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 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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Graduation Ceremony of FFM & Animation

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Our short courses are very popular for a reason; they are a practical way for working professionals in the media industry to upgrade their existing skills and knowledge, keep up with the ever-changing technologies and learn new talents that can help their professional development and growth. Another reason that makes them popular is that they help non-media professionals try out the world of media and pursue further by joining our degree program if they enjoy it.

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Another set of 30 students graduated on July 14th amidst much excitement at Mayabazar in our campus. The Graduation batches were people who joined our Fundamentals of Film Making and Advanced Diploma in 3D Animation & VFX course. The chief guests for the event were famous music composer, singer, actor and director R P Patnaik and well-known actor Ravi Prakash.

R.P. Patnaik while interacting with the students emphasised on the importance of the story, character design, music and background score in a film and shared some acting tips for the acting students who attended the session. He then also spoke about marketing strategies and how it can help a film, with the FFD students.

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Ravi Prakash stressed on the importance and benefits of studying in a film school and how it will make them better equipped to face the film industry. He also shared a few glimpses on how the present work atmosphere is in the industry.

Our Dean Bala Raj, CAA Dr. Raghava and FFD anchor faculty Dr. Kiron were also present at the event. Along with the graduating students the Fundamentals of Film Direction and Acting short course students also attended the ceremony to gain some valuable insights. The students then engaged in a lively interactive session with the chief guests and asked many questions, while learning and understanding the workings of the film industry.

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Our Fundamentals of Filmmaking course provides hands on training in professional filmmaking at an introductory level where students explore the complete process of digital film-making during the course period. The Advanced Diploma in 3D Animation and VFX course with an exclusive intake of just 13 students helps master the art and science of animation and visual effects in the one-year course.

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AISFM Film Fest Showcases Students’ Splendid Work

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It’s that time of the year again, when Annapurna International School of Film and Media (AISFM) is ready to proudly present to the world, the brilliant work of their graduating students. A festival of films in the truest sense of the word, the films were shown to an eager audience that comprised of celebrities, students, friends & families, at its preview theatre over a period of two days.

The two-day festival opened with the premiere of films made by graduating final year students of BFA, MA & MMBA degrees and the films dealt with nine diversely entertaining and thought provoking topics.

It was definitely a celebration time for all the students since it was the finale of their years of hard work. Behind the arduous and fascinating process of filmmaking were various phases like selection of stories by a faculty committee, meticulous screenwriting, production planning, shooting, post-production work with the support and guidance of their dedicated faculty.

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Films by Bachelors students included “The White Field” by Karthik Parmar, “Nitya” by Abhimanyu Kumar, “Maut ka Kuan” by Prithvi Chahal and “Understanding Moksha” by Sameer Kumar.

The films by Masters Students comprised of “Preme Madhuram” by Anil Kumar, “Bhetala” by Rohit Krishna, “Kadivalama” by Ananya Ayachit, “Talaari” by Degala Sai Akhil Yadav and “Chetak” by Gandhapuneni Nandan.

The festival was attended by industry luminaries Akkineni Nagarjuna, Founder of AISFM, Amala Akkineni, Hon. Director of AISFM, veteran actor Tanikella Bharani, famous director Indraganti Mohan Krishna, young heartthrob and actor Akhil Akkineni, well-known actors Srinivas Avasarala, Adivi Sesh, director Omkar, reputed writer Gopimohan, veteran writer and actor K.L. Prasad and Bala Rajasekharuni, Dean of AISFM.

AISFM Founder Akkineni Nagarjuna lauded the students’ efforts in making the brilliant short films and added how short films were now no less than feature films in terms of the expertise they need, and he added, people can look at options beyond Pune for film education today. “I am confident that the kind of talent that I have seen here today is no less than that of any film professional.”

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AISFM Director Amala Akkineni, congratulated the graduates and said the purpose of the festival was to create a premier environment for the students as a way of celebrating their achievements in filmmaking. “We all are very excited and eager to watch the wonderful films that will be premiered over two days by our talented graduating students. The purpose of this festival is to create a platform for the students as a way of celebrating their achievements in filmmaking. Such festivals not only recognise exceptional student work but also allow insightful feedback from the jury and variety of film professionals that enhance student skills,” she said.

