Khwaish’s dream coming true!

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Khwaish, a short film about ‘a man chasing his dreams’, has been nominated for film fests this year across the country. Khwaish has been nominated for Manhattan Short India contest, Navi Mumbai International Film Festival, Slaman Farsi Film Festival, Tehran, Iran, Jagran Film Festival and All Lights India International Film Festival.

Khwaish is set in 2002 when India played against England for the title of the Natwest Trophy and is the story of Karim Khan, a small town guy from a village named Kashti. Karim unlike other small town guys is very different and still hopes of achieving his dreams at any cost. Karim being a big fan of cricket desires to go to Lords to watch the match. ‘Will Karim make it to Lords? Can Karim achieve his goal ever?’, is the rest of the story.

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Strangely similar to the storyline of the short film that shows how destiny plays a role, is the real life story of the writer-director of this short film and how destiny brought him to AISFM and how Khwaish was no more a dream, but a dream fulfilled!

Pushkar Vishwasrao, the man behind it all, the writer and director and MA 2016 student of AISFM, writes about the short film, how it came into existence and how it became his graduation film project. Here it is in his own words!

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“This was not just another short film for me. It was my graduation project and it was also my passport to get into the industry. So I had to think of the story which was very different from what my colleagues were making, so that I could stand out from it. Being from a cricket background there is always a special place for this game. The story of this film revolves around an old man who is a big cricket fan and wants to go to Lords to watch India’s cricket match. This story didn’t strike me overnight.

Frankly speaking this was the dream of my uncle, who is a 70-year-old neighbor and is a big fan of cricket. He always discussed cricket with me because he saw me playing professional cricket since my childhood. So one day when I was thinking about the project and what story I should work on, this story idea came up. This was very close to my heart and I thought of working on this story.  

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Even though I had made short film,s before I was a bit nervous before going for the shoot. This was our Graduation Project and our future depended on this. This film gave me and my team a lot of confidence and it also showed us where we stand after two years of studying filmmaking at Annapurna International School of Film and Media.

We faced a major hiccup when on the first day of the shoot in the early morning at 5:00am we came to know that our actor who was coming from Bombay has been hospitalized due to some medical issue. We had been given only five days for the shoot and the first day was cancelled due to this problem.

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Now we had only four days in hand and we needed an actor who could speak Marathi, as my script was in Marathi. Finally our Acting Faculty Yashraj Jadhav agreed to do it as he is a Maharashtrian, but on one condition that he should be left by 4:00pm as he had acting classes. We agreed to it and started shooting the next day and by God’s grace we completed the shoot in four days time.”

Pushkar had worked as an Assistant Director on ad films in Mumbai and also as a freelance casting director on ad films for a couple of years in the industry. And it was while working with his seniors in college that he was swept away by this art form. Says he, “I too wanted to be a part of this form and tell some stories about human emotions, that people can relate to and empathise with. Hence while chasing my dream, my destiny got me here to AISFM and today I am doing my graduation film which follows the theme of “Chasing Dreams”. Being a student of AISFM I was exposed to how the industry works. We also got an opportunity to meet stalwarts from the film Industry and their inputs have really helped us and are still working as we consider what each person has said and how different their point-of-view is from ours.”  “I’m currently working on a screenplay for a Marathi feature. Let’s hope for the best and I hope it will reach the public very soon,” he signs off.

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Grad Film Fest 2016 photo for keepsake! The crew of Khwaish with Chief Guests for the evening;
(Standing L-R):
Swaroop Naini, Pranav Ramani, Nidhi Doshi, Sudeep Patil, Pushkar Vishwasrao, Rachna Deshpande, Akhil D Manu, Mustafa Yusuf.
(Seated L-R): Dean of AISFM Mr. Bala Raj, famous actor Mr. Sumanth, young star Mr. Akhil Akkineni, famous actress Ms. Lakshmi Manchu, popular story writer Mr. Gopi Mohan and well-known director Mr. Kalyan Krishna.

