Committed to extending financial help: I&B secretary on independent films

Sanjay Jaju added that MIFF will pay tribute to Indian films' accomplishments at the Cannes Film Festival.


Published Jun 15, 2024 | 1:34 PM Updated Jun 15, 2024 | 1:34 PM

File photo of Information and Broadcasting Secretary Sanjay Jaju

Information & Broadcasting Secretary Sanjay Jaju has said the government is committed to extending financial assistance to independent filmmakers, including Payal Kapadia, whose movie All We Imagine as Light won the Grand Prix Award at the Cannes Film Festival.

At the press conference of the 18th edition of the Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF) in Mumbai on Friday, 14 June, Jaju was asked about Kapadia not receiving funds.

“That’’s not true. The film is a joint production and the process of reimbursement happens and it could happen in due course. There’s no shortage of commitment for films which are cleared by the Film Facilitation Office,” Jaju said in response to a question by PTI.

Filmmaker Anurag Kashyap, in an interview with PTI, recently said that India has not given the rebate promised to Payal Kapadia’s All We Imagine As Light.

Managing Director of NFDC and Joint Secretary (Broadcasting), Ministry of I&B, Prithul Kumar said India is supporting Kapadia’s movie.

Kumar said among the Indian selection at Cannes this year, three were supported by the government.

Also Read: Mysuru filmmaker bags Cannes La Cinef first prize

‘Investing in right films’

“One is Payal Kapadia’s film, which is a co-production… I’ll be happy to announce that the interim approval for whatever incentive is planned was already given beforehand,” Sanjay Jaju said.

He further added, “There’s another film, which is Indo-UK production, so the Indian Government through the FFO (Film Facilitation Office) will be doing the incentive, and the third one is an FTII film. So, the government is not just doing selection and investing in films, but the right films.”

At the 77th edition of the Cannes Film Festival, which was wrapped on 25 May, the other winners include Anasuya Sengupta, who was awarded the best actress in the Un Certain Regard category for The Shameless and Chidananda S Naik’s Sunflowers Were the First Ones to Know was crowned the best film at the La Cinef section.

Also Read: India likes to take credit for a lot of things, says Anurag Kashyap on Payal Kapadia’s Cannes win

‘Credit to filmmakers’

Responding to another question about the performance of Indian films at the Cannes Film Festival, Sanjay Jaju said the credit should be given to the filmmakers and not to the government.

“We do not want any credit (for the films’ success). There is a criticism against us that we sit here and take credit. But it is due to all those filmmakers, who do all this meaningful work. I understand the process is painful and amidst all that, a small filmmaker makes an effort and makes so much effort that eventually you create a product that gains worldwide acceptance,” he said,

Jaju further added, “So, congratulations to them. The only thing we can say is, we were supporting them through whatever small measure we could. So, it’s their team members who deserve this congratulations.”

Sanjay Jaju added that MIFF will pay tribute to Indian films’ accomplishments at the Cannes Film Festival.

Chidananda S Naik’s Sunflowers Were the First Ones to Know will be screened on the opening day of the festival on Saturday.

Cannes 2024: All We Imagine As Light—A beacon of hope for Indian cinema

MIFF 2024

“Mumbai International Film Festival this year is kind of a tribute to the good work that they’ve done. That’s why in the opening ceremony, we’ve brought in the film that received an award last month,” he said.

The 2024 edition of MIFF will open with the screening of National Geographic’s documentary Billy & Molly: An Otter Love Story. The film gala will be held at the FD-NFDC Complex from 15 to 21 June.

Jaju said for the first time a film bazaar has been organised by MIFF to provide a platform for independent filmmakers to find funding opportunities for their projects.

“The Film Bazaar and Film Facilitation Office will be in full swing. People will get to know about the incentives. Sometimes not many people know of the incentives so it’s an opportunity to know that these incentives are available. These incentives are not for big filmmakers who have ₹1,000 crore opening. This is meant for small independent filmmakers.”

“Some of the films which are good and need to be supported… At NFDC, we also have some funds available, we will make use of this opportunity to look at some of the products and see where we can pitch in ourselves, and finance these films, so all of this is going to happen.”

Also Read: Kani Kusruti and Divya Prabha’s journey to Cannes glory

Promoting art and cinema

Sanjay Jaju added that the Government of India organises such festivals to promote art and cinema.

“Cricket and cinema are two fields that occupy our mind space when it comes to entertainment. This particular event, for instance, apart from the documentaries and short films, also holds a mirror in front of us and provides an opportunity to look at issues that are topical and issues that are socioeconomic. For us as policymakers, it allows us the opportunity to look at those issues and find solutions because this is real cinema, and not fictional that we are all used to,” he said.

MIFF, established in 1990, is held biennially and serves as a platform for both established and emerging filmmakers to showcase their craft, nurturing cinematic talent and fostering cultural exchange.

This year a total of 118 films have been selected by the three selection committees, comprising eminent film experts for the international (25) and national (77) competition sections along with 16 films in MIFF PRISM.

There will be eight world premieres, six international premieres, 17 Asia premieres and 15 India premieres during the film gala where special packages have also been curated. MIFF will also host awards, masterclasses and panel discussions with noted filmmakers.

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