The Man behind the “Visual Treat”: D.o.P of “Bahubali 2: The Conclusion” at AISFM Campus!

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SS Rajamouli’s magnum opus “Bahubali 2: The Conclusion” is breaking all records with its successful run at the box-office. The film which is in its second week has garnered an estimated whooping 1000 crore across India, on its second Monday.

Mr. K K Senthil Kumar, D.o.P/Cinematographer of “Bahubali 2: The Conclusion” visited the AISFM Campus for an Interactive session. AISFM hosted a special screening of “Bahubali 2: The Conclusion” for its cinematography students and also for the camera technicians working for Annapurna Studios. Followed by the screening, Senthil was congratulated by AISFM, for the huge success of the film and the impact it is creating on millions of people.

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As VFX and storyline are an integral part of the movie, Senthil shared his thought-process and ideas on certain shots of the film.; sharing facts like – the film was shot on 4:3, rather than a 16:9 to purposely serve the IMAX screen. “The directors vision for the complete series was accurate in his head, and as the D.O.P, I helped him execute that vision through my camera. We worked with each other on most of the pre/post production,” said Senthil answering a question posed by one of our students.

When asked about ‘VFX to normal scenes ratio’ in the movie, and how it acts on his decision-making while capturing particular scenes; he said “The key is to keep it simple. I always try to keep it simple while I’m working. I have a list of scenes and I approach each one with the simplest solutions.” he answered.

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“As the film had exceeded expectations with the first part of the movie, the director had to take it up a notch, to surpass the audiences’ expectations which were set really high, already,” he added in the Q/A session, which was really insightful for the attendees who could gain behind-the-scenes knowledge about this blockbuster phenomenon taking over the world.

He also mentioned that planning and resource management is really important with a high budget project like Bahubali. He further added that, it took a complete year of pre-production before the sequel’s shoot began. If a brief idea of what has to be projected on screen is fairly accurate in the head, the execution becomes way easier. He mentions the skill-set to be prepared for instinctive decisions as when the shoot happens, improvisation for getting an edge should be done, naturally on a regular basis.

As Bahubali will be known for setting a trend, in the size that it has, it was an honour to have an interaction with the D.o.P of the biggest hit in the cinema industry, making and breaking records, in quality of talent and quantity of revenue, while uniting the world globally with the fascinating art of filmmaking.

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Master Class by Sunitha Tati, Well-Known Film Producer

Sunitha Tati, well-known film producer in various regional films, conducted a Master Class for the students at AISFM. Sunitha comes from a background of executive producing movies under Guru Films Pvt. Ltd. She has worked with industry bigwigs like Daggubati Suresh Babu and Gautham Menon. As the session started, Amala Akkineni, AISFM Director, addressed Sunitha Tati, by introducing her to the students and welcoming her to the campus!

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Sunitha was born and brought up in Vijayawada and completed her bachelors degree in business management from George Mason University and went on to do her PG course in filmmaking from New York University. Starting off about her story, she mentioned how her education in New York prepped her in being on set and understanding the functionality of each technical aspect involved in the process of filmmaking. Considering herself a “storyteller”, she feels the need to convey a story is necessary for any filmmaker to execute an idea and depict it on screen.

With an experience in working for T.V and film respectively, she understands the difference between the two mediums and advised the students on how they could pave their way in making their career in either of the two. Engaging in an interesting Q/A session with the students she covered various areas of discussion in film and the current industry dynamics онлайн заявка на кредитную карту. Talking about each student’s favorite director, different tastes and different movies, she made the interaction informative by sharing her personal experiences with the essence of professionalism.

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Before starting out in the Telugu movie industry, she worked in TV 9 (Telugu) as well as Radio Mirchi. In her stint at Ramanaidu Studios she worked as an assistant director for various movies including Malliswari, Jayam Manadera and Nagesh Kukunoor’s Hyderabad Blues. Apart from movies, she is an active Rotarian and trustee & founder member of Support Cancer Awareness Foundation, a NGO based in Hyderabad.

Spotlight: ARRI Lighting Workshop

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Learning from the experts is always a great experience, and our students got a hands-on experience of it yet again.

ARRI Delegates from Germany Mathias Gentsch and Dennis Jackstein, were at the AISFM Campus conducting a Workshop on Lighting. The Workshop was conducted at the Mandwa House Set at Annapurna Studios. Mathias Gentsch is currently the Head of Services at ARRI. Dennis Jackstein, a trainer at ARRI, accompanied him. Stefan Nitsche, Sales Director at ARRI was also present during the session. The students learnt not just about the lighting equipment itself, but also about how it can be used in several different settings and scenarios to create unique and desirable shots.

Mathias & Dennis covered quite a few areas with context to lighting during their sessions at the Workshop. Some of these areas were, High Speed lighting techniques, The M-Series M90, Daylight and Skypanels. Lighting is a very essential component for a DoPs vision to reflect on screen, so the workshop was also conducted for a few DoPs working in the industry currently.

