Hollywood VFX Expert Phaneendra Gullapalli at AISFM

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AISFM had a Master Class with Mr. Phaneendra Gullapalli, a Hollywood VFX expert, and a member of the team that won an Oscar for the Hollywood film The Curious Case of Benjamin Button for visual effects. Phaneendra  has also worked on visual effects for movies like 2012, Mummy-III, Transformers-II, Tron: Legacy, Star Trek: Into Darkness, Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief and many more. Students enjoyed the interactive and engaging session with the expert greatly.

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Speaking about his journey from Vijayawada to Hollywood, he recounted how he fell in love with animation & visual effects early on in his life. He kept pursuing his passion inspite of being rejected four times for internships at famous Hollywood studios. The secret to his sustenance and success? He says “One third of your life is spent at your workplace and I didn’t want to pursue something that I was not happy with. I wanted to pursue my passion, so I took up animation. Some people give up after a setback. I didn’t because there is a thin line between winning and losing.”

What level of artistic instincts and capabilities, and how much technical skills should a person have, asked a student to which he said that “it is good to have both backgrounds if possible; artists and technologists together is a good combination.”

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Speaking about the process of visual effects in a typical film, he gave a walkthrough of his role of expertise in the process of filmmaking. He demonstrated how with Halon virtual camera, wherein you shoot your film before you shoot your film live. This method was used on projects like Bahubali, where by this previsualizataion, lot of production cost can be saved as the director can pre-emptively make changes to his visualization, rather than trying out his ideas on expensive sets.

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‘When do you come into the picture?’ was another question posed. “VFX and post production are collaborators right from Stage 1 and on a daily basis,” he said and cited an example of Bahubali, “We would shoot 10 to 12 shots for the scene and Director Rajamouli would pick one for the final scene.”

Talking about the role of a VFX supervisor, he said that he ensures that each scene is shot as per the requirement. “In Mummy III, the green screen was blue instead of green, so it is the supervisor’s job to ensure such things don’t happen.”

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Phaneendra also shared tips and tricks used in the industry and said that to tackle the challenges of lighting conditions, a chrome ball can be used and software like Nuke, Maya or Houdini. Talking about the work culture in Hollywood, he said “the culture is a lot different in Hollywood and there is no hierarchy per se but it is more about the role/job description of each individual on the team.”

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What happens towards the end of a shoot, how does an editor receive the scenes? To this, he said that actors have reference points and so do the VFX artists. “For example in the movie The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, we wanted to show an old man’s body and Brad Pitt’s face, so we shot two different portions of the same scene and Brad’s face was superimposed on it.” He went on to add that directing actors is also a fundamental requirement for VFX artists and said “In Mummy III, there is a scene where the demon is holding a sword, to make it more powerful, we made the hand holding the sword shake, which was the improvisation of the VFX artist.”

Sharing his thoughts on the current entertainment industry in India, which is growing at a rapid pace, he said, “These are certainly exciting times as the industry is evolving with new platforms for storytellers like Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality. Example: Mr Rajamouli embraced virtual reality on his last feature film Bahubali2 and you can check it out here http://baahubali.com/vr/

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Content vs Technology, your take on the right balance required to succeed?  To this, he said, “Working on various tent-pole Hollywood feature films I have learnt that story is paramount. Every Hollywood director that I worked with used technology as a tool to create visual experiences that stand out which I believe is striking the right balance.”

What is your favorite movie in terms of animation/VFX and in the ones that he has worked? For this, he shared, “I’ve spend almost two years of my life working on Tron Legacy which is no doubt my favorite feature film till date that I worked on.”

Sharing his thoughts about AISFM and its facilities, Phaneendra said, “I’m impressed with AISFM’s facilities during my tour and believe AISFM is second to none. AISFM is in good hands with Mr. Bala Raj steering the ship with his phenomenal Hollywood industry & academic experience. I hope students will leverage the AISFM’s facilities, resources and personnel.”

