MIFF 2004, the Mumbai International Film Festival for Documentaries, Shorts and Animation, which runs from February 3-9, has run into trouble with 12 Indian filmmakers withdrawing their films from the festival in protest against censorship and the selection process.
In addition, playwright and filmmaker Girish Karnad resigned as chairman of the Jury at the because "the entire atmosphere, as indeed the very purpose of the festival, has become vitiated, making it difficult for me to be associated with it." Earlier, film-maker R.V. Ramani had resigned from the Organising Committee, protesting against the "clumsy, haphazard and totally flawed" processes of selection. He urged a six-month postponement of the once-every-two-year festival, with entries chosen by a fresh selection committee operating with transparency and professionalism.
A body of 250 filmmakers called "Campaign Against Censorship At MIFF" has announced a parallel festival to showcase films that were either rejected, or have withdrawn their selected entries from MIFF. The screenings titled Vikalp ' Films for Freedom, will take place between February 4 and 9 in Mumbai.
Meanwhile the government-run film fete MIFF will continue at the three screens at P L Deshpande Kala Academy in Mumbai and will screen about 300 films from 20 countries, including two from Pakistan. Forty four films will compete in the international section while 76 films have been selected for the national competition section.