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During the workshop, the delegates put emphasis on LED lights becoming a substitute for the usual Tungsten lights used by filmmakers. Speaking to us about how lighting equipment and techniques have changed worldwide over the years, Mathias Gentsch said “a reflector can be a substitute for a lens and the industry nowadays uses more of LED rather than tungsten lights because of its efficiency.”

Live lighting experiments were set up in three rooms with different equipment and serving different objectives. The German delegates spoke at length about various lighting scenarios and captured the attention of the attendees during the workshop, who were fascinated by the transition in the concept of lighting and the way it has impacted filmmaking.

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As the technology in every field has progressed at a rapid rate, LED lights have an added advantage of saving energy whilst providing the desired output. During the second half of the workshop, the students and the DoPs were divided into groups and were demonstrated on understanding the functionality of the lighting equipment.

The students of AISFM were interactive, and the workshop peaked their interest to know about the process of lighting in precise detail. As learning can broaden the horizon in an individual’s perspective, this workshop was definitely a valid experience the students needed to master their craft in filmmaking.

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A post apocalyptic road drama

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He has his aim set high, with a bag of short films already to his credit! Pursuing his passion and making his dreams come true is Athul Prabhakaran, Bachelors in Fine Arts student of AISFM. The ardent filmmaker made his first film with a webcam even before he hit his teens and has worked as a writer, director and editor for his nine short films in three languages. All set to make his 10th project, a post apocalyptic road drama called ‘Zaman’, through crowd-funding, he is all gung-ho about starting the shoot soon.

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Here it is in Athul’s own words about how the whole experience has been; from ideation to jotting it down on paper to bringing the team together to crowd funding to scouting for locations to finally getting ready to start the shoot!

The initial idea for Zaman came to me five years ago, when I was trying to justify a script with as minimal number of actors within a story that judged the existence of God in a world devoid of humans. I didn’t shoot it then for various reasons, and I’ve constantly been revisiting the idea, adding something valuable every time I do so.

Last summer, a friend and I were brainstorming for an idea after scrapping a sci-fi project that we were planning for months. I pitched Zaman to him, and he loved the idea. We spent the rest of the day structuring the story that would serve as the backbone to the film being made.

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“The film begins with Tawhid, a survivor who has seen the world crumble. A widower traumatised by losing his wife to the catastrophe. Tawhid is threatening to take his life and then a mysterious radio broadcast from a small community calling themselves “The Farm” plays. They claim to have resourced electricity and food. The film follows his quest to survive in a world devoid of normalcy that traces his transformation in the face of adversity. On this journey he encounters a 60 year old woman, her dog and a few other survivors who make for an eventful and thought provoking road drama, which all ends with a shocking twist.”

After college reopened, I pitched it to my fellow collaborators at AISFM. Everyone seemed to love the idea and this prompted me to start out on the screenplay. Zaman was co-written with Isha Thota, with whom I share writing credits on one other film, Take Your Gangster to Work.

As the screenplay took shape, it was very clear that everything was obviously on a much larger scale, a lot of things that we took for granted in a smaller shoot, in terms of times taken to say – complete a script, or even lock on the camera, took much longer than anticipated.

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Earlier short films were made on a much smaller budget – where the biggest argument about “investment” was who’s going to buy the batteries for the Zoom recorder. On Zaman it was a whole different ball game, so from what started out as a film that would require a minimal use of actors, grew into something that needed Rs. 5 lakhs to be effectively realised the way we envisioned.

Zaman will be photographed by Akash Subramanian, my first roommate, a genius of a friend and a brilliant collaborator who has a good eye for framing. The next person who is a very important part of the film actually helped me write the treatment of the film that I paraded around to certain members of the faculty and potential collaborators. Ashwin Rajashekar. My sound designer.

The film was crowd-funded on fueladream.com, where it was funded a 123%, which means we overshot our target goal. I’d really like to thank all my funders, a lot of people really pulled together – friends family, and some unknown philanthropists. Many of which were out of the blue, the support has really been overwhelming.  This got us a lot of publicity, where we were featured in three newspapers – The Better India, Hans India and The Indian Express. This really helped with the additional funding and really created some good buzz around the film. And yes, it was also very flattering.

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Zaman is my first major short film in terms of vision, filmmaking and storytelling. It will be shot in the last two weeks of December and a short second schedule in January to finish post production for an April screening at AISFM’s Student Theatre, something that the AISFM management was very helpful and eager about.

Crew:
Director – Athul Prabhakaran
Chief Assistant Director – Shivam Sinha
Original story – Athul Prabhakaran, SJ Nitesh Sabharish and Isha Thota
Screenwriters – Athul Prabhakaran and Isha thota
Cinematographer – Akash Subramanian
Associate Cinematographer – Abhipsa Sahoo
Gaffer – Sreyash Myneni
Sound Designer – Ashwin Rajashekar
Assistant Sound – Joshua Thakur
Production Designers – Mahesh Rambhatla and Nidhi Kohlatkar
Line Producer – S. Venkat Narayana Murthy
Production Assistant – Sasmit Parkhe
Crowdfunding and PR Manager – Preksha Trivedi

Take a look at Athul’s pre-production video for Zaman: http://bit.ly/2g70Rwf

Editing decoded, from the master himself!