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His advice to aspiring professionals in this field, “Focusing on foundations and fundamentals will enable students to adapt to the ever evolving industry and help them be at the forefront at any given time. For example: Virtual Production never existed prior to feature films like Avatar and today it’s pretty much the standard and integral part of film-making process.”

Closing the master class, Phaneendra gave some words of advice, “Job opportunities in other areas like virtual reality and augmented reality are now there to connect to the consumers. If you are up to speed with these latest technologies, then you have more chances. There are lot of applications in diverse areas – like Apple X has IR tech etc. The gaming industry is also garnering a lot of interest, and training in these areas is a good idea.” He further added, “Networking and working hard is very important and of course there is no stopping to your learning curve.”

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AISFM launches Corporate Role Play workshops

AISFM_Fiirefly_38AISFM faculty Nitin Mane, MFA (USA) & Bala Rajasekharuni, MFA (USA), who is also the Dean conducted a workshop of Corporate Role Play at Firefly Creative Studios, Hyderabad.AISFM_Fiirefly_32Bala and Nitin blended various actor training methods to bring out the hidden talent of the team members, accommodating a variety of personalities and their own unique modes of expression. AISFM_Fiirefly_26Every creative exercise concluded with a briefing on how those techniques can be applicable effective tools for self development and team building in any setting, be it home or the work place. AISFM_Fiirefly_16Using humor as a medium to engage the group, the instructors walked the participants through a process of profound learning, yet, making it fun to spend their Saturday morning for. AISFM_Fiirefly_13The workshop is one of the recent initiatives of AISFM outreach programs, which has started with a summer intensive teaching methodology workshop in collaboration with Critical Education Academy, Los Angeles.AISFM_Fiirefly_8AISFM believes in creating an ongoing synergy between its in-house academic expertise and various societal settings in the outside world.AISFM_Fiirefly_18

Children explore AISFM & Annapurna Studios!

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AISFM has opened doors for outreach programs in a big way. Starting with the recent International Teacher Training Workshop for the local schools, Annapurna Studios & AISFM are playing an active role in the local culture & education system, bridging the gap between the society & film industry. AISFM & Annapurna Studios was vibrant with little voices and smiles of excitement as 40 children from across India visited their premises on a day-long trip.

AISFM took this initiative being an Academic Partner in the International Children’s Film Festival of India (ICFFI) 2017, organised by Children’s Film Society of India (CFSI) and the Telangana Government. As a partner of this film festival, popularly known as, ‘The Golden Elephant’, Annapurna International School of Film and Media (AISFM), hosted dinners for delegates, CFSI board meetings, and sent their experts as panel members to support the festival.

The cheerful little students came from various places, including Jammu & Kashmir, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Goa etc.

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Then it was time for a quick, short and crisp learning session for the students. Divided into two groups, one group learnt about the finer nuances of animation and the other group learnt the art of acting. The Animation Group had a small six-scene storyboard to follow, wherein the children created live models of each scene in the story with play dough which was then shot on a camera; when replayed was a mini-animation movie in itself! The Acting Group learnt what goes on behind the camera in acting and how to act and express oneself.

While all the children unanimously said that they loved the whole experience, they all wished to have a full fledged longer workshop.

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Mohd. Nadeem, a Grade 9 student from Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya, Kupwara, Jammu & Kashmir, who was attending the film festival and coming to Hyderabad for the first time, loved the ambience and said “the ambience, cleanliness, people and facilities are very nice and I loved the movies shown too.” J Abhilash, Grade 9 student from Government School, Narsampet said, “I want to learn acting and know more. This workshop was very nice and it will help me in concentrating too.” Aivya, Grade 8th student from Ryewood International School, Lonavala found the workshop very interactive and interesting and Kabir from Sharda Mandir, Goa felt that the workshop was an eye-opener into the field of film and media.