Dean of AISFM, Bala Rajasekharuni, lauded the students’ efforts and said “Through this grad film festival our school is committed to linking films, filmmakers, audiences and the industry. AISFM Grad Film festival provides an opportunity for the talented filmmakers to share their work and engage with working industry professionals and gain valuable advice from the experts, which helps them shape their careers in the film industry”. He further added that apart from artistic merit, AISFM also equips the student filmmakers with the commercial realities of the industry and market expectations, in order for them to succeed in the industry.

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Veteran actor Tanikella Bharani said that in the past, “the only way to learn about the art of films was either through theatre or by watching old films. After FTII in Pune, this is the only other well established vibrant film school in the country.” He added that film schools now do the job that Telugu dramas did back then which is an opportunity to discover yourself. Eminent screen-writer K L Prasad added that he is now in a role of an educator but wished someone had educated him before he entered films. Akhil Akkineni praised the students’ work and stressed on the need of film education.

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Mohana Krishna Indraganti, an FTII product himself and Srinivas Avasarala emphasised on the importance and requirement for more film schools and the need to nurture right awareness before they enter feature films. Adivi Sesh recollected his Kshanam memories, a part of which was shot at AISFM premises and congratulated the students on their outstanding films.

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Things You Didn’t Know About The Minions!

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Minions, minions everywhere! The minions of Despicable Me have become so popular that it spawned its very own movie. You see them everywhere, all over social media feeds, T-shirts, toys, you name it!

Playing a lead role in the movies is Pierre Coffin, the director, who voiced all the hundreds of minions in the movie. There are so many minions serving Gru in the Despicable Me movies that it would be impossible to actually stop and count each individual one. But, if you had to, you would find out that there are actually 899 minions. This is just one of the facts packed into this article!

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Here are some interesting facts that you may not have known about Minions. We expose Gru’s mischievous, fun-loving, goggled little helpers and the secrets behind their creation. Read on to find out facts that you most likely never knew about Kevin, Bob, Stuart and the rest of their banana loving, overall-wearing crew.