Welcoming a new batch at AISFM

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A new dawn, a new beginning, a new set of enthusiastic students ready to learn and grow here at AISFM. The AISFM Students Orientation 2016 was held at N Convention, Madhapur. AISFM Director Amala Akkineni gave the inaugural address and urged students to work hard and realize their dreams. Mr. Shobu Yarlagadda, film producer and the co-founder and CEO of Arka Mediaworks, a film production company known for its works exclusively in Telugu cinema, was the Guest of Honor. Mr. Jayesh Ranjan, Secretary, Information Technology, Electronics & Communications Department, Government of Telangana, was the Chief Guest.

Welcoming the students into the folds of AISFM, Amala quoted our former President of India and renowned scientist ‘You have to dream before your dreams can come true’, and said “each one of you today have had a dream and you have taken a step towards that dream. And here at AISFM we have only one objective, to help your dreams come true, whether it is becoming the next generation screen writer, sound designer, editor, cinematographer or any revolutionary new age professional in film and media. We are here to support you. ”

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Talking about how difficult it was earlier to get an entry in the film industry she said that it was either a privileged individual or a person who joined as an apprentice and spent decades learning about the profession on the job; later on these courses were available aboard and only those who could afford could have access. “Our founder Late. Akkineni Nageswara Rao brought together Annapurna Studios and Film and Media Education Society to start AISFM with a mission to be a global leader in media education, because he understood and recognized the need for this education,” said she sharing thoughts on how AISFM came into being and added, “Driven by collaborations with world-wide studios and an increasing global audience, there is no better time than now to be a part of this industry.”

AISFM Dean Bala Rajasekharuni said that traditionally a school is supposed to be a place of learning and realizing and pursuing your dreams, but the conventional education system, knowingly or unknowingly has done the opposite. There are passionate teachers and passionate students but there has not been until recently a platform to share the passionate subjects in school. “Your generation is blessed with a major shift in the educational world, that arts and media have occupied the center stage. Make a promise to them and you, that you will do beyond your best and realize the value of your foster parents, your teachers, here who will equally care for you and listen to them, so that all of us can facilitate a fantastic learning experience for you and you will go out and make AISFM proud.”

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Shobu Yarlagadda, who has produced the path-breaking and brilliant movie Bahubali: The Beginning, which recorded the highest grossing Indian film within India, addressed the students and shared his thoughts on how important it is to give your best always. “You are definitely at the right place and at the right time. Everything is changing rapidly including the way we produce films. There are a lot of opportunities, a lot of possibilities being thrown up for all of you to express your creativity and find your place in this film and media world. I say you are at the right place because you have come to the this institute where I see that there is very committed management, experienced faculty and the unique thing is that is, that it is connected to one of the big studios in the country, which means that you will get a lot of exposure to practical work which will prepare you well for real-life scenarios,” he said. He added, “Nothing comes easy, you have to give it your best shot, that’s when you walk out a winner. Wish you success and make this institute proud.”

Jayesh Ranjan too echoed the same thoughts about students been at the right place and said, “You are very very lucky in some ways. There are millions of young people in the country today who have been denied such opportunities. The opportunity to reach this level of education, the opportunity to come to a world-class institution, to interact with the best in the profession is an opportunity that very few people get. So, let us use this opportunity to not just enrich your own self by learning new things, by excelling in your craft; but at this time in your life itself, start thinking of how you can contribute back to the society.”

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Later alumnae of AISFM, Keerthika Rajaram, HR Manager, Firefly Creative Studios and Sasindhar Pushpalingam, who are realizing their dreams in their chosen fields shared their learning and how AISFM helped them get closer to their dream.

The orientation session continued with an ice-breaking session for the new students who had a good time getting to know each other, thanks to the activities. Parents of the students then interacted with the faculty and got to know about the school.

See the photos of the day here: http://bit.ly/29FGQKE

Watch the complete video of the interesting session right here:

Words of wisdom from the Panda!

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Words can inspire and words can destroy. Words; innocent and daring at the same time, can become good or bad in the hands of those who know how to combine them well. Quotes are those that can inspire you and motivate you, like no other, at times of despair and frustration.

In the recent past, Kung Fu Panda 3 was one movie that really touched the chord with many for its beautiful and inspiring quotes. The Dragon Warrior is as popular in this part of the world as he is in the West. While the previous movies concentrated on ‘Po’ discovering himself as a warrior, the latest one was about him reunited with his Panda family and how he has to become a mentor and channel his inner ‘chi’ to save the world.

