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New Delhi, February 9, 2010
Russian director Alexander Gutman’s "August 17" won the Golden Conch for the best documentary, while "The Spell" directed by Umesh Kulkarni was adjudged the best fiction film at the 11th Mumbai International Film Festival of Documentary, Animation and Short Films (MIFF), which concluded in Mumbai today.
"August 17" was unanimously praised by the jury headed by Trinh T Min-ha of the United States for its rigorous, transformative treatment of the unlimited human spirit in an extremely limited space.
Gutman’s 53-minute documentary traces the life and thoughts of Boris Bezotechestvo, sentenced to life imprisonment in a small cell. His world is all of four walls and a view from the window.
The St.Petersburg-based film-maker received the Golden Conch award along with Rs 3,00,000 in cash in the "Best Documentary above 30 minutes" category. The jury did not recommend any award in the less than 30 minutes category.
Ritu Sarin and Sonam Tenzing’s documentary "The Sun behind the Clouds" won the Silver Conch and Rs 150,000 in cash in the "Documentary above 30 minutes" category, for "upholding the spirit of liberty and maintaining a sense of balance while bringing about different perspectives within the Tibetan struggle." The film is about Dalai Lama’s efforts to resolve the conflict peacefully and reaction of the younger generation to the new stance.
Anwar Jamal’s "Anwar- Dream of a Dark Night" and Deepa Bhatia’s "Nero’s Guests" won special mentions.
In the "Documentary under 30 minutes" category – "Vagabond – A nomad in spirit and in reality" and "I Found a Thread" jointly shared the Silver Conch award and the cash prize of Rs 1,50,000. "Vagabond" gets the award for a sensible portrayal of a very difficult and traumatic episode of contemporary Indian history. "I Found a Thread" rekindles the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi to the contemporary society.
In the fiction category, Vinoo Choliparambil’s "Vitthal" won the Silver Conch and a Rs 1,50,000 cash prize. The film deals with child psychology, brilliantly depicting a child’s negative moods and his emotional struggle. Geetu Mohandas’s "Are You Listening" and Alex Holmes "Ali and the Ball" ( Australia ) won special mention of the jury.
"Burma VJ- Reporting from a Closed Country" won the award for the Best Film of the Festival produced by Line Lense Moller of Denmark. The film is about the struggle for democracy in Myanmar .
Deepa Bhatia’s "Nero’s Guests" received the Critics Award and a Certificate of Merit for revealing the reality of India ’s agriculture sector.
Whistling Woods International’s production "Bejinxed" won the Best Student Film award instituted by the Indian Documentary Producers’ Association (IDPA). The award carries the IDPA Trophy and a cash prize of Rs 25,000.
Shaji Pattanam’s "The Hunted- In Search of Home and Hope" was adjudged the best debut film of a director. This award comprising a trophy and Rs 100,000 is instituted by the Dadasaheb Phalke Chitranagari of Government of Maharashtra.
Sanjay Jangir’s "Wait and Path" which traces the initial frustration and later blossoming of hope of a differently-abled person won the Golden Conch in the Best Animation Film Category along with a cash prize of Rs 3,00,000.
National Institute of Design’s "Ukadi Pukadi" won the Silver Conch while Makrand Joshi’s "Lost Home" which traces how wild life finds concrete jungles more formidable won the special mention in the animation category .
Other members of the jury were Gianfranco Rosi of Italy, Peter Van Huystee of the Netherlands, S Krishnaswamy and Asha Parekh from India.
The awards were presented at a glittering ceremony in the presence of Maharashtra Governor K Sankarnarayanan, Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting Chaudhary Mohan Jatua and Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minsiter Chhagan Bhujbal.