  • What exactly is the ‘Minionese’ language? Well, it is actually a mash up of multiple languages and not just gibberish. Some languages featured are English, French, Spanish, Hebrew, Spanish, German, Filipino and Italian. Most o the words that they say actually are names of foods in different languages.
  • The minions developed their eclectic language because they are ‘supposed’ to be an ancient and prehistoric race that has served various masters from around the world for centuries.
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  • Some words in the minion language are taken from Bahasa Indonesia. For example, “kemari” and “terima kasih” mean “come here” and “thank you,”
  • A minion from one of the movie’s early trailers says, “C’est banana. Miam miam!” after picking up a banana. That’s French for “It’s a banana. Yummy!”
  • Kevin frequently uses the phrase “se pa la.” It’s also a Spanish expression that means “who knows.” The minions also say “gracias,” which means “thank you” in Spanish. Interestingly enough, the minions say “thank you” in multiple languages throughout the movie.
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  • A sign that says “Abbey Road” is a reference to The Beatles’ 1969 album, Abbey Road. The album’s artwork is also referenced when the minions walk across the street.
  • Sandra Bullock generally plays a nice role in her movies, but this is the first movie that she’s depicted as a villain. She is the voice of Scarlett Overkill.
  • The movie is set in 1968, or 42 years BG, which means “Before Gru.” What happened in 2010? The first Despicable Me was released, when the minions made their debut.
  • In order to sound a lot more accurately like how Mr. Perkins would normally sound, Will Arnett put on weight! Talk about dedication!
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  • In this scene from The Lorax, if you look closely, you’ll find a minion inside a junk drawer!
  • Did you know that the number Gru used to contact Lucy is actually a real phone number?
  • Look closely at Gru’s collection of paintings and you will see that there are a lot of famous paintings in his collection! These paintings were most likely obtained by stealing, back when he was still a bad guy. Some of the paintings in his house include The Mona Lisa and A Starry Night.
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  • The minions were supposed to be the same size as humans or even bigger, but due to budget issues, they had to scrap the idea and create smaller versions of what was planned. This turned out better for them as the little minions were a huge hit!
  • Sleepy Kittens story in the movie that Gru was forced to read for the kids as they go to sleep became very popular and the same book was turned into a real children’s story that was published around the world.
  • As seen is the first movie, Gru’s speed dial list had the names Dave and Stuart, two of his minion workers.
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  • Following the immense success and gigantic popularity of the two-eyed and one-eyed creatures, a spin off movie was made for the minions and the latest one Despicable Me 3 released in 2017.
  • The minions’ design was inspired by the Jawas from Star Wars and the Oompa Loompas from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
  • All the minions are male and have been given standard English-style names. Dave, Carl, Kevin, Steve, Phil, Jerry, Tim, Bob, Lance, Stuart and Norbert are just a handful of the ones that have been mentioned by name.
  • Stuart, Kevin and Bob, the three main minions featured in the new film, were designed to resemble the traits of Gru’s daughters, Edith, Margot and Agnes.
  • Purple equals bad, yellow equals good. Evil Minions are purple because purple and yellow are opposite to each other on the colour spectrum. Yes, here good and evil minions are literally exact opposites. Evil minions were inspired by old Looney Toons cartoons where Tweety Bird would drink a potion and turn into a monster.
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  • The minions were designed to have only five different hairstyle options, one of which is completely bald and every tall Minion has the same sprouty hairdo.
  • The directors originally had created minions to help make Gru more likeable for audiences and surround him with childishness and incompetence.
  • Minions only have three fingers packed into those little black gloves.
  • Despite several hundred minions existing, there are only about 48 possible design combinations of height, build, hair, and eyes of the minions.
  • Unlike most evil masterminds, Gru genuinely likes the minions, shows appreciation for their work and somehow knows every one by name.

Things you didn’t know about Bahubali!

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Bahubali, a movie that has created and rewritten history in the annals of Indian cinema and how! The most awaited film, SS Rajamouli’s magnum opus Bahubali: The Conclusion surely kept its word as the biggest film made on Indian celluloid and the massive, stupendous and record-breaking response it received on its opening weekend is more than valid proof enough. It has strengthened its hold at the box office like never before and cooked up a storm, witnessing a mad rush at the ticket counters with numbers reaching new heights by the day.

Did you know that the magnum opus, entered the Rs 100 crore club on its release day and no other Indian film has ever entered the Rs 100-crore club on its opening day. It was also the widest ever worldwide release in close to 9000 screens, no less! Want to know more about the epic movie, then read on to find out about the things you didn’t know about Bahubali!

