Posted by Vivek on November 17, 2013 | No Comments

In conversation with Sachin Khanna, the Festival Founder & Chairman of the Navi Mumbai International Film Festival (“ NMIFF”).

Tell us about why you decided to organize the NMIFF?

What I found was, that despite the amazing growth of Navi Mumbai, which is almost equal in stature to Mumbai, there was no major cultural event to go with that growth. As a region grows, so does its culture and in India, we have this immense love for films. Hence I looked around and saw college level events and club events, but nothing of a vast, international stature. So the idea came to start the MNIFF, and also make it a big event and also a fully international one, so that the region gets an international exposure to films, and they in turn get to experience Navi Mumbai, so this way there is a two sided growth.

A little about your background, Sachin?

I am from the Merchant Navy, was a captain when I was not sailing, was involved in theater and organizing plays. Then from being a hobbyist filmmaker, taking a camera and filming, I became more passionate about films and decided that this is where my interest was. So I took on a Maritime trainer job in the Merchant Navy and this gave me more time to develop my film interest, which I took to the next level by first making a short film and then organizing this festival

What is planned for the first edition of NMIFF?

I want this to be more than a festival. It is about doing events, organizing workshops, etc, even after the festival is over and also being a facilitator for feature films to get made. The idea is that it should not be just a once a year event and then nothing happens for the rest of the year, in fact the festival would be a start for the presenting opportunities to emerging filmmakers. Already we have started this concept of every film entry getting an exposure on our page and also it’s trailer. This has been appreciated by many and also serves the purpose of highlighting the efforts of the filmmaker. Also since we had made a film and sent to many festivals, I have also been observing the functioning of global festivals and wanted our festival, to be a reflection of that experience gained. So this concept of highlighting the entries is being consistent with our purpose of talking about all the submissions, not just the selected one’s, so even if a film does not get selected, at least it gets an adequate opportunity for exhibition and promotion. The festival will be conducted over 3 days and we expect to have people from the industry to attend. We are also releasing the first ever anthem of Navi Mumbai, in this festival. We want this to be a combination of business and art.

How has the response been so far?

To be very honest, when I started the process, I expected 50 – 60 films, not for anything else, because it was a first time event in a new city. At the time of our initial deadline of Sept 15, I was shocked to find 150 films and as of now we have these 150plus films, from all over the globe, including some outstanding features. I am completely motivated by this response.

Where do you see NMIFF, over the next few years?

I always believe in reaching at the top. I see it at the level of Cannes, and you may call me getting ahead of myself, but I’d like to aim for that. I want NMIFF, as the number one destination for films in India, and talked as such, in the global festival circuit. We would love to have the support from everybody, especially the Indians at home and those staying abroad.

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