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National Award winning film editor Akkineni Sreekar Prasad visited us for a Guest Lecture at Prasad Labs, to address our students on the topic of film editing. It was an honour and our pleasure to have him amongst us! He shared many an anecdote about his experiences while working on his award-winning films and interacted with the students.

Known for his works in Indian cinema he has worked on Hindi, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu and English films and his last National Film Award for Best Editing was for his work on the feature film Firaaq. He has won the National Film Award for Best Editing seven times and owns one Special Jury Award, throughout a career spanning over two decades. Some of his notable editing works are Yodha (1992), Nirnayam (1995), Vaanaprastham (1999), Alaipayuthey (2000), Dil Chahta Hai (2001), Kannathil Muthamittal (2002), Okkadu (2003), Aayitha Ezhuthu/Yuva (2004), Navarasa (2005), Anandabhadram (2005), Guru (2007), Billa (2007), Firaaq (2008), Pazhassi Raja (2009) and Talvar (2015).

AISFM Honorary Director Amala Akkineni and Dean Bala Rajasekharuni welcomed the guest, who needed no introduction. Sitting down for a long discussion with the students, he said that he was as nervous as he was as when editing a film. He got nostalgic about the place because he recalled that every time they finished editing a film, they come to Prasad Labs and view it. “That’s the most interesting part of a film when you see the first copy of a film and you know if it’s working or not.”

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Recollecting how his journey began in the industry he said, “It happened by chance. Dad and uncle were in the film industry. I was fascinated by books and thought journalism would be a good option. While that was yet to happen my dad asked me to come help out in the editing room and just watch and observe. During that process I got involved in working and then it became exciting because every day, every scene was a new story. I don’t know if I should regret not having a formal training but I think it is very important to have a formal training also, it’s a way of getting exposed to the techniques but it’s not the end of it. You will need to do an apprenticeship maybe but you will be much better trained than a person with no formal training.”

Students of different batches attended the guest lecture and trying to understand his perspective on various topics they asked him many questions and gained insights. Here is the excerpt of the session:

With over 300 films in your work record, what according to you is film editing and how has its definition changed over the years?
Film editing to me itself has changed over a period of time, from when I started off and today. If you go back in history, editing was started off mainly to join two strips of film, to make a video clip bigger so that they can see more. Slowly they realised the possibilities of how joining these film pieces into different forms could make it much more interesting. Then they tried to juxtapose a close up and slowly over 100 years, it slowly evolved. Initially editing was more functional and film was shot to a very bound script. As time passed they saw more possibilities in it. When I started, I was looking at it excitedly as a concept of storytelling and really never understood that editing can be much more than just joining those shots that the director wants to join to make it a scene. Slowly it sunk into me that a scene can be shown slightly in a different manner and you can withhold information, which was possible in editing. I should thank all my directors, for each one of them passed on some learning and a different perspective to filmmaking. Many people have asked me if I have a particular style but I have never felt it necessary to create a style and consciously I’ve never tried to create a style for myself. I would always try to get into a personal equation with the story and try to move with the story. Whatever is best for that story for those visuals I edit, we are not here to question what is been shot. Initially it was not possible to collaborate, but now it is easily possible to do that for the films I do, where I see the rushes immediately or two days later so I am able to give a creative input where it can still be corrected. Earlier that was not possible and whatever was given, we would try to make a structure out of it and polish it.

Editing impacting cinema as a tool for storytelling, where does it stand in the conventional workflow of filmmaking?
The whole concept of films is that you are trying to tell a story so that’s of paramount importance for the audience who is getting glued onto a scene in a particular story at some point. In our Indian ways of film, we have a lot of items inside a story and the audience has got used to it, like the leeway of songs etc. But if the story is not gripping for you at any point of time, then you would probably lose interest in the film. So the editor’s job directly is to make the story seem interesting and see to it that the story keeps moving all the time and it doesn’t become redundant or static; even with constraints like having breaks like songs or fights. The editor has to be conscious of his contribution and ensure that the story is moving in every frame of the film.

Is it a misconception that an editor comes only in the post-production of a film? How important do you think it is for an editor to be involved in the pre-production and production stages of a film?
I think it is very important for an editor to be a part of a film in preproduction itself because there are various things which he will be able to help in. In the story itself, if an editor is equipped enough to judge a story, he can suggest changes. What happens is that when you write a story most of it gets translated, 100% of it is never translated due to various problems. So even if 75% of what a director has visualized has been put on screen, then it is a huge effort. Some people don’t even visualize 50% of what they’ve written on paper. When a story is been written, there will be a lot of things that will not flow in the story and they may not be able to realise it sometimes. An editor’s insight will probably make him imagine how it will transition from one sequence to another, from one mood to another and can be corrected. And if computer graphics are involved, then it is better if the editor is involved from the beginning so that the whole system is smooth and there are no problems later in post production.