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G Venkateshwarlu, teacher from Government School, Narsampet, lauded the AISFM facilities and said, “The workshop was really nice and was a way of expression for the students; more such workshops should happen.” R Saraswati, teacher from ZPHS, Hayathnagar said “the children’s wish is not fulfilled in one day; they want to join it and want to come back for more.” Shweta Pardesai from Ryewood International School, Lonavala said “both the workshops were very good and they will really help the children in eye-hand coordination, concentration and in studies. What I really liked was that all the children in each workshop were given an opportunity to showcase their talent.” Veena Kumari, teacher from Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya, Kupwara, Jammu & Kashmir said, “It has been a great experience for the children to see the studios, campus and workshop and also the movies at the festival; and we would definitely want to come again.”

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Children need to understand the value of visual media and film and that it is a very powerful medium which should be included in all curriculums. This event was very helpful for the students to learn more and gave them great exposure and a concrete idea on how things work in the film industry, be it animation, lights, sounds, music etc., according to the need of the movie. These skills are something that the children can use in their classrooms too.

Annapurna Studios and AISFM are proud to be a part of the CFSI activities and glad to open its arms wide for the imaginative young audiences & future citizens of India.

AISFM Students Explore TV Production House

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Apart from classroom learning, enriching field trips contribute to the exposure of students to the real world and the industry.

Our MMBA 3rd Semester students visited TV 5 office, along with MMBA Faculty MNVVK Chaitanya recently and gained valuable insights. Summarizing the experience, faculty Chaitanya said, “The session started with orientation about the organisational structure (TV5 group), departmental functioning/affairs and their description, details about equipment (cameras and lighting setups, in addition to chroma keying, functioning of PCR and MCR, interface between marketing and editorial teams, interfaces between input and output desks, importance of select HR policies and procedures (related to TV production), comparison between national TV networks and regional TV networks, select programming/content strategies for USA markets and branding partnerships that TV5 had entered into. There was an entire tour of all departments across all floors, ending with a Q&A session/doubt clarifications.”

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Students cherished this visit to a working TV Production house and felt it was the important facets of their learning during the semester. Sanjeev Nair felt that it helped him internalize the theory taught to him so far in news production; Sanskrity Patra said she gained insights into the actual industry dynamics and increased her adaptability skills, to specifically tune to the industry requirements.

Chaitanya opined that this sort of an industry integration and industry interface opens up new vistas and horizons in the broader areas of curriculum development and academic readiness to launch new modules in news production/broadcasting, in addition to knowing the skill gaps from industry practitioners.

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Dinesh Akula, Editor, TV 5, and a visiting faculty to AISFM said that it was a positive and significant learning experience for students. Elaborating about the session he said, “TV production, broadcast rules and theory, audience meter and analytics related to BARC and ratings, how to produce news/TV programmes from scratch to going on air, media business and production business, industry career and in-depth analysis with students on what they have in mind and how can they be placed. We also took a studio tour learning how it all works online/offline from the conception of an idea to telecast.”

Mr. Akula also felt students of AISFM were enthusiastic, eager to learn and very articulate in expressing their thoughts, hence gained a lot of insights during this visit.

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Evade Subrahmanyam fame Nag Ashwin at AISFM

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One of his first short films headed straight to the Cannes, no less! Then his first directorial debut was not just a hit film but was also critically acclaimed. Nag Ashwin, young and upcoming writer/director, had an interactive session with our students.

In 2013 his short film titled Yaadon Ki Baraat was selected for the Cannes Short Film Corner.

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Before his directorial debut Yevade Subramanyam, Ashwin had worked on a few films as an assistant director including on Sekhar Kammula’s Leader and Life Is Beautiful.

He’s currently busy in pre-production of his pioneering bio pic Mahanati in Telugu/Tamil/Malayalam on the life of the late legendary southern actress Savitri.

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Talking about his journey in films, he spoke at length about the hard lessons he learnt shooting in the most unfavorable circumstances in Himalayas with absolutely no vehicles at their disposal. He had to keep the crew & cast morale amidst snow, subzero temperatures, and virtually no oxygen in some places. He shared with students that his passion & only passion for his story & characters could keep him going. Nothing else.