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  • Bahubali: The Beginning and the sequel Bahubali 2: The Conclusion together are the most expensive Indian movies ever made, with an approximate budget of nearly 450 crore.
  • Out of 100 years of Indian cinema Bahubali is the only movie to be featured in a BBC documentary. And The Rise of Sivagamiis one of the books of Bahubali fiction trilogy.
  • More than 800+ technicians, including the special effects team of Jurassic world, were hired for the making of the movie. Bahubali involved a lot of complex computer-generated imagery (CGI) and VFX shots which comprise almost 90% of the movie, that is about 4,500-5,000 VFX shots in 3 hours!
  • Prabhas worked with his local trainer to build his body. He visited the US and interacted with WWE wrestlers to understand their training regimen. He was so impressed with the infrastructure that he got the equipment, costing INR 1.5 crore, and built a personal gym imitating the set-up of the WWE wrestlers.
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  • Prabhas would work out for 6 hours daily and start training early in the morning. His regime would start with about one-and-a-half hours of cardio, with focus on muscle building. In the evenings, to strengthen his body muscles, he would lift weights for about one-and-a-half hours.
  • Prabhas gained a whopping 20 kilos for his part as Amarendra Bahubali and his diet consisted of fish, egg whites (40 half boiled eggs and egg whites), vegetables and almonds. The actor would eat a meal every two hours, and had a total of six meals every day, which did not include rice. The total calorie intake of Prabhas while shooting for Bahubali was between 2000 to 4000 calories a day!
  • Prabhas did not sign a single movie for the past three years so that he could focus on Bahubali and sink into the feel of it.
  • It is the only Indian movie to be made in 4D and many of the movie halls had to adjust their projectors just to show this movie on their screens.
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  • This is the first Indian war movie which has stood in the category of Hollywood war movies such as Troyand 300.
  • This is the first time any regional movie is getting outstanding applause in the world market.
  • The movie took more than three years to get completed and the pre-production and scripting took one year, while the live action shooting took two years. Post production took more than six months.
  • The production crew consisted of 25 National Award Winning artists and technicians.
  • About 20,000 weapons were designed and used in the entire move and it had 50,000+ VFX shots spanning both the parts.
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  • 110 acres of space was reserved at Ramoji Film City for the shooting of the war scene.
  • Bahubali: The Beginning is the biggest VFX film in Indian film history with around nearly 90% of the final output achieved through various visual effects techniques such as rotoscoping, chroma removal, wire removal, 2D and 3D tracking, matchmoving, color correction, live action shooting and CG (3D Computer Graphics) integration, matte painting, camera projections and compositing.
  • Around 2000 junior artists were in live action shooting.
  • A total of 17 VFX studios and 600+ 3D animation and visual effects artists worked to finish the post production of the movie.
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  • Bahubali poster entered into Guinness Book of World Records and Limca Book of World Records – the production team held an event in Kerala where they revealed a movie poster measuring 51,968 sq ft and gained entry as the biggest poster of motion picture in both the books.
  • Another record set; SS Rajamouli tweeted on March 17: “50 million cumulative views of our trailer, across all languages, on YT & FB. The most viewed Indian movie trailer in 24hours. #BB2Storm”.
  • The climax of Bahubali: The Conclusion was shot with a whopping budget of Rs. 30 crore, which was almost double the budget of the climax shot of its prequel Bahubali: The Beginning.
  • The waterfall scene in Bahubali – The Beginning that took almost one-third of the total shooting time of the entire film.
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  • To get their bodies fit for the role they were playing Prabhas and Rana Daggubati were on a strict fitness regime, including diet and workout. They were even trained in martial arts by Vietnamese trainer Tuan. Both actors gained over 30 kilos to get into the skin of their characters.
  • Reportedly, director SS Rajamouli plans to make Bahubali 3.
  • It is said that Rajamouli took about more than 100 days to get the waterfall shot right. Being the most important scene in the movie, the team shot the sequence at three different waterfall locations to give it a grand effect.
  • A new language named ‘KILIKI’ was invented for the terrifying Kalakeya tribe in the movie. A completely new language was developed, with 750 words and 40 grammar rules!
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  • It will be the first Indian movie to have its own museum. The museum being made will house all the weapons, armours and costumes that the actors sport in the film.
  • ‘Bahubali’ has surpassed ‘300’ in IMDB ratings and is ranked at 9.4 out of 10.
  • A leading ticket-booking website revealed that they sold one Bahubali ticket every 12 seconds, breaking records there too!

Oscars Nominations for 2017

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Come January and the entire entertainment fraternity, of course with fans included, around the world eagerly await the Academy Awards. Interest levels are high and it reaches a crescendo up to its telecast in February, when millions of movie lovers worldwide tune in to watch the glamorous ceremony.

Considered the highest form of recognition, The Academy Awards or ‘Oscars’, recognizes excellence in cinematic achievements. Did you know that the awards ceremony was first broadcast to radio in 1930 and televised for the first time in 1953 making it the oldest entertainment awards ceremony in the world.