We selected a few of the movie’s inspiring quotes for you to read on a day where you need some inspiration.

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Every one faces a difficult time at least once in their lives. It’s important to be good at what you do and be willing to do new and different things in life. Expand your capabilities by becoming a mentor.

 

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There is no such thing as a good time or a bad time to make the right action. The only time is now, so act on time and save yourself the ache later.

 

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Practice makes a person perfect. Be ready for improvement and for adopting and changing your way of thinking when you face a challenge. Only then will you be ready to change, improve and grow.

 

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Be your own unique self and trust your individuality. Be the best version of you rather than imitate someone. It’s good to get inspired but work towards being the best of you. Your uniqueness is what will make you stand apart.

 

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You are the one you can rely on and trust. Keep faith in yourself and be yourself. Be confident and stop following the herd and keep yourself motivated. Remember, there’s nobody else in the world like you, so take pride in being different.

 

Some more quotes from the movies, for you to think and ponder!

“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift… that’s why they call it present” ― Master Oogway

“Your story may not have such a happy beginning but that does not make you who you are, it is the rest of it, who you choose to be” ― Soothsayer from Kung Fu Panda 2

“There are no coincidences in this world.” ― Turtle in Kung Fu Panda

“Oogway: There are no accidents.
Shifu: [sighs] Yes, I know. You’ve already said that twice.
Oogway: That was no accident either.
Shifu: Thrice.”

“We do not wash our pits in the pool of sacred tears” ― Shifu

“There is no secret ingredient” ― Mr Ping, Po’s father

“You must let go of the illusion of control…” ― The Turtle

“You must believe!” ― The Turtle

“Legend tells of a legendary warrior whose kung fu skills were the stuff of legend.” ― Kung Fu Panda.

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Did you know?

  • Did you know that Kung Fu Panda 3, was inspired by a real village and real pandas in China? Actually, this village was inspired by Mount Qingcheng, located about 70 km northwest of ‘the hometown of real pandas’, Chengdu.
  • Qingcheng is also one of the ancient cradles of Taoism in China. The mountain is lauded as ‘the most peaceful and secluded mountain under heaven’ and was added to the UNESCO World HeritageList in 2000.
  • Before the filming started, the film crew travelled to Chengdu many times to meet the baby pandas in Giant Panda Breeding and Research Base and collect material.
  • “You cannot help linking Mt. Qingcheng with the Panda Village in the movie, when you see the beautiful scenery of the mountain,” said director, Jennifer Yuh Nelson.
  • Tourists have an option to see these features of the movie’s culture in reality at Chengduand follow in Po’s footsteps to explore the beautiful area and get close to the delightful pandas.
  • There are popular Kung Fu Panda tours for inspiration including Panda tour to original sceneries of Po’s hometown, Chengdu historic tour with Mount Qingcheng and Giant Pandas, Yangtze River and Golden Triangle Tour!

Wow! That was one inspiring movie, in more ways than one!

New-age career options

New generation, new choices, new gadgets, new learnings and new career options. What was amiss until a decade ago or what didn’t even exist until recently is now the latest and newest career options for this generation’s young and charged individuals who are gung-ho about anything that catches their attention.

Something that has changed the world drastically was the internet and now is the social media; adding a whole new world of possibilities and jobs. These modern jobs have now spread and become a part of the upcoming trend in the job market. What’s more, these top-tier careers offer great salaries, low stress and great job growth!

Here is a mix of some of the newest, popular and trending career options; the world has to offer, right now.

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App developers
Who doesn’t own a smart phone nowadays, forget the regular one? Everyone! Considering the surge, mobile revolution is huge and the wave of app development with innovative and creative ideas is on the rise. App development companies now exist within the country and so do talented and quality app developers, churning out the newest of ideas, oops app!

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Web creative writers
This is one profession that has the highest potential to reach the highest exposure and wider audience. The best part, it need not be within the confines of an office. There are people who work from home for this, people who freelance and people who regularly go to work, for putting their wordsmith skills to the task. All one needs to do is write well and the world is but a virtual one here!