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Our Dean of Academics and Faculty, Direction & Screenwriting, Bala Rajasekharuni, addressing the students said, “Ashwin is a good role model to the upcoming filmmakers, since he’s from a film school and he stuck to his passion while choosing his film subjects. Evade Subramanyamis a classic example of how one can write from their heart and at the same time honor the commercial realities of the industry. A delicate balance, which Ashwin achieved with his debut, which is remarkable. This balance is what we try to teach at AISFM all the time.”

The art of ‘screening’ it right!

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Film post-production is not just about the editing, sound design, VFX and DI processes. It is the workflow at the end of the above processes that if got right, makes ‘all the’ difference for the screening of a film in the theatre; more than ever in today’s era of Digital Cinema where technology is evolving constantly!

Most student filmmakers are mainly fascinated with the selection of the cameras that they are shooting in, the audio-visual editing aesthetics and the color correction during the DI stage.

But what exactly happens AFTER DI and audio mixing?

Do the files come back to the editor?

Who is responsible for the final audio visual syncing and theatrical exhibition?

How do we ensure that the audience across the oceans see the uniform color and look that we strived for during the shoot and post processes?

How does it reach a theatre/multiple theatres across the globe at the same time?

How do the theatre calibrations affect the sound and visual delivery?

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For the benefit of the students, a Master Class was conducted by the AISFM Editing Department, where Kishore Reddy, General Manager, Marketing and Operations, Qube Cinema Technologies, held an interactive and engaging Master Class session titled – “Why Digital Cinema,” where all these questions and more were answered along with a historical perspective. Qube Cinema is a company that has vast experience in the production, post-production and exhibition industries. A subsidiary of India-based Real Image Media Technologies, Qube Cinema draws on decades of domain expertise in the media and entertainment space.

The specialised technical Master Class workshop was for the senior edit, cine, sound and MBA students and covered varied topics like Necessity of Digital Cinema and DCI, Process workflow of Digital Cinema (finishing and distribution stage), Pipeline from the DI post facility to the theatre screens, brief overview of the different stages, Colour and delivery standards/ parameters + Cross conversions, Standardisation, Prevalent data packaging formats (DCP, DCDM, etc.), Servers (QUBE, SCRABBLE, UFO, etc.), Understanding  different types of audio calibration in theatres (Dolby – 5.1/ 7.1/ Atmos/ Auro, etc.), Projectors, Digital Theatre Broadcast (transmission) and decryption, etc.

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Adherence to intense encryption methods/processes and regulations for data security was stressed, with case studies of film piracy.  Business models for producers and distributors were also discussed.

Students thoroughly enjoyed the Master Class and interacted with Mr. Kishore Reddy to learn more about the field of theatrical exhibition.  He also discussed about the DCP options available to the student filmmakers.

Veteran Editor Marthand Venkatesh @ AISFM

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Working with the best, interacting and learning from industry professionals in an important part of education at AISFM. Veteran Telugu film editor Marthand K. Venkatesh who has edited more than 400 feature films, conducted a Master Class for our students.

Life experiences and social awareness are his biggest teachers, which have sculpted his societal positioning and aesthetics in his edits across genres. A third generation filmmaker, he interacted with the students at length about the learnings of his editing career. More than 80% of his films have been extremely successful at the box office.

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He bagged prestigious Nandi Award as the best editor for films like Tholi Prema, Daddy, Pokiri and Arundhati. He shared his insights into the industry including his personal aesthetic conflicts as a filmmaker and the balance he attempts to strike in his editor-director relationships.

Making his expertise available to budding editors, enlightening them about common editorial concerns and sharing his trade secrets through advice was the crux of his Master Class. While all the students benefited greatly from his session, a few students have penned down their reflections about their learning experience. Read on to find out what our students have to say.

