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How documentary films can promote CSR Initiatives discussed at Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF)

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In a first of its kind initiative, the ongoing 18th Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF) on Wednesday witnessed an exciting session which brought together corporate leaders and documentary filmmakers. The documentary filmmakers are looking for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funding for their films, co-production, sponsorships and collaborations with corporate firms.
A session titled ‘Leveraging Documentary Films to Strengthen Brand and Promote CSR Initiatives’ was hosted where the documentary filmmakers highlighted their projects in front of corporate leaders. Seven documentary films on socially significant subjects were also presented to corporate leaders. These films focussed on issues related to women empowerment, arts and culture, environment and sustainability, healthcare and sports pitched for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funding.

Social impact of documentary films

A panel discussion was also hosted at the MIFF which witnessed the participation of Krishna Vilasini, Director- Corporate Affairs and Engagement, L’oreal India; Amit Bhasin, Chief Legal Officer and Group General Counsel, Marico Limited; Prasanth Venkatesh, Marketing Director, Unilever; and MIFF Festival Director and MD, NFDC Prithul Kumar.
Speaking on the importance of documentary film-making, MIFF Festival Director and MD, NFDC Prithul Kumar said that such films have the power to become a part of our history as they touch upon issues which concern present-day society. “Documentaries are always very important for the kind of impact they have. These documentaries are a powerful tool to highlight an issue or crisis and also light up a path towards the solution. Corporates can benefit by sponsoring these documentaries on social issues and thereby promote their brand’s image.”

The Festival Director further informed that viewership of documentaries has definitely gone up in the last few years. Though documentaries are not commercially released in theatres in India, in many foreign countries this also happens, he expressed.

Social causes highlighted by brands

Krishna Vilasini, Director- Corporate Affairs and Engagement, L’oreal India advised documentary filmmakers to research social issues which are being highlighted by different brands, and accordingly pitch their subjects to corporate firms. She explained that different brands support different causes, which may range from education, empowerment and environment to issues like mental health issues, standing up against street harassment etc. Hence, they may like to provide CSR support to a social cause which is in alignment with their brand image.
The L’oreal India spokesperson also spoke about how documentaries throw light on the unheard and less-spoken about subjects, apart from pressing social issues. Hence, there can be ‘synergies’ between a good documentary and a corporate ready to sponsor it.
Amit Bhasin, Chief Legal Officer and Group General Counsel, Marico Limited expressed that as per the government regulatory framework, corporates cannot invest their CSR funds for causes which have an implication on their business. He further shared that nowadays many brands are trying to build a purpose for themselves and showcase a larger communication centred on it.

 

Films for Differently Abled students

Meanwhile, a special screening of films was hosted at the MIFF for more than 50 Differently abled (Divyang) students from Sanskar Dham Vidyalaya and Victoria Memorial School for the Blind, Mumbai on Wednesday. Episodes of “Little Krishna,” “The Crossover,” and “Jai Jagannath,” all interpreted in Indian Sign Language and with special audio descriptions were screened for the students.

 

Little Krishna was among the films hosted for Differently abled students at MIFF