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So does editing start right from the development of the concept?
Yes, that is how it starts for me right now. But it is not fair for me to say that that’s how it could start for everybody. It didn’t start like that for me initially. Over the years I made it a point that it was not just cutting and pasting, and I started involving myself involuntarily also into the process with the director. You need to have a very good rapport and wavelength with the director. About 30 years ago lot of people would not have given importance to editing, and were very clear that this is the way it will be shot and edited. As time passed, filmmaking evolved and they realised that you could shoot more and get the best out of all the angles shot. Also with the advent of latest equipment there is a chance for us to experiment on a number of variations.

Editing starts during the shot division stage itself. Could you please explain how important editing is even for directors?
For a director also, it is very important to have an idea of editing in some way or another, maybe not in finesse or in totality. But if he knew from where it would be cut then it would be much easier for him. For a newer director it is always good to sit with the director and see how to break down the shots; why a close shot, why a wide or top angle one etc. The younger directors shoot with multi-cam and shoot all the angles for the whole sequence and then mostly leave it to the editor to decide. Just because we have all the shots, it doesn’t make sense to use all the scenes.

What are the misconceptions about editors that you have heard over the years?
Editing is not about lot of shots, editing is more about the shots that make an impact. It’s not about the number of cuts in a sequence. There are a number of advantages and disadvantages of working on a digital platform. Advantages are endless because you can cut on any number of options. In the olden days they were editing on a smaller platform and they never watched it only on television, they watched it in places like this lab, so people would have an idea of how much would an expression register for a person.

Sometimes we change the story in the editing stage, can you please narrate any from your own experiences?
Once the shoot is done, we are editing in sequences and the overall flow is not seen. Once you put it into a story form you realise that there is repetition of information or obstructions, which need to be solved. 80% of the screenplay does change in the editing stage which will be in the interest of the film moving at a brisk pace. You need to show it in a concise manner. But when you write, not everyone can write like that. An example is a film called Kaminey. It had a peculiar problem which was that there were two characters and one was that of a person in action sequences and the other was of a love story. So in the parallel narrative when we put more time in the love story, the other action part was getting lost, so we had to strike a balance where it was almost uniformly similar in length. Another thing was that there was a wonderful 4-5 minute sequence in the beginning which had a great impact but at the same time what was after that was losing its impact so I had to tell the director the bad news that the scene had to go and he was shocked because they had spent lots of money on it. But as a director he didn’t buy it. In Bollywood there are screening for focus groups and their opinions were similar to mine. Then we took out that scene and showed it in other places to other groups and they liked it in terms of narrative of two brothers, so we had to remove the whole scene.

Another example is Firaaq, where there are five parallel stories and we had to maintain the rhythm of the five stories equally so that no one story got prominence. So we had to restructure the timing in such a way that the scenes end in almost a similar length. We also had to move a large chunk of the story form the middle towards the end to give it a climax for the theatre audience. Screenplay does change at the editing table to a large extent.

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What according to you makes an amazing cut?
Editing is not about showing off cuts. Probably there are situations and scenes where you show off cuts to make a point. But when the audience is watching he is seeing a movie not cuts, he does not know about cuts. We do use cuts when you want to jerk the audience into something or frighten them to create a certain effect. Predominantly you should not feel a cut and it should just flow with the story.

When our students saw Firaaq, they were surprised with the seemless editing for a topic like riots?
It also depends on the director because she was not trying to sensationalise the topic. She was affected by it and we tried to be sensitive to the issue and not sensationalise it in any way. It was her idea from the start which was to be an emotional experience. It needed that emotion to be carried forward.

It is said that an editor orchestrates the emotional rhythm, how important is the rhythm?
The rhythm is set by the story. So if that is clear to me what is that you want to convey then it helps. If you are working with people like Mani Ratnam, then he is also trying to convey an emotion even in a song, it is not an escapist song. There will be a balance of romance and story and it will not look just like a song. The amount of duration of a particular moment is important to convey a particular emotion. I follow; for every action and reaction there is a particular time. It cannot be a staccato type of editing, it will not seem real. So that amount of time you have to judge and leave. How to make it real and not synthetic is what you can set. If it is a retort, it has to be immediately etc.

In the Talvar climax conference room scene, how did you maintain the cuts?
There is a slight humour in the scene and it is a very unconventional scene for a climax where each team feels their investigation is right. So as a filmmaker we slightly have a tendency if you notice, although it seems objective, to make it look like Irfan Khan’s investigation was probably the real one. So when he was saying his lines ridiculing the others it always required the underline of the others reaction to make him look like he was making fun of them. The fun was the reactions of the others, if not it would not have lifted the scene to the level it did.

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How tough was it to show the same scene so many times from different perspectives?
That was the biggest challenge in that film for me, to start the story at the same time. Although the screenplay had the structure in place, as an editor the challenge was how much to show and how much to rewind because it shouldn’t get monotonous. So we slowly filtered out the monotony as the edit went on. If you realise the third is a short version because we realised it will not hold good. We just highlighted the points of difference or contention.