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Mahesh Gaddam, (4thYear, BFA, Editing + Direction Specialization)
“We learnt many important things during the workshop; like: Work flow – Editing the first cut of the film on the basis of just the visual intensity of the rusheswithout knowing the story or having the director guidance gives a fresh approach and visualization.

Repeated analysis of cut in silence (without sound) makes you understand the flaws in the edit. Each key character gets a different pattern according to their characterization, (where we discussed an example from the film Happy Days).

When the film is based on a specific character’s journey, the editor has to focus on that character and emphasis more on his arc. (Here we discussed the film Fidaa).

Edit suite is the “first auditorium” and the footage has to excite the editor.

Over usage of opticals (transitions) is spoiling the content in contemporary film making.”

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Chaitanya Khairkar, (2nd Year, MA, Editing + Direction Specialization)

“The best part about the masterclass was that he was vocal about his thoughts and gave us knowledge about how the real film industry works. He didn’t sugar-coat or mince his words, instead told us about the real commercial side of the film industry. He shared his knowledge about his motivation for cuts, the internal and external rhythm of the scene as well the characters.

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He spoke about the difference in his approach for different films, for e.g. His approach was different for Pokiri than that for Billa; Pokiri was rougher whereas Billa had a more stylish flavour to it. He also shared his thoughts about his recent release Fidaa, and explained how the first half of the film was different from the second half; how the cuts relate to the protagonists of the film, while the ‘Hero’ had smooth cuts, the ‘Heroine’ had abrupt and quick cuts to it and her character was more bubbly and lively, as lightning speed.

He explained his working pattern, where he mentioned that he does not take part in pre-production stage of the films; he avoids listening to the story of the film before the edit, and he does the first cut of the film all by himself not allowing the director to take part in it initially. He also gave tips for the freshers who are trying to get into the industry, and explained the job of an assistant editor.”

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Athul Prabhakaran, (4th Year, BFA, Editing + Direction Specialization)

“Mr Venkatesh believes if everyone does their job to work for the film’s best, then the film will obviously work, any sign for the addition of just aesthetics and not story is not what he encourages. When the edit is first received, he gets his assistants to set up scenes with the good and bad and then comes in to edit. He reviews this finally with the director of the film to completely achieve the perfection the film deserves, sometimes with a lot of healthy arguments and discussions and so forth. He says that the director may stop a personal style from coming in. But it’s never bad to try, only that the final word comes from a director who is confident. The other people who may influence your edit design may be the cast members or the producers who panic and jump to editorial decisions. This may be seen as working for individual characters but not for the entire story.

He thinks commercial action films do not require much intellectual thought into how they are set up. It’s always fast paced with structures that hit marks. Editing films by filmmakers like Shekar Kammula is what gets him going as he gets to explore characters through edits. In Happy Days he set up a style of edit for different characters. In Fidaa the lead character in the girl takes the films narrative pace.

We spoke about silences and how they are really important. As easy as action films are, if they don’t have any silences in them, they tend to get loud and this can be down played with comedic scenes or emotional sequences. Silences, he says should also guide in edits without music or sound designs; they will allow for places that show a lag.”

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Abhishek Khapre, (3rd Year, BFA, Editing + Direction Specialization)

“Mr. Marthand explained his own way of editing films. He talked about treating movies of different genres in different ways. For example, an action film is cut or paced a little faster than something like a “feel good” movie or a family film, which has slower cuts to help the audience absorb the emotions. This, he feels, is a difficult task. An editor should feel the pulse of such films and edit intuitively to bring out the required emotion.

Moreover, each character is also treated in different ways by Mr. Marthand to bring out their characteristics. He gave an example of keeping two frames of lag for the hero, two frames of lag for the heroine and maybe 4-5 frames of lag for the antagonist. This creates a difference each time the character is seen on screen. He also talked about using different transitions and optics for different characters, e.g. dissolve for some, speeding up the footage for some, and using straight “visible” cuts for others.

