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Open Forum @ #MIFF2022 deliberates on opportunities offered by OTT platforms to documentaries

MIFF Campus: Cinema is known as the face of society. But there's always a gap between what society wants and needs. How can OTT platforms fill this gap? Are OTT platforms becoming a real boon for documentaries? Open Forum held on the sidelines of 17th Mumbai International Film Festival discussed and deliberated on a number of such pressing questions today.

Swati Bhat

Filmmakers Piyush Pande, Bharat Shitole, Sushil Kumar Agarwal, CEO, Ultra Media & Entertainment Group and Sameer Mody, Founder and Manager Director, Pocket Films participated in the session. Filmmaker and Technology Expert Swati Indulkar moderated the discussion.

Sushil Kumar Agarwal, CEO, Ultra Media & Entertainment Group opined that nowadays OTT platforms are bridging the gap between films and documentaries. “People are making documentaries in various formats like fiction, factual, short, or long. Documentaries have played a very big role in disseminating facts to society. A platform is required to promote these documentaries, keep them alive and to reach a larger audience. Doordarshan has played an important role in promoting them”, he added.

Filmmaker Piyush Pande pointed out that the OTT platforms have made things easily accessible for people and filmmakers; especially documentary filmmakers. “Many documentaries were out of the reach of the common people. But now with the help of various OTT platforms, such films can reach a larger audience. YouTube is the biggest OTT platform. We don’t have to worry about approvals and the platform can be monetized as well”, he elaborated.

Talking in tune with these discussions, Sameer Mody, Pocket Films Founder and Manager Director said that documentaries are becoming more mainstream because of the OTT platforms. “Unfortunately, the majority of audience still believes that cinema is entertainment. But the new generation seems to be interested in real stories and facts. A lot of films are already being made on real-life heroes”, he explained.

Film maker Bharat Shitole also agreed that the rise of OTT platforms have made things easy and less complicated. “Earlier it was only Doordarshan. Today the youngsters are having a lot of opportunities and it’s up to them how they would grab the opportunity. Thorough research about our target audience and the area that we are focusing on is a must. Indian platforms such as Ultra and Shemaroo are taking the initiative to uplift documentaries”, he concluded.

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