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Dutch documentary on Soviet WW-II PoW picks up top prize at MIFF

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Mumbai, June 4 (Ajit Weekly News) As the week-long 17th Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF) for documentary, short and animation films concluded on Saturday, it conferred the top honours to the Dutch documentary film ‘Turn Your Body to the Sun, Malayalam film ‘Saakshatkaaram, Faroese language film ‘Brother Troll and Polish animation film ‘Prince in a Pastry Shop.

‘Turn Your Body to the Sun’, which tells the incredible story of a Soviet Prisoner of War, was honoured with the prestigious Golden Conch award for the Best Documentary Film.

The award was presented by Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari at the valedictory ceremony held at the Nehru Centre here in the presence of Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting L. Murugan and other dignitaries.

The award carries a golden conch, a certificate and cash prize of Rs 10 lakh.

The film brings to light the incredible story of a Soviet soldier of Tatar descent, who was captured by the Nazis during World War II. Through his diaries as well as various personal and public archives and registries, his daughter Sana attempts to trace the path of her father to understand what made him the man she knew as a child.

Malayalam film ‘Saakshatkaaram’ and ‘Brother Toll’, a film from Faroe Islands of Denmark, shared the Silver Conch award in the Short Fiction category with ‘Prince in a Pastry Shop’ directed by Polish filmmaker Katarzyna Agopsowicz winning the Silver Conch for Best Animation Film in International Competition category.

The MIFF 2022 International Jury consisted of Israeli director Dan Wolman, wildlife filmmaker Subbiah Nallamuthu, French filmmaker Jean Pierre Saire, National Award-winning journalist and author Anant Vijay and French documentary maker of Iranian origin Mina Rad, who chaired it.

Bimal Poddar was feted with the Dadasaheb Phalke Chitranagari Award for Best Debut Director at MIFF 2022 for his film ‘Radha’. The film revolves around an elderly lady and her relationship with a young boy whom she has nurtured with all her heart.

The 17th edition of the film festival had many firsts, including being the first edition to be held in hybrid mode. The festival saw an estimated 9,000 footfalls, with approximately 5,000 film lovers registering as delegates, of whom 1,400 were students.

Bangladesh was the ‘Country of Focus’ this year in commemoration of its 50 years of Independence and 11 films from the country were presented during MIFF 2022.

Eminent filmmaker Shyam Benegal, who was the Guest of Honour at this year’s MIFF, appreciated the non-feature filmmakers, saying they are self-motivated to make films that usually don’t have an audience unlike mainstream cinema.

“When you make a documentary or a short film, you don’t have an ensured audience unlike a feature film; you make a short film because you are totally self-motivated; the inspiration to make the film has to come from within,” he said.

“This is the most wonderful part of this evening because these filmmakers are clearly motivated to make their films. There is something pristine about it, which I think is what a film is all about,” he added.

Benegal then went on to mention that making short-films or non-feature films is not only challenging, but also the most creative form of filmmaking.

He gave the example of a painter whom no one ordered to create a piece of art but he still creates, saying, “This is the most admirable part of short films. It is wonderful that we have this festival, and we are recognising wonderful filmmakers by giving them a forum to show their films.”

–Ajit Weekly News

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