Lastly Mr. Marthand talked about knowing the demography the movie will cater too. This may change the editing pattern. If the movie has a famous cast, then the editing pattern may change for a commercial movie as it has to cater to a specific audience. If the cast is not that well-known then the editing pattern changes along with the expectation of the audience.

Overall Mr. Marthand held a productive session and gave an insight into the Telugu film industry and the job of an editor in the industry.”

AISFM Inaugural Session 2017, A Great Start!

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Bright smiles and eager faces of our new set of students said it all! The AISFM Inaugural Session of 2017 welcoming the students and their families into the AISFM fold, was celebrated at N Convention Hall.

The session started off with a flourish with a montage of all the nine Grad Films of our graduating batch which proudly showcased their learning, hard work and finesse!

The Chief Guest for the session was renowned film director Radha Krishna Jagarlamudi, popularly known as Krish, known for his Telugu hits like ‘Gamyam’, ‘Vedam’, ‘Gautamiputra Satakarni’ and Kangana Ranaut’s Hindi historical ‘Manikarnika’ which is under production. Lauding the students’ choice of school, he said, “all you students have chosen a very strong and good film school that has high level of expertise in cinema & backed by Annapurna Studios; no other school is better than AISFM.” Appreciating the grad films that he saw, he regretted that he did not have a chance like these students to learn at a film school. Reminiscing about a chat he had with our founder, the legendary Akkineni Nageshwara Rao, he said, “ANR garu had said that cinema is an amalgamation of multiple arts and crafts and the synthesis of all these elements form a beautiful art called cinema.” He recollected his journey of becoming a filmmaker and how he would sometimes wait outside Annapurna Studios to get a peek, and how later a long & hard determined journey brought him to the same studios as a working director on Manikarnika recently.  He encouraged AISFM students, “If I can do it, you can do it.”

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Krish then advised the students, “be passionate in doing whatever you do and absorb as much as you can from your classes. You have a great chance to learn and experience here in the live studios, be open minded and a team player. Hard work is more important than talent, and of course endurance.” He ended on a thoughtful note, “if we are failing to prepare, we are preparing to fail, so work really hard and be passionate.”

Renowned Hollywood business expert, author and President of FilmProfit, Jeffrey Hardy who is our Academic Advisor sent in his wishes for the students along with a message. He said, “I feel honoured, to be asked by the Dean, to be a part of the group that is advising particularly MMBA students. I think the business side of business is what I focus my life on and it is the business side of business is what makes everything run well. You can’t just think only about the creative side, you have to do good production, you have to have them well-managed, you have to do good distribution, you have to look for every opportunity in the market, you have manage it well, manage relationships with exhibitors and distributors and everyone else.”

Bob Brown, popular Hollywood Action Director, known for blockbusters like Transformers, Mission Impossible, Terminator, xXx , sent in his message too and said, “AISFM is a state-of-the-art international film school and is a great place to learn.”

Reputed Hollywood writer, Paul Guay who has penned titles like Jim Carrey’s Liar Liar, Little Rascals and Heartbreakers congratulated the new batch of AISFM for getting into the school. He said, “When Dean Bala Raj invited me to be an Academic Advisor for their Screenwriting program, I took time to study the school. I was impressed with all aspects of AISFM. I haven’t seen any film school that’s located on the studio lots like AISFM. You’re going to have a great learning experience and a fun ride.”

Iconic Indian director S.S. Rajamouli who created the prestigious grand epic ‘Bahubali,’ too sent in his words of advice and best wishes for the young and enthusiastic students and said, “absorb, learn, get exposed to life in the AISFM campus itself and work hard.”

