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18th MIFF Hosts Insightful Panel Discussion On ‘Web Series/OTT Platforms – An Elusive Platform For Documentaries’

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New Delhi, 19th of June, 2024 : The 18th Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF-2024) today hosted an insightful panel discussion on the topic ‘Web Series/OTT Platforms – An Elusive Platform for Documentaries.’ The session explored the struggles and challenges faced by documentary makers and highlighted the role of OTT platforms in providing opportunities for documentary creators.

The panel included Shaji N Karun, A Padmashree awardee, National Award-winning film director, cinematographer, and Chairman of Kerala State Film Development Corporation; Prof. K.G. Suresh, Vice Chancellor of Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University, Bhopal; Subbiah Nallamuthu, National Award-winning cinematographer, director, and producer; and Ratan Sharda, software marketing and development expert and public policy activist. The session was moderated by Sanskar Desai, President of the Indian Documentary Producer’s Association and a senior documentary maker.

Director Shaji N Karun emphasized that while cinema and documentaries are different genres, they can coexist on OTT platforms. “OTT can accommodate both these genres. Documentary makers should use this platform to deliver their work to viewers,” he stated, sharing his experience with OTT in Kerala.

Prof. K.G. Suresh highlighted the democratization and decentralization of content through OTT, describing it as a revolution in entertainment. “OTT is not only democratization and decentralization of content but also an ease of entertainment. Let’s accept this platform,” he said, using the analogy of modernizing cycle rickshaws to illustrate the positive impact of technological changes.

Film maker and V. Shantaram Lifetime Achievement Awardee at 18th MIFF, Subbiah Nallamuthu, addressed the ongoing struggles and challenges for documentary makers with OTT platforms. “When OTT came, documentary makers thought it was a big opportunity. But now, after 4-5 years, they face the hard reality. There is hardly any Indian documentary on OTTs. Due to commercialization, OTT platforms are unwilling to buy documentaries, even award-winning ones,” he observed, calling for equal opportunities for documentary makers on these platforms.

Ratan Sharda expressed his concerns regarding the commercial focus of some OTT platforms. “Some OTT platforms only think about money-making and viewership. They should remember their societal responsibility,” he stated. Sharda also suggested that the government should initiate a project to create a dedicated platform for documentaries, which would be beneficial for newcomers without industry contacts.

The panel discussion at MIFF-2024 underscored the potential and challenges of OTT platforms for documentary filmmakers, advocating for a more inclusive and supportive environment for documentary content.

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