‘Chhaya’ wins the Best animated Film Award at the 14th MIFF

Animation made its remarkable performance at the 14th Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF) which ended on 3 February 2016 in Mumbai. A total of 385 documentaries, shorts and animation films were shown at the Festival from around 20 countries out of the 850 received.

Among the several entries received in terms of animated shorts and features, the animation film titled Chhaya bagged the first prize in the Animation Category of International Competition.

Directed by Debanjan Nandy along with an enthusiastic team of skilled artists and musicians, this film is based on the concept of the emotional bond of an old man with the shadow, or as the name suggests the Chhaya, of his wife. The only chord that connects the protagonist to his wife is the presence of light lamps which transcend him to the hypothetical state of being with her. However, reality strikes him like a bewildering wind destroying his fantasy as the lamps go off and the shadow is lost.

Having an inclination towards narrating heart touching stories, Debanjan is an Animation Film Design graduate from National Institute of Design, India who further joined the Directing Animation course at the National Film and Television School, UK. And his graduation film Chhaya has already encompassed a journey winning several awards at various festivals across the globe and now another feather is added as it bagged this honour at MIFF.

Ashish Kulkarni who headed the Animation and New Media Jury said that the jury saw 21 animation and 32 new media films and was impressed with the way the filmmakers combined various mediums. The films by professionals and students could not be clubbed together and there had to be separate awards for these. He also wanted more awards for the new media category.

The Manipuri documentary film Phum Shang won the Golden Conch Award for the Best Documentary Film (upto 60 minutes) while the Swiss film My Name is Salt and Indian entry Placebo shared the Gold Conch award for the Best Feature length Documentary Film. Pabankumar won the Golden Conch Award and a cash prize of Rs 3 lakhs.

Mumbai filmmaker Devashish Makhija’s Agli Baar shared the Best Short Fiction Film honours with the UK entry Solo Finale by Ingo Putze.

The Dadasaheb Phalke Award for the Best Debut Film of a Director went to Far From Home by Copenhagen, Denmark based film maker Nitesh Anjan.

The Festival organised by the Films Division every second year in collaboration with the Government of Maharashtra and the Indian Documentary Producers Association had commenced on 28 January. The festival was honoured by the presence of Maharashtra Governor Vidyasagar Rao, Maharashtra Culture Minister Vinod Tawde, filmmaker Ramesh Sippy and brand ambassador Jackie Shroff.

MIFF, director, Mukesh Sharma said that this was the only Indian film festival giving away around Rs six million in cash awards and had become the biggest documentary film festival in Asia. It achieved a new milestone by holding a simultaneous MIFF Zone in nine other cities.

Animation is climbing the growth ladder in India with commercials, features, documentaries and shorts being made across genres and with MIFF recognising this space, definitely the ladder has been escalated only to discover and achieve new heights.

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