What are the job responsibilities of an intern and what hierarchy is followed once a student joins the industry?
The intern should know how to handle the equipment. Probably he/she might not know how to handle an assistant director or director, so he/she will have to observe. If he/she is becoming an editor then he/she has to make his/her own game plan. But if he/she is joining an editor as an assistant, then he/she should watch their workflow. It requires a year at least for them to get used to it.

You rarely use transitions in your films?
I don’t generally see it as a requirement, so I don’t use transitions because I feel it becomes unreal unless I am really trying to tell something. But for pure film viewing I don’t feel the need unless it’s a specific purpose like denoting a passage of eight years. Usually I am able to convey what I want to convey without these effects. For example, the jump cuts in Dil Chahta Hai.

What is your advice for budding film professionals?
Be passionate about what you are doing, whatever discipline you are going to take. In editing you need a lot of patience. You should be aware of where you are going to operate and create a market for yourself. That’s very important, so work towards that and explore that. You definitely have to experiment and try to do something different, so that you can make a mark for yourself. The most important thing is that you have to be clear where you are getting into in the industry, which market and be aware of that industry before you enter that industry.

See the rest of the photos here: http://bit.ly/2baHkgt

 

Marathon runners inspire!

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Marathons are rightly considered to be one of the most difficult physical challenges that a person can undertake, and requires months of preparation and dedicated training for the running to be a success. Once someone dedicates themselves to running, whether as an avenue to have more energy or simply live a healthy lifestyle, it becomes a habit.

What could possibly motivate someone to take on such a gruelling task? What would drive someone to jump out of bed in the early morning hours and run for countless miles before most people even hear the alarm go off? Well, for some of us here, its sheer satisfaction, a sense of achievement, pushing one’s limits and much much more, at the end of the marathon. A great achievement indeed!

AISFM was duly represented at the Hyderabad Marathon; while some participated in the half-marathon others did so in the 10k and 5k run. ‘Life’s a marathon, not a sprint,’ for these few individuals who have successfully completed the marathon! Here’s what they had to say about what the marathon means to them and what they felt after completing the marathon.

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I have been a passionate runner since the age of 11 years and I was introduced to marathons in 1984. Since then I have been participating in majority of the marathons conducted in India. It gives me a great feeling to be a part of these marathons. It keeps me going great guns in life.

Participation in marathons is one part but running as such is a great sport. Running not only helped me to keep myself physically fit over the years but also taught me to be disciplined, motivated and remain with high energy levels throughout the day. If you remain physically fit by cultivating the habit of running, then you will automatically develop mental toughness to face all changes in life. My advice to students is that they should make running as part and parcel of their daily curriculum for a healthy and longer life span.

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This marathon, in particular, was like testing myself if I still could go without proper training because honestly I didn’t put in enough of what it takes. But the sense of self-achievement that you get after the finish line is worth all the pain for me. And mainly the positive energies of the sport are all that I need to keep going there.

The feeling of completing the marathon was Happy Pain! It’s like you want to dance with joy, but you just can’t. But the next thought that comes to mind is that I need to work on my stamina and run faster the next time. I am running the Bangalore half-marathon in October and aiming for a finishing time of 2.45 hrs!

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This was my first marathon and long-distance running race. Firstly, I am not a long sprinter and I can’t run for long distances. But I just wanted to push my limits and that is the reason I participated in this marathon. I couldn’t finish in the top places but I could complete the race. I am happy that I performed my best and finished the race with 54.35 timing. From now on I will run every marathon possible so that I can improve myself more.

The post marathon feeling was awesome! The best part of the marathon was the participation of handicapped people, they inspired me a lot. I questioned myself that ‘if a disabled person could do that much, then why am I afraid of long runs.’ This marathon gave me the confidence and inspiration for my future races. And I am very thankful to the college for their support.

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It was great experience! Although this was my first time participating in a public event, it gave me a nostalgic feeling running with kids and people whom I’ve never met before. Running alongside physically challenged people inspired me a lot. I would like to ask people I know to get into marathon running every year. It felt like an accomplishment when I finished the marathon and I have set a time limit for myself for the next time I run in a marathon.

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I felt that the marathon is similar to life; people sweat it out to reach their goals and at a certain point they even think of giving up. But after reaching the goal without shortcuts, without giving up, that exhilarating feeling cannot be expressed in words! This was my first 5K run and it was quite a good experience. Many people participated in the run and some of them were handicapped who were definitely the inspiration for many others. When my friends asked me about my weekend, I gave a good reply rather than the usual ‘just another lazy weekend!’

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It was a great experience to run in the Hyderabad marathon, as it was my first one in Hyderabad. Marathon for me is a day to get social, enjoy the moment, music and fun. I was U-19 cricket player and used to train hard and go for 8km runs daily. Unfortunately I couldn’t continue cricket further and after coming to Hyderabad I stopped training. I was short of time and came up with excuses daily for not going for a run. All I needed was a start and this marathon helped me on that. I enrolled but I was worried as I had lost my stamina and I was not sure if I could complete the run. But as the marathon started, the moment was awesome! With everyone cheering and the music, it gave me the energy and I completed the 5km successfully with a timing of 26 minutes. It makes me feel proud to complete the 5km run especially when I lacked the stamina.