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Our Honorary Director, Amala Akkineni, while officially inaugurating the new academic year 2017, shared her thoughts about how the school came into existence, “the legendary actor and AISFM Founder Akkineni Nageswara Rao would have been proud to see you all here, especially with our current students covering the event on video. It was his dream to start a school. He had said, ‘It is not enough to create a place of work but a place to train and educate is needed’ and that is how this school started. He didn’t go to any film school but he learnt by working hard as a trainee, as an apprentice. He felt that most Indian youngsters could not have access to international film & media schools, hence he started AISFM right in Hyderabad, with international standards.”

Her words of advice for the students were, “Take the plunge into learning, be passionate and become a learner for life. Don’t forget to play, have fun and enjoy. Nobody succeeds if you do not enjoy. Make friends and build a network and create wonderful work together. Your critics will push you forward, take criticism constructively and positively, learn from them and grow with them. Learn to observe, silence the judge in you and observe. You will learn every aspect of film and media here. Technology is changing every day, so create your own unique niche and remember you are special. I believe that we have the future ANR, Christopher Nolan and Rajamouli amongst the students’ right here.”

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Our Dean of Academics and Faculty, Direction & Screenwriting, Bala Rajasekharuni, addressing the students said, “Give your best in one area of your passion, then you will do good in other areas too. It is the time of meeting points of arts, education, commerce and technology. AISFM is a liberal arts school and its curriculum reflects the nature of the world today. The school is relevant to today’s times, because it has a unique structure of specializations, areas of passion and areas of technical expertise which is a craft for survival that gets ready jobs in the industry. Value interdisciplinary study in integrated phase of your degree, since today’s world is an integration of audio & visual media whether it is film, television, internet, or cell phones, all of them are at a meeting point, which demands multi-talented professionals.”

He further congratulated the parents who have allowed their children to pursue their passion and added, “To call ourselves an international school, it’s not enough to just have an international syllabus. AISFM is a true international school because; we have a global vision, and are building a strong international advisory board for all departments by the end of this year. Already three Hollywood experts are on board and many others are on their way in.”

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Padma Ramesh, Faculty, Liberal Arts & Business Communications, spoke of the importance of short and long term goals, positive attitude, creative thinking, teamwork, commitment and briefed them about the rules and regulations of the school and urged them to be good brand ambassadors of the school.

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Alumni Meher Kilaru and Preksha Trivedi spoke about their learnings at AISFM and how it made a difference in their lives. Meher, who is a student from the 1st batch, recollected his journey at the school and how Nagarjuna Akkineni called him to talk about marketing strategies for the movie Manam and how his words of advice of ‘Think big, what’s stopping you?’ still ring true to him in every aspect of life today. After working on Manam and Meelo Evaru Koteeswarudu, he is now working with Radio Mirchi 98.3; he advised the students to “never lose the fire within to pursue your passion, never stop educating yourself and never lose the ability to watch a film as a common audience.” Preksha echoed the same thoughts and said, “I joined AISFM because I love movies and I had an opportunity to learn, what followed were two years of brilliant learning experience. So do everything you can and keep learning.”

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The students were then addressed by our in-house counsellor Diana Monteiro, who spoke about parenting styles and how it is important for children to have hard experiences for a life education.

The event concluded with ice breaker group activities organized by Faculty Amit Prasad, Sai Gokul Ramnath and Dr. Vijaya Raghava with freshmen as the participants.  The impromptu skits were received by the crowd with laughs, cheers and applause.

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‘The White Fields’ Wins Best Editing Award

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A big, bright and happy day for us! A student grad film has won an award at an international film festival this year! The ​White Fields“, directed by Kartik Parmar and edited by Sai Murali won the Best Editing Award (Student) in the 6th Kolkata Shorts International Film Festival 2017.

The White Fields is a story about Madhav, a poor farmer who learns that his son needs urgent money to continue his education in the city. But the situation in their village turns out to be a big obstacle. The village head announces that the cotton harvest won’t be sold till next week because they have to stick the cotton harvest back to the plants to please a minister who is about to pass by their village in a few days.

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Madhav discusses with his wife and takes on the task to gather the money. Adding to his woes is his cow, which has run away further adding up to his tensions. He tries requesting a few people to lend him money, but fails. He ends up resorting to threatening one of his friends, which in turn makes his friend flee the village.

