she added.

Award Winners

Golden Conch Award for ‘The Golden Thread’

The prestigious Golden Conch award for the Best Documentary Film of the Festival in the International Category was awarded to the Indian film ‘The Golden Thread’ directed by Nistha Jain. The film, which follows the weft and warp of jute work in Kolkata, is both an homage and an observation of the last vestiges of the industrial revolution impacted by economic change. The jury noted that the film illustrates the relationship of man to machine while questioning the equation by which capitalism values man only in terms of his labor. The stunning imagery and sound weave a beautiful narrative that underscores the compelling nature of documentary filmmaking. The award includes a certificate and a cash prize of Rs. 10 lakh. ‘The Golden Thread’ was also screened as the closing film of the festival.

Silver Conch Award for ‘Sour Milk’

The Silver Conch award for the Best International Short Fiction Film was bestowed upon the Estonian film ‘Sour Milk,’ directed by Vera Pirogova. The film eloquently portrays the intricate bond between mother and son, weaving a narrative rich in expectation and disappointment. This award also includes a certificate and a cash prize of Rs. 5 lakh.

Silver Conch Award for ‘Zima’

The Polish film ‘Zima,’ directed by Tomek Popakul and Kasumi Ozeki, received the Silver Conch award for the Best Animation Film in the International Competition section, accompanied by a certificate and a cash prize of Rs. 5 lakh.

Jury’s Special Mention for ‘Lovely Jackson’

‘Lovely Jackson,’ directed by Matt Waldeck, received the Jury’s Special Mention in the International Competition category. The jury was inspired by the film’s spirituality and the creative techniques used to tell its compelling story.

Technical Awards

Best Sound Design

Best Sound Design was awarded jointly to Niraj Gera and Abhijit Sarkar for their excellence in the films ‘The Golden Thread’ and ‘Dhara Ka Tem’ (Time for Milking).

Best Editor

Best Editor award at the MIFF was awarded jointly to Vignesh Kumulai for ‘Karparaa’ and Irene Dhar Mallik for ‘From the Shadows.’

Best Cinematography

Award for Best Cinematography was bestowed jointly upon Babin Dulal and Suraj Thakur for ‘Dhorpatan: No Winter Holidays’ and ‘Entangled,’ respectively.

Pramod Pati Award for Most Innovative/Experimental Film

The Pramod Pati Award for Most Innovative/Experimental Film was awarded to the Japanese film ‘The Old Young Crow,’ directed by Liam Lopinto, for its inventive and magical storytelling of multiple dualities. The award includes a trophy and a cash prize of Rs. 1 lakh.

Silver Conch Award for Best Indian Documentary Film

The Silver Conch Award for the Best Indian Documentary Film went to ‘6-A Akash Ganga,’ directed by Nirmal Chander Dandriyal. The film, which draws viewers into the reclusive world of legendary musician Annapurna Devi, includes a cash prize of Rs. 5 lakh.

Silver Conch Award for Best Indian Short Fiction Film

The Silver Conch Award for the Best Indian Short Fiction Film (up to 30 minutes) was awarded to ‘Salt,’ directed by Barkha Prashant Naik. The film explores the tender inter-generational understanding of sexuality in a poignant and beautifully crafted father-son story. This award includes a cash prize of Rs. 3 lakh.

Silver Conch Award for Best Indian Animation Film

‘Nirjara,’ directed by Gaurav Pati, won the Silver Conch award for the Best Indian Animation Film. The film, which tells the story of two brothers reuniting during grief-ridden rituals on the ghats of Ganga, includes a cash prize of Rs. 3 lakh.

Jury’s Special Mention for ‘A Coconut Tree’

‘A Coconut Tree,’ directed by Joshy Benedict, received the Jury’s Special Mention in the National Competition section for addressing the urgent topics of migration and climate change.

Dadasaheb Phalke Chitranagari Award for Best Debut Director

The Dadasaheb Phalke Chitranagari Award for Best Debut Director at MIFF 2024 was awarded to Sreemoyee Singh for her film ‘Towards Happy Alleys,’ which also won the FIPRESCI International Critic Jury award at MIFF. The award includes a trophy and a cash prize of Rs. 1 lakh.

IDPA Award for Best Student Film

The IDPA award for the Best Student Film at MIFF was awarded to ‘Chanchisoa (Expectation),’ a Garo film directed by Elvachisa Ch Sangma and Dipankar Das. The award includes a trophy and a cash prize of Rs. 1 lakh.

Best Short Film on ‘India in Amrit Kaal’

The Best Short Film Award on ‘India in Amrit Kaal’ was awarded to ‘Life in Loom,’ directed by Edmond Ranson, which explores the socio-economic and climatic challenges faced by weaver communities in India. The award includes a trophy, certificate, and a cash prize of Rs. 1 lakh.

Cultural Performances and Felicitations

The closing ceremony also witnessed the presence of film luminaries like Akshay Oberoi, Sheeba Chadha, Aimee Baruah, Manya Singh, Chhaya Kadam, Vishal Malhotra, Chandra Prasad Thakur, Sai Deodhar, Sanvikaa, and Deepak Parashar. The evening left the audience spellbound with colorful, vibrant, and eclectic cultural performances that set the stage on fire. The technical committee of the festival and film personalities were felicitated at the function. Prithul Kumar, Festival Director & Managing Director, NFDC, proposed the vote of thanks.

MIFF 2024 Highlights

This edition of MIFF proudly showcased a diverse array of 314 films from 59 countries, presented in 61 languages. The festival featured an impressive lineup, including 8 world premieres, 5 international premieres, 18 Asia premieres, and 21 India premieres, highlighting the global appeal and unique storytelling prowess of filmmakers worldwide. A significant highlight of MIFF 2024 was the introduction of the Documentary Film Bazaar, a groundbreaking initiative that offered filmmakers an exceptional platform to engage with buyers, sponsors, and collaborators. This innovative event attracted nearly 200 projects from 10 countries, spanning 27 languages, fostering a vibrant exchange of ideas and opportunities.

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