A documentary about India’s first ice hockey team has helped Griffith Film School alumni Mithun Bajaj break into the Indian film industry and is making waves on the international festival circuit.
Mithun’s debut documentary, Fighting on Ice, documents the trials and tribulations of India’s ice hockey team: think Cool Runnings on the Indian subcontinent.
Mithun managed to crowdfund the film, taking on responsibility for directing, shooting and producing his passion project.
“India is known for Bollywood and cricket. When I heard India had an ice hockey team I was surprised and intrigued,” he said.
“The athletes on this team play with minimal equipment and virtually no funding, and they do this because they believe in the sport – ice hockey is their life.
“I found their journey inspiring.”
The film recently won Best Documentary at the Eurasia International Film Festival and has been selected for the Independent Prisma Awards in Rome and the Auckland International Film Festival.
Mithun graduated from the Bachelor of Film and Screen Media Production in 2009, and credits the course with setting him on his way as a filmmaker.
“Coming to Australia to study was the best decision I’ve ever made,” he said.
“I chose Griffith because the Bachelor of Film and Screen Production covered every aspect of filmmaking, and the vibe at GFS was very welcoming.”
Growing up in India and Kuwait, Mithun was always fascinated by film.
“I loved watching movies and had a lot of ideas about films, scripts, stories when I was in school,” he said.
“The Indian film industry is very difficult to break into, but my studies at Griffith have given me the skills to make it and keep moving forward.”
Head of Griffith Film School Professor Herman van Eyken said the film school’s reputation attracted aspiring filmmakers from around the globe.
“Griffith was named the number one creative arts school in Australia, and we remain the dream destination for filmmakers from around the world,” he said.
“It is wonderful to see alumni like Mithun achieving success on the international stage.”