Madhav finally gives up. He feels humiliated when his son learns that his dad couldn’t pay on time. The next day is important. The fields are white again. The whole village awaits the noble minister. Madhav looks in disdain as the minister’s convoy passes by in a flash almost making all their effort seem insignificant.

The brilliantly crafted, shot and edited short film has already started creating ripples in the film circuit!

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‘Magic of Cinema’ Relived at Exhibit

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Moving Images, Annapurna Studios, Annapurna International School of Film and Media (AISFM) and Goethe-Zentrum Hyderabad proudly presented a Photography Exhibition, very aptly titled ‘Magic Of Cinema’ at Annapurna Studios.

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The Magic of Cinema was a novel exhibition of black and white and color photographs which juxtaposed photographs of old movie theatres, film studios and galleries of Hamburg against old cinema houses and film culture of Hyderabad. The German counterpart focused on pictures based on archival material from Film-und Fernsehmuseum Hamburg. Exhibition concept was by Rita Baukrowitz and Volker Reissmann with artistic creation by Hauke Hatzelhoffer. Hyderabad photographs were commissioned in 2014 by India Week, Kinemathek Hamburg and Goethe-Zentrum Hyderabad. Creatives and photography for this part were by the Hyderabad based photographer Prashant Manchikanti.

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The exhibition was inaugurated by the famous director Mohan Krishna Indraganti with Amala Akkineni, the guest of honour. Amala Akkineni reminisced about how magic was created literally on the very sets where the exhibition was being held. Recalling her Shiva days she said that most of the film was shot in the Annapurna studios and she had fond memories of those days. She recreated for the audience – some of whom were seeing a film studio for the first time in their lives — the whole process of ‘lights, camera, action’!

Mentioning how the studio and the film school (AISFM) was a dream of her late father-in-law, the legendary actor Dr. Akkineni Nageswara Rao, she said that technology had changed the face of the industry for the better.

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Mohan Krishna Indraganti, the well-known filmmaker was nostalgic when he spoke of the magic of single screen cinema halls. He was of the opinion that today’s nameless multiplexes have neither the charm nor the charisma of the old theatres. He spoke humorously of how the magic of cinema created a New York in Toronto! Viewing a film in a multiplex theatre was not the same as the audience was more likely to walk out 5-10 minutes before the film’s end so as not to get caught in the crowd or traffic. He often had to keep that thought in mind while writing his script he said jocularly. Prashant Manchikanti spoke about how and why he was inspired to take the pictures.

Padma Ramesh, Core faculty of Liberal Arts & Business Communications at AISFM, spoke about the old, cinema halls of Hyderabad which have all but disappeared giving way to multiplexes. She reminisced fondly about the ambience in those bygone days, the theatre goers and the whole culture of film watching which has now gone. She added, “I personally loved the B&W photographs of the old Hamburg theatres. I think it’s such a good idea to have an exhibition of this sort in the studio, as it was about cinema halls and the films that played there.”

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The 9-day cinematic extravaganza which was inaugurated by Amala Akkineni, was followed by the screening of Cinema Paradiso, a classic movie about a boy coming of age in WWII Italy who develops a lifelong love affair with movies, in Annapurna Studios. The exhibits will be on display from July 24th to 30th at Goethe-Zentrum.

Amita Desai, director, Goethe-Zentrum, Hyderabad said “We are excited to showcase the cinema culture of Hyderabad, the magic that is cinema, which has been with us since the 50s, is what we will discuss, deliberate and put forth for the next nine days.”

Namireddy Krupakar Reddy, Chief Operating Officer of AISFM, was also present on the occasion.

It was a stroll down memory lane that brought back fond memories for many in the audience. The event was very well received and the audience liked the display of photographs and for many it was indeed very nostalgic bringing back memories of a happy childhood outing or a teenage date!