Bhubaneswar: At a time when mainstream Odia films are failing to strike a chord with the viewers in the State, young independent filmmakers from Odisha continue to shine at national level for their brilliance in experimenting with unconventional subjects.
Three films directed by two Odias, including a woman, have been selected for prestigious 15th Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF) that will begin on January 28 at the National Centre for Performing Arts, Mumbai.
The week-long festival of documentaries, short fiction and animation films from across the world will conclude on February 3.
The festival directorate has received a record 790 entries, with 194 entries from 32 countries in the international competition and 596 entries in the national competition.
“The Tribal Scoop”, a documentary based on tribal people’s passion and obsession with hockey and how the game has changed the fortune of some tribals in Sundargarh district.
Speaking to Odisha Sun Times, director of the 60-minute-long film Beeswaranjan Pradhan said: “One will be shocked and surprised to know the spirit of the tribal children, many of them work in the fields for agricultural purposes, attend school and at the same time find time to practise hockey to play for their nation.”
“They are so poor and almost illiterate but their passion and commitment to follow the national sport is simply unthinkable. This is what appealed me to make a documentary on them,” Pradhan revealed.
The film, shot and co-produced by another Odia boy Piyush Puty along with Mumabi-based Code Red Films, captures the century-old tradition of hockey in the district.
Similarly, two other films – “Some Stories Around Witches” and “The Waterfall” by National Award-winning filmmaker Lipika Singh Darai were also selected for this year’s MIFF.
Shot in Mayurbhanj and Keonjhar districts in Odisha, the 53-minute “Some Stories Around Witches” reveals how superstition and ignorance have ruined the lives of many innocent people in the State.
“The Waterfall”, a 21-minute-long short fiction traces the evolution of a young city boy to appreciate the value of the environment and think critically about climate change and development.
The film has been entirely shot around the Khandadhar waterfalls and in the nearby forests in Sundergarh district.
An elated Lipika said: “In MIFF 2018, I will be presenting two very special films of mine, which carry my personal involvement with the subjects, as a director and as a filmmaker.”
Lipika, a woman from the tribal community Ho from Mayurbhanj district has won four National Film Awards in her seven years of career in filmmaking and direction.
On the sidelines of the festival, the V. Shantaram Lifetime Achievement Award for promotion of documentary movement in India will be conferred upon an eminent documentary filmmaker chosen by an independent jury. The award money has also been doubled from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 10 lakh.
Altogether, cash awards of Rs 58 lakh will be given away during MIFF 2018.
The oldest and largest film festival for non-feature films in South Asia, which began in 1990 is organised by the Films Division, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India.