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Wedding photographers
Weddings have, are and always will be the most extravagant, eye-catching and memorable affair in the country. Gone are the days, when the guests wished the couple and stared blankly into oblivion while the photographer stoically took the photos. It’s now the age of candid wedding photography, theme wedding photography; you name it and you have it.

Reviewers
You have an opinion, you share it and get paid for it. Many companies, especially the online ones, pay people to review restaurants, hotels, gadgets and other things. Because it makes a difference in their online rating and because people like to check the reviews of anything before they buy, eat or indulge themselves. 

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Social media handlers
The virtual arena of the internet is yours as much as you can take and social media has the biggest and brightest chunk of it all. The most trending, happening, attention-grabbing things, all happen to be in the social media sphere. Everyone who wants to be someone or someone who wants to let everyone know are on social media. This growing popularity has led to the rise of social media handlers who are in high demand for marketing products, companies and much more in the digital space.

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Digital marketers
Digital marketing is another area that is fast emerging as one of the popular options in the age of the modern corporate era. It helps companies stay ahead and above the rest by utilizing the commercial perspective of modern digital media. Borrowing a lot from the functions of traditional marketing, this platform continues its upward trend. With more and more companies shifting their focus to digital marketing strategies, there is lots of scope in this industry.

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Ethical hackers
Ethical hackers do it the right way, legally too. They are paid to hack company accounts legally so that the organisations can identify the flaws in their systems and take necessary and adequate measures to rectify them. Ethical hacking or internet security is a job for those who love to spend hours on computers and have a penchant for software.

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Website designers
The whole wide world now exists in the web, too! Everything is taking a digital form and practically everyone wants their presence on it. That’s where web designers come into the picture, creating the perfect ‘space’ for the customer depending on their needs and of course the price!

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Bloggers
It’s one of the latest and most popular, erstwhile hobbies, jobs on the corner that is growing. It is a hobby no more, it is now officially a full-fledged career option and the next big thing in India too. Not just restricted to popular topics like food and travel, it can be about anything you think should be out there in the blogosphere. All it needs is originality, ingenuity, creativity and of course credibility. That’s the power of the written word!

Image consultants
Image consultants do everything they can to keep the image the way it is supposed to be. They work for people in the show business and offer guidance in everything to make the public image absolutely spotless. You need to have a knack for the finery of life to take up this as a career path.

Stand-up comedians
This one’s for the comedian in you, albeit the great one and a professional one at that! No pun intended! These professionals are not just tickling senses and offering a hearty laugh with their witty jokes but are also pocketing good money. Although at a nascent stage, they do have their share of audience. Who doesn’t want a good share of laughter?! 

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Graphic designers
This one is a classic example of combining art and technology perfectly! This art and creativity job has found popularity among job seekers since graphics today are a part of practically everything we see, buy or sell, be it a commercial advertisement or buying a product.

So, these new-age careers may not come with set guidelines but they definitely have the perks and added advantages of independence and job satisfaction. So, identify your passion and hit the road less travelled!

How journalists use social media: A statistical look

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Forty per cent of journalists said social media networks are ‘very important’ to their work and over a third said they spend between 30 and 60 minutes each day on social networking sites.

[Read more…]

“India will be among the top content creators”

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Established in the year 1999, Toonz Animation India Pvt. Ltd is the state-of-the-art animation production facility of Toonz group. The 18,000 sq feet facility is nestled in Technopark, India’s largest IT Park located in the South Indian state of Kerala, one of the must see destinations of a lifetime as described by National Geographic Traveller. From the creation of India’s first 2D animated TV series & 2D feature film, to India’s first 3D stereoscopic theatrical, the studio boasts of an envious pedigree that saw many successful coproduction partnerships with the likes of Walt Disney, Turner, Nickelodeon, Sony, Universal, BBC, Paramount, Marvel and Hallmark.

Today, the studio has emerged as the leader in the Indian animation industry with a host of successful productions for the domestic market and one of the most admired studios in South East Asia. The studio has been heralded by Animation Magazine as ‘one of the top ten studios to watch’ and also been chosen as one among India’s top ten ‘cool’ companies to work for.

Toonz Animation is now our placement and intern partner.  Mr. Jaya Kumar, CEO shared his thoughts on the animation industry.  Read on to find out what he has to say about the right recipe for a successful profession in the world of animation, what wins when it comes to content or technology and much more.

