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Remarkable To Witness The Authenticity And Maturity Of Storytelling From Different Parts Of India : Jury, National Competition Category At 18th Mumbai International Film Festival.

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New Delhi, 19th of June, 2024 : The National Competition Jury of the 18th Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF) expressed their insights and profound appreciation at a press meet, highlighting the depth and diversity of the films that competed in National competition section at the 18th MIFF 2024.

Through a collective statement the jury members said that the highlight of their viewing experience was how filmmakers across the the board deconstructed the anatomy of patriarchy and portrayed male relationships through a tender lens which was seldom explored. Chairperson of the jury and Indian Film ProducerApoorva Bakshi participated in the press conference along with members Adele Seelman (German film producer), Dr. Bobby Sarma Baruah(Indian filmmaker), Munjal Shroff (Indian Animator), and Anna Henckel-Donnersmarck (German filmmaker).

The jury also emphasized the honor of witnessing strong, profound, and poignant narratives emerging from different parts of India. “The 75 films we have watched in the documentary, short fiction, and animation categories over the past four days have left us feeling a range of emotions and in awe of the writing strength that forms the backdrop of good classic cinema,” the statement read. Themes that deeply resonated included explorations of relationships set against rich and diverse landscapes amidst the age old customs followed in India across all social and  economic classes, noted the jury.

Apoorva Bakshi, the Chairperson of the jury, shared her excitement about the journey over the past four days. “We have deliberated for hours, which is a testament to our passion for storytelling. The jury has a diverse gender scape, making the process democratic,” she said. She praised MIFF for focusing on documentary films, an emerging format in India, and expressed amazement at the discovery of animation films. “Incredible films from the Northeast were particularly impressive,” she added.

Apoorva Bakshi also mentioned the multiple urgent and important themes that made their job tough. “It is remarkable to see such maturity in storytelling. Authentic tales from various corners of the country like Kashmir, Punjab, Northeast, and South are seamlessly flowing in these films,” she noted.  “The viewing experience has been incredible, and many filmmakers are happy to attend. Student filmmakers competed on equal footing with experienced filmmakers, often blowing our minds with their narrative strength,” she concluded.

German film producer Adele Seelman expressed her thrill at the diversity of films, storytelling landscapes, and themes. “I am overwhelmed by this experience and grateful to MIFF for inviting me. The language of film is universal, and the emotions raised transcend borders,” she said. She noted that the complexity of human existence captured in the films awed both the jury and the audience.

Indian filmmaker Dr. Bobby Sarma Baruah appreciated the good movies and the independent spirit of filmmakers in the Northeast. “Our industry is very small, but the quality of films is impressive,” she remarked.

Animator Munjal Shroff was fascinated by the depth of storytelling, particularly in animation. “The control young filmmakers have over the medium is amazing, with a mature approach in sound and cinematography. It speaks to the depth of talent in filmmakers, especially the younger generation,” he said. He praised the wide and diverse range of subjects and the long debates among jury members to select the best film, calling it a hallmark of a great festival. “The jury’s diverse composition, with three Indian nationals and two foreigners, enriched the experience and brought a valuable outside perspective,” he noted.

German filmmaker Anna Henckel-Donnersmarck expressed her happiness at being part of the jury, as it allowed her to explore India through its filmmakers. “It helps me understand the filmmaking ecosystem—what kinds of films get funded, selected, and what stories filmmakers want to tell,” she said. She appreciated the discussions with jury members who had different perspectives and noted the challenge of deciding the awards due to a long shortlist.

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