With the push that I needed with this marathon, I have started running again and am going to KBR Park daily in the morning. I wish to join the 21 km in the next marathon. I’d suggest that each and every one should start running because it’s good for health and fitness and it makes us feel active and energetic for the whole day.

Rangmanch’s Holi, a colourful triumph!

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AISFM’s theatre club, ‘Rangmanch’, staged the Hindi adaptation of Mahesh Elkunchwar’s ‘Holi’, an iconic Marathi play at Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan, Basheerbagh. Over 400 people turned up for the play and the student event was a huge success.

Harshad Dinkar Fad, representative for ‘Rangmanch’ – An AISFM Theatre Club and an AISFM MMBA III student in his own words jots down the journey of the stage play, from conception to finish, capturing its every essence in its truest form!

Witness this wonderful drama unfurl; pre, during and post, in front of you with his words!

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When the clubs were revamped at AISFM last semester before the summer break, the newly elected representatives for Theatre Club, that was me and S. Venkat Narayan Murthy, had a clear vision of starting the new academic year with a grand theatrical performance. Our vision was supported by other clubs and most importantly Dean Bala sir, who suggested on staging a play that included various performing arts thus involving several clubs in the production. As exciting as it sounds, all the clubs agreed upon taking up this challenge. The theatre club was named ‘Rangmanch’ and we were set to paint the world of theatrics!

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After a lot of brainstorming the club representatives decided to adapt a critically acclaimed film into a theatrical play. Unfortunately, the producers of this film denied us the permission citing the reason that they themselves were in the process of adapting it for stage. By the time this notification came we had already adapted the first act. With such little time left to prepare, Dean Bala sir came to our rescue and suggested we stage Mahesh Elkunchwar’s ‘Holi’. An iconic Marathi play from an iconic playwright, our responsibilities were multiplied to showcase a quality production. It was difficult to find the English or Hindi adaptation of this play and hence I asked my parents to send the original Marathi script from Pune. It took a good three days’ time to translate and adapt ‘Holi’ into a Hind-English play. The adapted script for ‘Holi’ was finally locked. It was time now to build a team.

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From just me and Venkat at the beginning, ‘Team Holi’ eventually went on to be a 42 member troupe! ‘Rangmanch’ conducted its first auditions, where we found some actors with great potential. Most of these actors were completely new to stage acting and excited to explore the medium.

‘Holi’ is a play based on a hostel where everything was as paranoid as any other hostel till something beyond paranoid happened. A group of college students gather at a hostel room to express disappointment over not getting a holiday for Holi. What begins as a fun-filled hoopla amongst friends slowly turns into a revolt and then into something outrageous.

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In all there are 19 characters in the play. The backstage crew, sound team, lights team, costumes and makeup team, finance and marketing team together took the number of cast and crew to a whopping 42 members! To manage these 42 people for three weeks and maintain co-ordination was the primary challenge we faced. At times, to maintain discipline we had to take harsh decisions like replacing the actors. A few contretemps here and there but talking about issues freely and finding solutions collectively was key to keep a healthy environment during the rehearsals. It was wonderful on the part of all the cast and crew members to do rehearsals for three long weeks after six to seven hours of a gruelling college schedule. On our side, Venkat and I tried to keep the atmosphere as fun-filled and enjoyable as possible. We all danced, did some funny exercises, meditated and laughed together. Everybody’s graph of performance in all departments only showed an upward mark.

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Meanwhile, the Dance Club choreographed an energetic performance that would open the play. ‘Aarambh’, the Events Club was constantly co-ordinating between various departments while maintaining the finances. Rohit Tkar from the Music Club was going to be the lone ranger giving live score to the play. Photography Club covered the practice sessions and also took the responsibility to cover the entire event on the D-Day. The marketing team put up posters across the city and tickets were up for sale on BookMyShow.

AISFM funded the auditorium fees and equipment. Our academic co-ordinators Ms. Abhigna, Ms. Lyzandra and Dr. Vijaya Raghava were of utmost help throughout the process. We partnered with ‘Ksheersagar Sweets’ as our associate partners and Aayat Productions as our printing partners. Everything set; ‘Rangmanch’ was ready to go on the ‘manch’ of Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan Auditorium!

19th of August, 2016. Nervous excitement. Stakes were high. First ever theatrical performance by AISFM. First ever Rangmanch performance. First ever grand event in the presence of our Dean and AISFM Director Amala ma’am. It was a day marked with the most appropriate use of nervous energy by 42 individuals collectively. Without any frenzy, the crew and cast reached the venue with all the required properties and equipment. After the lights and sounds settings, we did a final rehearsal and the team was ready to deliver!