What do you think is the proper recipe for being a successful professional in the animation industry?
Lots of passion, lots of practice, constant learning, always updated and last but not least, an entrepreneurial attitude.

Regardless of an ocean of creative minds working in the Indian Animation Industry, why do you think our industry is not booming (Intellectual Property creation as compared to Outsourcing) in the international market and what can be done to bring us to spotlight?
This is not entirely true. First of all we need to understand that Indian Animation Industry is in a transitionary stage from a destination for outsourcing because of cheap labour to a participatory creative activity since people abroad have started believing in the creative power of India. While India is not fully recognized as a resource for successful IPs originating from India, the fact is that we have already started seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. India is emerging to be the largest young population with lot of appetite for animated entertainment content in various platforms. Some of the new concepts getting developed are able to travel across the world. India is at the threshold of crossing over to quality content from quantity. Quantity at a lower cost, even at the cost of quality was a need during the last decade. It was more on the Indian content that could connect with the Indian kids. There are ample examples of successes for that. Now it is slowly turning to quantity AND quality. We will be seeing a flood of quality Indian content from India for India in the immediate future essentially due to better money and the better appetite for Indian kids for quality.

Now coming to bringing India to the spotlight in the international market, we believe, the world has changed and so did we. Now we are looked at as a destination not only for getting the work done at a better cost but India is also looked at as a very strong partner both creatively as well as production-wise.

As far as Toonz is concerned our playground has already become more global. Another important matter in today’s market is the overall demand for content for digital platforms. And that is not local. It is international. The boundaries have started to blur big time. It is the innovation, technology and the creative power that is going to rule the immediate future. Henceforth there will not be the concept of specific region or country when it comes to Digital Platform. The content will still rule even in the regionalism. We need to come up with localised content and spread across the world. And there is no escape from this if one wants to remain in this industry.

Where do we stand in the Animation Industry in CGI/Visual Effects and where do we find ourselves ten years from now?
Technically and creatively, we are quite there in comparison to international arena. Feature films like Kung Fu Panda 3, are examples for this. A look at the credit list will prove that. So it is not the question of talent or skill. It is the question of opportunity and that is fast opening up in India. As far as VFX is concerned, there have been only a handful of films that demanded heavy VFX. And the use of VFX to tell the story or to enhance the visuals has already arrived and it is here to stay.

Talking about ten years from now, it is too difficult to predict as the technology and the appetite are fast changing by months. One clear thing that is emerging is that people have started believing in VFX for feature films. When it comes to animated features, it is a little different. Indian population is not yet tuned to see a story told with animate characters. Chances of success have been less due to the expense vs. the potential revenue. But by nature, Indians are way too smart to find ways to reduce the production cost and still tell a story effectively. This is proved multiple times with live-action feature films. Even if we have to really predict, in ten years from now, the technology and the viewing experience is going to change drastically and as it has proved in the last few years, India has caught up with the international technology pretty swiftly and we will be among the top content creators and consumers in the entertainment field, for sure.

Content versus Technology, what should be given relevance and why? Please share your views.
Content is the King and will be the King always. While technology can keep changing, if the focus on content is not strong enough, there is a huge waste of time and money by over-using technology. Yes, technology can hugely change the viewing experience. But content is always going to be a challenge to quench the appetite of the people in all ages.

What advice you would like to offer to aspiring creative people.
Hold on to your passion and find novel ways of telling stories to keep the world entertained. Never allow your passion to die due to the environment. Exploit the best technologies available at that time to make the viewing experience special. Never compromise the content for technology. Technology will follow your passion.

 

The Oscars are here!

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It’s time for the Oscars again. Scheduled for the 28th of February 2016 it will be the 88th Academy Awards ceremony! Presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), they will honour the best English-language films of 2015. During the ceremony AMPAS will present the Academy Awards (commonly referred to as the Oscars) in 24 categories.

Here’s a look at some of the major Academy Award categories.

Best Picture
Nominees:

  • Spotlight
  • The Big Short
  • The Revenant
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • Bridge of Spies
  • Brooklyn
  • Room

Potential Winner: Spotlight
The movie is about journalists investigating a Father, who is accused of molesting more than 80 boys. As they dig deeper and acknowledge their paper’s own failings, the team uncovers a conspiracy of lawyers and government officials who were part of it.
 

