Manipuri cinema revving on to greater heights | Guwahati City News

by Guwahati_City

GUWAHATI: Meena Longjam’s ‘Andro Dreams’ will be screened as the opening film in the Non-Feature Film section at the annual 54th International Film Festival of India (IFFI), 2023, to be held in Goa from 20th – 28th November 2023.

It is the third Manipuri non-feature film to achieve the honour of opening the Indian Panorama section.

The first film was Aribam Syam’s ‘Yelhou Jagoi’ (1995), after a gap of 21 years, followed by Bobo Khuraijam’s ‘Ima Sabitri’ (2016).

Apart from it, Waribam Dorendro Singh’s documentary “Last Meeting” has also been selected in the Non-Feature Film section of the same festival. 

Exhilarated by recent critical acclaims that Manipuri filmmakers have received in international and national film festivals, Manipur State Film Development Society (MSFDS) Secretary, Sunzu Bachaspatimayum predicts an exciting time for Manipuri Cinema as its revving on to greater heights after celebrated its golden jubilee (1972-2022).

Some outstanding Manipuri films that have shone in international and national film festival circuits in recent times are Romi Meitei’s fiction feature “Eikhoigi Yum”; Haobam Paban Kumar’s fiction narrative “Nine Hills One Valley” and “Joseph ki Macha”; Khwairakpam Bishwamitra’s short fiction film “Eewai”; debutante Bijou Thangjam’s short film “Lembi Leima”; Borun Thokchom’s documentary on ace female boxer Laishram Sarita, “I Rise” and Saikhom Ratan’s biographical documentary on bomb blast maimed fine artist, Kh. Mikel, “Beyond Blast.”

Romi Meitei, who recently received National Award for his “Eikhoigi Yum” from the President of India in New Delhi, credited MSFDS for inspiring local filmmakers to shape the next phase of the state’s cinematic journey.

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Romi, who has toured the globe and won multiple accolades in Malaysia, US, Russia etc, asserted that the series of film events like festivals, Master Classes, Labs and Workshops organized by MSFDS had transformed Manipur into a hub of filmmaking and allowed introspection on the body of works of Manipuri cinema since 1972 and provoked a new path by exposure to the trend in world cinema.

Romi Meitei thanked MSFDS for the inspiration it has provided him with the yearlong events it organized to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Manipuri Cinema. In fact, “Eikhoigi Yum” which bagged the Best feature film award at the Manipur State Film Award in 2022, had the privilege of opening one of the highlights of the celebration, the first ‘Eikhoigi Imphal International Film Festival’ (EIIFF), he said.

Incidentally, Meena Longjam’s Andro Dreams, the documentary on the exploits of an all-women football club was incubated, developed and awarded development fund at MSFDS’ “Imphal documentor”, a 5-day documentary project development lab, jointly realized with support from Documentary Resource Initiative (DRI), Kolkata and Television Cine Foundation Manipur.

Meena Longjam thanked MSFDS for continuously empowering local filmmakers, especially documentary filmmakers by organizing project development and incubation labs like “Imphal Documentor”, “Editing Lab” and “Cinematography Labs.”

Towards production of good cinema in the fiction category, MSFDS is also conducting a Screenwriting Lab with local screenplay writers. Out of 15 projects that applied for the lab, five projects were selected for incubation and mentoring. Projects include stories of conflict, gender issue, corruption and blind superstition.

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The Lab is expected to conclude by February next year with participating screenwriters pitching their projects to local producers and commissioning producers following the international trend of fiction film financing.

Another milestone of Manipur Cinema is the official selection of Aribam Syam Sharma’s masterpiece fiction feature film, “Ishanou” in the Cannes Classic category at the 76th Festival De Cannes 2023.

The 1990 feature film which centred on the Maibi cult of Manipur was previously an official selection in the Uncertain Regard category of the same festival in 1991.

The Cannes Classic selection was realized after the 90-minute feature was restored by MSFDS in association with Film Heritage Foundation, Mumbai at the laboratory of L’Immagine Ritrovata (Italy) and Prasad Corporation Pvt. Ltd (India).

Congratulating Meena Longjam and Waribam Dorendro Singh upon their films’ selection in the Indian Panorama which was announced on Monday, MSFDS Secretary Bachaspatimayum termed their achievement as just the beginning of a string of success for Manipuri Cinema in the days to come.

He added that MSFDS is producing a documentary on the birth of Manipuri Cinema centred on the first film director of Manipur, Sapam Nodiya Chand or SN Chand. The film which is currently on the floor is directed by national film awardee and executive board member of MSFDS, Oken Amakcham.

Indian Panorama, a flagship component of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI), announces the selection of 25 feature films and 20 non-feature films that will be showcased at the 54th IFFI.

The selection of the Indian Panorama is made by eminent personalities from the world of cinema from across India comprising a total of twelve Jury members for feature films and six Jury members for non-feature films led by the respective Chairpersons. Exercising their individual expertise, the eminent Jury panels contribute evenly to the consensus that leads to the selection of Indian Panorama films of respective categories.

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The aim of the Indian Panorama, organised by the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC), Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B), is to select the feature and non-feature films of cinematic, thematic and aesthetic excellence in accordance with the conditions and procedures in the said regulations of Indian Panorama.

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