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To our delight, more than 400-strong audience turned up for the show. Mrs. Amala Akkineni, our Chief Guest for the evening and our very own Dean Bala Raj sir arrived. It was encouraging to see some of our lecturers and officials from administration sitting in the first two rows. With such a massive turnout for the show and fire to give a memorable performance, Holi was performed. All the hard work and penance of three weeks was seen in every action and reaction on and off the stage. The play had three change of scenes where the complete stage was changed from one location to another. As the lights went off the crew had just 20 seconds to change these settings in complete dark and they, unbelievably, were on point every single time. Practice indeed makes a crew perfect! We were blessed with a wonderful audience who were responsive to everything that went on the stage. Listening to their applause after every scene was thrilling!

It was an emotional moment when the play got over and the entire cast and crew stood there to bow in front of the audience. Surpassing all hurdles and striving for the best at every moment, we finally delivered. And the audience loved it. What more does an artist want? To see the smiles on the audiences’ faces, to see them delighted, to see the effect your performance has caused in their eyes, is all the accolades and love won. Dean Bala sir and Amala ma’am presented us Directors with a shawl. It will remain as one of the highlights of my life and Venkat’s too. Truly humbled by this beautiful gesture! It was a shawl that not only recognized the efforts we put into bringing this entire act together from scratch but also a reminder of the responsibility we shouldered into making things only better and better from here. There’s always scope for improvement and we will only go forward from here. There is one thing I always told the cast and crew, which we again proved at the end of this performance, “Success is easy, all you need to do is hard work!”

As for ‘Rangmanch’, we are not a club anymore. We are family! 

Don’t miss the action! See more photos here: http://bit.ly/2bLgzia

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Summer Programmes Graduation Ceremony 2016

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It was a day to remember, for the students of the summer workshops! Their hard work, enthusiasm and efforts paid off and were visible for all to see. It was the day of their Graduation Ceremony where their skills were showcased for all to witness and enjoy!

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What better way to kill time than to do a short summer workshop? The Graduation Ceremony was for the AISFM Summer Programmes that were conducted earlier this month; a 2-Week Photography Workshop and a 2-Week Acting Workshop.

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Famous actor V. Nagineedu, who won the Nandi Award for Best Villain for his role in Maryada Ramanna, was the Chief Guest for the event. Interacting with the enthusiastic students at the event he said, “Always take negative feedback with a positive attitude and make your passion your profession with hard work.” He reminisced that he became an actor due to his passion for acting after he saw Akkineni Nageswara Rao in Pullarangadu. He added that acting is an inborn talent and students should understand and recognize themselves and “institutes like AISFM will polish it.”

Before handing over the certificates to all the students, he advised them to conduct a SWOT analysis on themselves and identify their own strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats; and work on them to achieve their desired goal. Earlier on during the event, two plays were enacted by the acting workshop students whereas selected photos taken by the photography workshop students were shown.

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Under the guidance of Dr. Rammohan Holagundi, the acting course took students through a program of international-standard acting technique training for both on- and off-camera, apart from basics of acting, imitation exercises, mime exercises to develop the finer details of body language, dance, play rehearsals and more.

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Nimit Pershad, brilliantly helped students understand the craft and different genres of photography and capture visually superior images, and also learn different shooting styles in the two-week photography workshop.

Graduation ceremony of AISFM short courses

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The Annapurna International School of Film and Media (AISFM) recently held a Graduation Ceremony for their short courses; their 6-month short course of Certificate in Film Acting and their 3-month course of Fundamentals of Script Writing.

Renowned film actor, screenwriter, dialogue writer, poet, theatre actor, playwright and director Tanikella Bharani was the Chief Guest for the ceremony. The veteran actor who has worked in more than 750 films (including Tamil, Kannada and Hindi) and who has garnered three Andhra Pradesh State Nandi Awards, speaking at the event said that students need to work hard in this ever-changing and competitive field of film-making to make a mark for themselves. Bala Rajasekharuni, Dean of AISFM was also present on the occasion.

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The Film Acting course introduces beginners to the fundamentals of acting and provides them with the foundation necessary to start a career in film and television. As part of the course, they learnt introduction to grammar of filmmaking, acting in front of camera and on stage, spontaneous acting vs. method acting mime, imitation, improvisation amongst other things.

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The Scriptwriting course is aimed at amateur writers who have great ideas for stories and want to learn the process of developing these ideas into film scripts. Here they learnt how to identify the theme and premise of the story, plot construction and developing the treatment and step outline, amongst other things.

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Our short courses are a practical way for working professionals in the media industry to upgrade existing skills, keep up with changing technologies and to learn new skills that can help their professional development. But they are also an excellent way for non-media professionals to “dip their toe in the water” and try out the world of media.

AISFM Grad Film Fest 2016

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It is indeed a proud moment for Annapurna International School of Film & Media (AISFM), when our students are ready to graduate and face the world with their freshly learned and honed skills.

It was time for the Graduation Film Fest 2016 where final year BFA and MA students who completed their film making course showcased their fine skills in the short films that they made as part of their graduation films. It was held at Prasad Labs on Friday, April 29th 2016 at from 4pm to 9pm. Eight short films were screened (of about 20 to 30 minutes duration) during the film festival.

