Given the rich repertoire of documentary films, animation movies and short fiction films produced in the country, there needs to be a TV channel dedicated to broadcasting such works of art, the director of the Mumbai International Film Festival, Bankim, has said.

MIFF is a biennial event for documentary, short and animation films.

Feature films have an established route to reach the masses, he told The Hindu on Friday. In India, animations and short films have always been used to spread social awareness and to showcase social messages. The greatest problem, though, for those who wish to express themselves through this medium is finding a way to bring their product to the people.

The 12 edition of the MIFF which begins on February 3 would have a special package of documentaries and short fiction films, he said. “There is a documentary film enthusiast, Shirley Page, who has a rich collection of documentaries and short fiction films. She has a ‘best of festivals' package, a ‘best of the country' package and so on. All these films will be screened and she will be there to interact with the audience,” Bankim said.

MIFF would feature 567 documentaries and short films, of which 118 are from outside India. Thirty-six countries have sent in entries for the festival; there are 34 entries from Hong Kong alone. Among the Indian States, Maharashtra tops the charts with 200 entries. While Delhi has 76 and West Bengal has 74, Manipur has 32. Kerala has sent in 31 entries to the festival.

More prize money

This year the prize money at MIFF has been hiked substantially. “The total prize money comes to Rs.68.5 lakh,” Bankim said. With a view to promoting student filmmakers, the award money for this category has been increased from Rs.25,000 to Rs.1 lakh. There would be a special workshop at the festival where aspiring filmmakers would be taught how to shoot a short film using a Canon D7 camera.

MIFF also has a Jammu and Kashmir package and an Afghanistan package. Two delegates from Afghanistan would attend the festival. Rabindranath Tagore and Satyajith Ray would be honoured at the festival. A ‘Shanta Ram Lifetime Achievement Award' too would be given away. The films made by members of the jury would also be screened at the festival.

Details about MIFF can be had from the website www.filmsdivision.org.