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India’s Film Bazaar to Launch Documentary Market in Mumbai (EXCLUSIVE)

Goa-based Film Bazaar, South Asia’s largest film market, will have a documentary-focused sister edition in Mumbai from June.

The documentary component of the market will now be a full fledged Film Bazaar on its own within the Mumbai International Film Festival for documentary, short fiction and animation (MIFF). The Indian government-run MIFF, which began in 1990, is separate from the privately managed Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival.

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Like its Goan counterpart, which is a part of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI), the MIFF Film Bazaar will have a co-production market, the primary goal of which is to facilitate partnerships between filmmakers and potential producers or co-producers globally. It aims to provide a platform for collaboration, co-productions and funding opportunities for documentary film projects. Filmmakers will be able to pitch their projects and explore avenues for financial support and collaboration both locally and internationally.

Similarly, there will also be a work-in-progress lab focused on supporting filmmakers with projects already at post-production stage. Filmmakers can present their works-in-progress and receive feedback, mentorship and the chance to interact with industry professionals.

The other crucial component of the Goan event, the viewing room, will also have a Mumbai avatar, providing a platform for filmmakers to showcase their documentary work to potential buyers, distributors and festival programmers. Registered attendees will be able to view a curated selection of documentaries and shorts.

The move comes as India’s documentary sector continues to flourish globally with an Oscar win for “The Elephant Whisperers,” Sundance and Cannes wins for “All That Breathes” and Oscar nominations for “Writing With Fire” and the India-themed “To Kill a Tiger.”

Prithul Kumar, festival director, MIFF, joint secretary, films at the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and MD of the National Film Development Corporation, told Variety: “In recent times, documentary films have gained increased importance in the international film space due to a growing appreciation for real-life narratives. The rise of streaming platforms and digital distribution has also made it easier for documentaries to reach a global audience, especially the way in which they have placed India on a global map with its success at Oscars.

“Documentaries have become powerful tools for advocacy, education and fostering empathy, making them integral to the modern film festival landscape. It is with this thought that we had included documentary segments in both IFFI and IFFI Film Bazaar. MIFF, being the largest and oldest festival of non-feature films in South Asia, has consistently provided a platform for filmmakers from India and abroad who want to tell these true stories and with the inclusion of the Film Bazaar at MIFF this year, we expect to provide a holistic experience to filmmakers.”

“Documentary filmmakers usually face a huge challenge in accessing funds and sponsorships for their films. Through MIFF we wanted to provide a platform to the filmmakers where they could take their work to buyers and sell their films or find funding and other resources through the work in progress and co-production segments. We are approaching corporates to participate in the MIFF Film Bazaar so that some part of their CSR [corporate social responsibility] funds can be channelized towards non-feature films which highlight important social issues,” Kumar added.

The MIFF Film Bazaar will take place June 16-18.

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