Chief Guests for the evening were; Ms. Lakshmi Manchu; famous actress, producer and television presenter who is known for her works in Telugu cinema, Tamil cinema and American television; Mr. Gopi Mohan; popular screenplay and story writer of blockbuster movies Dookudu and many more; Mr. Kalyan Krishna, who created a sensation with his very first directorial debut Soggade Chinni Nayana; Mr. Ramesh Prasad, famous Indian businessman, film producer, chairman and Head of Prasad Studios, Prasad Art Pictures, Prasads IMAX and L V Prasad Eye Institute; Ms. Supriya Yarlagadda, Executive Director of Annapurna Studios, who has been highly instrumental in transforming the traditional studio into a corporate environment; Mr. Sumanth, famous film actor known for his work and meaningful cinema; Mr. Akhil Akkineni, young star and heartthrob of many girls.

Mr. Bala Raj, the Dean of Annapurna International School of Film & Media and well-known Hollywood professional who has written, produced and directed award winning English films was also present on the occasion.

The films that were screened were of various topics; if one took you to the 1900’s then the other touched upon a topic that not many are comfortable talking about. If one was about a long cherished dream, the other was about a simple gesture, to smile!
The films screened were:
Parchaai, a drama, which features the journey of a school student who tries to redeem himself after an event that has occurred in his past.
Varnamaala, a story set in the early 1900’s where the zamindari system is at its peak. There is one head person for a village who has the authority over every person of that village. This is the time where lower caste people are considered to be untouchables and are banished out from villages. This is one story of how one man tries to change this in his own way.
Inside Job, a psychological thriller. It’s a play between the human soul and brain where the brain propels the soul to explore the untraversed territories of human senses. It tries to question you about your perception of reality and pushes you to think one more time about you, about yourself.
– One of the greatest feelings in life is to be able to smile and feel carefree, even if it is just for a moment. The documentary, Navvu, explores the importance of laughter through concepts like medical clowning in the highly stressful lives of those who’ve had to spend time at hospitals.
Sattvam, a film about Ratan, an ambulance driver. He is a very crude man, one who never believes in his duty of saving lives of people in emergency. When faced with a situation which makes him introspect the reasons behind the attitude he has developed, will he resist or accept to change?
Sort the Spot, the story of two girls and a regular day in their respective schools. But that’s not it. Something strange happens. A girl’s first period – a topic still considered taboo by many in the country; it’s time we talk about it in the open.
Khwaish, a film about Karim Khan, who is a small town guy from Kashti. Karim is a vendor of Nimbu Sarbat which he sells on his cart in the Village. Karim unlike other small town guys is very different and still hopes of achieving his dreams at any cost. Karim is very close to this small kid Arjun (12). Karim’s ambition, his goal, his only dream is to  go to Lord’s and watch India play cricket. Can Karim achieve his dream ever?
Rangula Ratnam, a story is about a Sale’s man and a Lawyer. How they meet each other and interchange their profession for one day. After that what are the challenges they face individually. In the end how they save the life of two people, who are related to the same conflict is the story. Does the story end on a positive note?

After the screening of the short films, the chief guests shared their thoughts on them. Speaking about the event, Lakshmi Manchu said, “Congratulations on such incredible work. I am inspired by all of you. It’s always inspiring to see new visions and it is very important to see new ideas come forth. A lot of hard work goes into cinema and here overnight success happens in 10 years.” Giving advice to the students she said, “Nothing is more beautiful than cinema, define yourself. What is the story that you have that is compelling to tell? Identify that and keep your passion, drive and love alive for cinema.”

Ramesh Prasad, speaking at the event reminisced about how his father, L. V. Prasad (one of the pioneers of Indian cinema and a producer, actor, director, cinematographer and businessman) started his journey in films and said that there were four things that his father followed and advised the students to do the same; “passion, patience, perseverance and purity of thought.” He further added, “You as youngsters should know about cinema. There is great power in the medium of cinema, the more you are involved, the more you churn. The challenge is the content. The future is on you, take it forward.”

Sumanth speaking at the event said, “You have a wonderful opportunity, let your imagination flow.” He also recollected an incident wherein he had gone to a top film house in Bombay recently and a person came running up to him and introduced himself as an alumni of AISFM, who incidentally was there, to sell his script to the film house.

Akhil Akkineni lauded the efforts of the students and appreciated them and their movies. He said, “My grandfather’s dream was to give back to cinema and he would have been proud to see your wonderful films.” He further added, “The harsh reality is don’t ever let yourself down if your vision is not translated onto the screen. Stay on your course. Passion for what you do is very important. If you don’t love it, don’t do it, you won’t last.”

Bala Raj, Dean, AISFM, speaking at the event, congratulated the students and said, “you have endured the making of a film and you now know what goes on into the making of a film and this premiere of your short films is a great accomplishment, so congrats to all of you.”

Later on, the students interacted with the guests and a brief question and answer session with the Chief Guests and faculty of AISFM was held. Cherishing these momentous moments forever, photographs were taken with the chief guests for keepsake!