The Indian Documentary Awards for Excellence 2005 were given away at a warm and informal ceremony held on March 25, at Kitab Mahal in the Fort area of Mumbai. The IDPA Awards are of great significance to the documentary film making community because peers confer them as recognition of excellence and commitment. 

Founded in 1956 IDPA is India’s single largest association of producers of documentaries, animation films, advertisement films and TV programmes. Each year IDPA recognises and rewards the talents of Indian short film makers with these awards. The awards attract entries from both young and experienced film makers across India.

This year IDPA chose to include student documentaries, short fiction and animation films in recognition of the growing body of work created by students independently, and in educational institutions. Films in thirteen categories – which include documentaries, commercials, public service films, animation, and technical awards for cinematography, editing, script writing, and sound design — were judged by juries composed of eminent professionals from the respective disciplines.

One of the moving moments at the awards function was the conferring of the Ezra Mir Award for Lifetime Achievement on cinematographer K K Mahajan for a lifetime of excellence and inspiration by Bharat Merchant a friend of Ezra Mir. Previous awardees have been N S Thapa cameraman and documentary filmmaker, Ram Mohan animation filmmaker and Prem Vaidya cinematographer-filmmaker. The well known cinematographer Rajen Kothari spoke warmly about “K K’s” way of working and his capacity to inspire his team members.

On the eve of the IDPA awards, IDPA’s President Vijaya Mulay said: “This is the golden jubilee year of the IDPA. I consider the current period as most crucial for IDPA. It is necessary to take stock of where we stand and what goals we should pursue. This has to be done not only in terms of situation as it exists in our chosen field of action but in much larger societal terms. Why? Because the world has shrunk; the forces that are operating on it are global and favour transcontinental corporations that have set up a virtual empire.

It suits them to have a uniform culture in lieu of the wonderful variety that we have; for them an individual is not a citizen with civic rights but a consumer. Globalised media are one of their powerful weapons. In this context, supporting and promoting independent expression, as IDPA does, is critical to maintaining a vibrant democratic culture.”

Over the last year IDPA has conducted workshops for filmmakers, contributed to discussions with the government on policy matters in film. IDPA has been co-hosting, together with the Films Division, the Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF) since its inception in 1990. At the MIFF, IDPA encourages new talent by awarding a plaque along with a cash prize to the best directorial debut.

The IDPA Awards are the only awards in India conferred on short film makers by their peers. Film makers packed the gallery space at Kitab Mahal and cheered for the winners as they came forward to receive their beautiful steel trophies. Giving away the awards were luminaries Ram Mohan, the doyen of Indian Animation and K L Khandpur former Chief Producer at Films Division. Impressive excerpts from the award-winning films were screened at the ceremony. They indicated that the art of the short film is very much alive in India today. Be it commercials, short fiction, animation or documentary all the art forms are flourishing and can be compared with films made anywhere else in the world.

IDPA is the largest professional body of its kind. It acts as a catalyst, linking its members with one another and also with the advertising agencies, advertisers, TV channels, the government and other related associations. It provides information, guidance and even arbitration whenever required. IDPA is registered as a Public Trust under the Bombay Public Trust Act. In the fast changing media scenario, it is the only body of its kind representing a diverse range of independent communication professionals.

A festival package of the award-winning films will travel across the country for a series of mini festivals. All those interested to host such festivals can contact the IDPA office in Mumbai by looking up their website

Award Winners & Citations

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Report on Awards

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