FTII students welcome at MIFF: Organiser

Panaji, Nov 25 (IANS) FTII students are filmmakers and will be welcome at the Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF), its director Mukesh Sharma said on Wednesday, as agitating students of the Pune-based film and television institute have started a parallel film festival at the ongoing IFFI.

Asked if the MIFF organisers would be, like the IFFI, deterring Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) from registering for the Mumbai festival, which is the largest and oldest festival for non-feature films in South Asia, Sharma said: “Here also they must be doing it for some reason I don’t know. They are filmmakers, they are welcome (at MIFF).”

Sharma, who is also the director general of the Mumbai-based Films Division of india, said that there would be no excessive scrutiny of the FTII registering at the MIFF. He unveiled Bollywood actor Jackie Shroff as the festival’s brand ambassador.

MIFF is organised by the Films Division of India under the aegis of the ministry for information and broadcasting.

FTII students observed a 139-day strike from June 12 this year, to protest the appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as the institute’s chairman, claiming the he was unfit for the position.

After the appointing authority, the I&B ministry, stuck to its guns and did not cancel Chauhan’s appointment, the students called off the strike on October 29, but also insisted that their protests would continue.

A spokesperson for the FTII students said that over two dozen students were denied registration for the International Film Festival of India, two ex-students were arrested for protesting at the inaugural and one student was detained for several hours by police for wearing a tee-shirt with the FTII logo at the festival campus.

FTII sympathisers also started a two-day parallel film festival, featuring films made by students, in protest against IFFI, a short distance from the venue of the international event.

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