The much-awaited and coveted list of nominees for the Oscars 2017 is finally out! La La Land is the leading contender for the 89th Academy Awards with a record-equalling 14 nominations. This includes nominations in each of the big four categories: Best Picture, Best Director for Damian Chazelle, Best Actress for Emma Stone and Best Actor for Ryan Gosling. Only All About Eve and Titanic have been nominated as many times in the past.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony in Los Angeles on February 22. Check out the list of nominations in the popular categories below. Who do you think will win?

Best Picture

Arrival
Fences
Hacksaw Ridge
Hell Or High Water
Hidden Figures
La La Land
Lion
Manchester By The Sea
Moonlight

Best Director

Denis Villenueve – Arrival
Barry Jenkins – Moonlight
Damian Chazelle – La La Land
Mel Gibson – Hacksaw Ridge
Kenneth Lonegan – Manchester By The Sea

Best Actor

Casey Affleck – Manchester By The Sea
Andrew Garfield – Hacksaw Ridge
Ryan Gosling – La La Land
Viggo Mortensen – Captain Fantastic
Denzel Washington – Fences

Best Actress

Isabelle Huppert – Elle
Ruth Negga – Loving
Natalie Portman – Jackie
Emma Stone – La La Land
Meryl Streep – Florence Foster Jenkins

Best Supporting Actor  

Mahershala Ali – Moonlight
Jeff Bridges – Hell Or High Water
Lucas Hedges – Manchester By The Sea
Dev Patel – Lion
Michael Shannon – Nocturnal Animals

Best Supporting Actress

Viola Davis – Fences
Naomie Harris – Moonlight
Nicole Kidman – Lion
Octavia Spencer – Hidden Figures
Michelle Williams – Manchester By The Sea

Original Screenplay

Hell Or High Water
La La Land
The Lobster
Manchester By The Sea
20th Century Women

Original Score

Jackie
La La Land
Lion
Moonlight
Passengers

Animated Feature

Kubo
Moana
My Life As A Zucchini
The Red Turtle
Zootopia

Best Foreign Language Film

Land Of Mine
A Man Called Ove
The Salesman
Tanna
Toni Erdmann

“The Fall Guy”, Bob Brown visits AISFM

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Bob Brown was at the AISFM Campus addressing the students and sharing his experiences about the time he was working as a stunt man and later a stunt coordinator in a numerous set of Hollywood projects, including both film and television. Bob is also a World Champion professional high diver.

A stunt coordinator is usually an experienced stunt performer hired by a TV, film or theatre director or production company for stunt casting (i.e.) to arrange the casting (stunt players and stunt doubles) and performance of stunts for a film, TV or a live audience. He has been nicknamed “The Fall Guy” as he is known for his high falling stunts.

With a vast number of films, from 1985 to 2017, Bob is one of the most experienced professionals in the business having an experience of over 30 years. He has had a successful transition from being a stuntman, to a stunt coordinator to a second unit director and then a director/producer of his first feature film called “Urban Games”, but he enjoys doing stunts the most.

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Bob started off with an introduction about his field of work and engaged in a Q/A session with the students, speaking about his process as a stunt coordinator, while having different experiences on different films. As he has been in the industry for quite a bit, he follows his set of methods and techniques to get the output required by the director.

Filmmaking being a collaborative process, Bob and his team play a vital part in the sequencing of stunts, ensuring the actor’s safety and delivering the product as per the vision of the director. On the job, he ensures enough rehearsals are done to make the shot seem realistic.

Bob has constantly been experiementing on the move, travelling to different parts of the world and contributing to the process of filmmaking, in a global way. As the job requires a passion for the risk and threat, Bob was always, from his childhood interested in watching action movies and found the movies really fascinating.

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He draws his inspiration for stunt ideas and moves from Jackie Chan. Inspired by video games, playing them gives him a lot of ideas on thinking of a new stunt. With a technical point of view, he does prefer long takes and is also a fan of a scene with multiple cuts, if executed perfectly. As he is also well versed with editing, he endures the added advantage of knowing what he wants, right in his head.

