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Awesome story telling by debut filmmakers from Tier 2 and 3 towns, says Apoorva Bakshi, National Competition Jury Chairperson

National Jury MIFF 2024

Chairperson of the National Competition Jury of the 18th Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF), Indian Film Producer Apoorva Bakshi addressed the media along with other Jury members Adele Seelman (German film producer), Dr. Bobby Sarma Baruah(Indian filmmaker), Munjal Shroff (Indian Animator) and Anna Henckel-Donnersmarck (German filmmaker).

Apoorva Bakshi is an International EMMY Award-winning producer, notably known Delhi Crime and The Hunt for Veerappan was all praise for the new filmmakers whose films are in the competition. Kashmir, Punjab, Northeast, and South

Speaking exclusively to Paresh B Mehta, Editor of Apoorva stated, “None of the films were from known filmmakers and the deliberations took a day with Anna whose experience of programming at Berlinale brought an incredible process which made it very democratic. Student filmmakers competed on an equal footing with Experienced filmmakers”

Elaborating on the democratic process of selection, she revealed, “First and foremost strength of the story was considered and after arriving at a shortlist of each judge, then they would be overlapped and weighted, this is strategically how we proceeded. There were some very clear winners and then the debatable process took place to choose the film from the winning pile where each one of us would place their argument on the film and we debated a lot in all 3 categories – shorts, documentaries and animation.”

“There was not so great pile and there was a great pile in the shortlist. It was the great pile to indulge in among ourselves. Just yesterday we noticed that there are 5 debut filmmakers, several of them from Tier 2 and Tier 3 towns telling stories from there. Interestingly female directors were telling the male narratives which is so beautiful to see this from a very tender lens. There are films from Kashmir, Punjab, South and particularly from Northeast which were way more than the rest of the country,” added Apoorva Bakshi further mentioning that personally she is just blown away with the animation films in MIFF 2024.

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.

Dr. Bobby Sarma Baruah appreciated the good movies and the independent spirit of filmmakers in the Northeast.

Fascinated by the depth of storytelling, particularly in animation, animator Munjal Shroff noted, “The control young filmmakers have over the medium is amazing, with a mature approach in sound and cinematography. The jury’s diverse composition, with three Indian nationals and two foreigners, enriched the experience and brought a valuable outside perspective.”

German filmmaker Anna Henckel-Donnersmarck said it allowed her to explore India through its filmmakers, “It helped me understand the filmmaking ecosystem in India as to what kinds of films get funded, selected, and what stories filmmakers want to tell.”

Expressing their insights on the selection process, the national competition jury was highly impressed to witness the authenticity and maturity of storytelling with the 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.

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