He also spoke about the other side of the industry where a few stunt coordinators can offer a lot but with the risk of safety. Bob has the right mindset for choreographing stunts realistically and safely with the use of the “right” equipment. He also spoke about VFX and it’s relevance in the idea of any stunt. He feels the need of a healthy working relationship with the DoP and the director to be very essential for creating something great on screen.

Sets of videos of his sequences were shown to the students throughout the interaction. You could see the versatility, in his body of work as each sequence had an extra edge to it; from integrating an animal in an action sequence, or blowing up cars, or the kick-punch sequences with an accurate sense of choreography. Speaking about the difference in TV and film, he says, “After a TV sequence, I don’t get that feeling of ‘Oh! I did it!’” He enjoys doing film sequences better as the scale of it is much larger in size, he said.

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Bob believes a stunt is as good as the preparation put behind it. He is also a fan of shooting on film over digital as film is richer and has more texture. Emphasizing on the rehearsals is a key to his success as a coordinator, he said. He was also a stunt double for Jim Carrey and encourages the idea of safety and professionalism.

Talking about his journey on how it was when he started out he shared instances where he donating blood from time to time for a few dollars. With 150$ in his pocket and the willingness to go behind his dream he moved his way up slowly and steadily getting noticed by all the studio heads. His recent body of work includes movies like XXX: The Return of Xander Cage, Pixels, San Andreas, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Lone Ranger, Modern Family, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief and many more.

The students were very interactive and discussed many topics with him and had a witty exchange of opinions. As Bob started out with having no film background and made his way up with sheer passion, he says, “Education always prepares you for what you are up against. It’s great that students can get an education in Film and Media prior to their work, as it makes them ready for it. Like being on a set, and knowing the functionality of it.”

Lights, Camera, Stunts!!!

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Bahubali is a movie that caught the nation’s attention like never before and people all over are awaiting the concluding part of this epic movie that has been narrated through spectacular visuals and amazing special effects. Bahubali, with its epic dimensions in nearly every aspect of filmmaking has been lauded for its exceptional stunts and special effects and its grandeur of scale especially in its stunts and battle sequences are truly spectacular.

Stunt coordinator of this blockbuster film King Solomon Raju visited AISFM for a stunt and action workshop for Bachelors and Masters students who will be graduating next semester. The outdoor shoot with our students was conducted on our campus by the man himself. Students got a hands-on experience on how stunts are supposed to be acted out and shot.

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Speaking to us during a break in the workshop, Solomon said about youngsters nowadays joining film schools to learn the finer nuances of various aspects of film-making, “It is imperative that today’s generation gets the right training and for that learning in a film school is very important. Just like how you cannot go from Grade 1 to Grade 10 in school, here you cannot just join the film industry and become known. By learning in a film school, they always have an added advantage. More and more people are joining the film industry now than earlier and it is a great thing.”

Talking about his favourite movie Bahubali, he said that it is one of the best things that has happened to him and rates the stunts and the movie as the best. When we are talking about the iconic movie how can we not ask the proverbial question on everyone’s lips, ‘Why did Kattappa kill Bahubali?’ To this, he smiled and said, “Even, I don’t know!” “Stunts have come a long way from the initial days of the film industry and have improved greatly. With the aid of computer graphics, various stunts can be tried in films,” he said and added that Bahubali has raised the standards for stunts too.

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Before getting back to the workshop, he left a word of advice for the youngsters who want to pursue film-making, “Follow your dream, work hard with passion and don’t give up.”

One of the AISFM students’ who attended the workshop, shared her thoughts on it. Isha Thota, said “The stunt workshop was quite an interesting experience. It made me aware of the intricacies that went in to the production of a “professional” stunt scene and also the need of a stunt coordinator even for low budget films. We learnt about other aspects we may use in a film that we may not have previously thought would need a coordinator for i.e. something as small and insignificant as a scene where a character falls onto the floor is in need of an awareness, about stunts.”

“One main aspect that was spoken about, that is of grave importance is that of safety. Mr. Solomon and his team were very prudent, and took various safety measures with the use of body harnesses and crash mats. We were also informed about the importance of using our own safety equipment in order to ensure that the quality has not deteriorated or any problems that come with wear and tear come up during a shoot. Apart from the basic need for safety, the film production and insurance is also at a risk if appropriate steps are not taken.”

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“We were also made aware of the steps taken in the production of a stunt sequence, from interacting with the director who informs the coordinator of the mood of the scene and the events leading up to the stunt sequence, and of course the setting and to the actual rehearsal of the stunt  sequence itself. During the shoot Mr. Solomon also did a mock pre vis using a camera phone to check different angles, after which the sequence was practiced, safety measures were taken and then we were onto actual production. We were told about various different “cheat” angles and movements we can use so as to insure actual impact isn’t needed, especially since we were shooting without VFX.”

“The day long shot was very engaging, the students were quite involved often doing the camera work themselves and the workshop was a educational first step to a more in-depth awareness of what goes on during a stunt sequence.”

Old-school films with the best cinematography!

Old-school films with the best cinematography!

What makes a cinematographer’s work perfect? The lighting, the framing of a shot or the movement of a camera? Is it simply one person’s work or an effort of a group of people? In an attempt to find some kind of common thread among the films that most consider “great” in terms of cinematography, Fandor’s Scout Tafoya personally polled over 60 film critics, asking them to list out films that “feature their version of ideal or perfect photography.” This is the result: 6 films that received the most votes.

  1. Days of Heaven (1978)

Old-school films with the best cinematography!

This film gave us the iconic dialogue, “You’ve got to go through Hell before you get to Heaven” amongst many other things. This romantic drama film is set in 1916 and talks about a farm labourer who convinces the woman he loves to marry their rich but dying boss so that they can have a claim to his fortune. The film was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.”

  1. Barry Lynden (1975)

Old-school films with the best cinematography!

Barry Lyndon follows the adventures of an opportunistic Irish nitwit, Redmond Barry (Ryan O’Neal), as he clambers inelegantly up the social ladder in search of a title and a fortune. At the 1975 Academy Awards, the film won four Oscars in production categories. Although having had a modest commercial success and a mixed reception from critics on release, Barry Lyndon is today regarded as one of Kubrick’s finest films. In numerous polls, it has been named one of the greatest films ever made.

  1. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Old-school films with the best cinematography!

2001: A Space Odyssey

“The genius is not in how much Stanley Kubrick does in ‘2001: A Space Odyssey,’ but in how little”, says critic Roger Ebert. Despite initially receiving mixed reactions from critics and audiences, the film garnered a cult following and slowly became the highest-grossing North American film of 1968. Even today, it is regarded as of the most influential films to have been made. The film has also been selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.

  1. Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927)

Old-school films with the best cinematography!

The twist is supposed to arrive at the end of the movie, but Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans pulls the rug from under our feet much sooner than that. What’s commendable is the fact that this silent film was the 1st ever film to have won an Academy Award for ‘Unique and Artistic Picture’. In this fable-morality subtitled ‘A Song of Two Humans’, the ‘evil’ temptress is a city woman who bewitches farmer, Anses and tries to convince him to murder his neglected wife, Indre.

  1. The Conformist (1970)

Old-school films with the best cinematography!

Bertolucci makes use of the 1930s art and decor associated with the Fascist era: the middle-class drawing rooms and the huge halls of the ruling elite in his political drama The Conformist. Vincent Canby, film critic for The New York Times, liked Bertolucci’s screenplay and his directorial effort. Not only this, but the review generator at ‘Rotten Tomatoes’ gave this film a 100 percent positive review.

  1. Night of the Hunter (1955)

Old-school films with the best cinematography!

Based on the 1953 novel of the same name by Davis Grubb, Night of the Hunter was adapted for the screen by James Agee and Laughton under film noir. The story focuses on a corrupt reverend-turned-serial killer who attempts to charm an unsuspecting widow and steal $10,000 hidden by her executed husband. Much like most of the films on this list, this film too was not a success with either audiences or critics at its initial release.