Best Director
Nominees:

  • Tom McCarthy (Spotlight)
  • Adam McKay (The Big Short)
  • George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road)
  • Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (The Revenant)
  • Lenny Abrahamson, (Room)

Potential Winner: Adam McKay (The Big Short)
Four outsiders to Wall Street use their unconventional knowledge of the financial markets to predict the meltdowns of the housing market and big banks. Betting together on the coming catastrophe, the quartet manages to invest astutely and make a fortune, while exposing the corruption of several large financial institutions.

 
Best Actor
Nominees:

  • Bryan Cranston (Trumbo)
  • Matt Damon (The Martian)
  • Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant)
  • Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs)
  • Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl)

Potential Winner: Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant)
Leonardo DiCaprio portrays Hugh Glass, a 19th century American frontiersman who is assumed dead by his comrades after being mauled by a bear during a expedition. Barely surviving his wounds, the movie traces the journey of Glass as he is driven by thoughts of his family and a desire for revenge as he endures the frigid winter and pursues the men who left him for dead.
 

Best Actress
Nominees:

  • Cate Blanchett (Carol)
  • Brie Larson (Room)
  • Jennifer Lawrence (Joy)
  • Charlotte Rampling (45 Years)
  • Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn)

Potential Winner: Brie Larson (Room)
Brie Larson portrays Ma, a woman held captive in a small shed for seven years, who strives to create a normal life for Jack, her young son. When Ma and Jack escape their captor, Old Nick, they must cope with the outside world and forge relationships with Ma’s conflicted family.

 
Best Supporting Actor
Nominees:

  • Christian Bale (The Big Short)
  • Tom Hardy (The Revenant)
  • Mark Ruffalo (Spotlight)
  • Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies)
  • Sylvester Stallone (Creed)

Potential Winner: Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies)
In 1957, in the midst of the Cold War, New York insurance lawyer James Donovan is enlisted to provide a pro-bono defense for Rudolf Abel, who is accused of spying for the Russians.
As Rudolf Abel, Mark Rylance plays an undercover KGB agent stationed in the U.S. who is apprehended and tried for espionage.
 

Best Supporting Actress
Nominees:

  • Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight)
  • Rooney Mara (Carol)
  • Rachel McAdams (Spotlight)
  • Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl)
  • Kate Winslet (Steve Jobs)

Potential Winner: Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl)
Alicia Vikander plays Gerda, a painter in the 1920s who wrestles with her course of action when her husband reveals his desire to live as a woman. A fictitious love story it’s about the lives of Danish artists, and how their marriage and work evolve as they navigate the groundbreaking journey as a transgender pioneer.

 

Best Original Screenplay
Nominees:

  • Matt Charman, Joel & Ethan Coen (Bridge of Spies)
  • Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley (Inside Out)
  • Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer (Spotlight)
  • Alex Garland (Ex Machina)
  • Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff (Straight Outta Compton)

Potential Winner: Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley (Inside Out)
When 11-year-old Riley and her parents move to a new city, it’s up to Riley’s five main emotions — Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger and Disgust — to help her adjust. Joy and Sadness are accidentally launched on a journey through Riley’s brain to preserve her core memories, and as the duo races back to Headquarters, Fear, Anger and Disgust must figure out how to guide Riley.

 

Best Animated Feature
Nominees:

  • Anomalisa
  • Boy and the World
  • Inside Out
  • When Marnie Was There
  • Shaun the Sheep

Potential Winner: Boy and the World
Despite his family’s poverty, young Cuca lives a satisfying life, full of wonder at his rural surroundings, until his father goes on a train trip and disappears. While searching for his father, Cuca meets a wide variety of people as he journeys from a farming camp to the ocean and a large factory and then back to the big city.

 
Best Cinematography
Nominees:

  • Carol (Ed Lachman)
  • The Hateful Eight (Robert Richardson)
  • Mad Max: Fury Road (John Seale)
  • The Revenant (Emmanuel Lubezki)
  • Sicario (Roger Deakins)

Potential Winner: The Revenant (Emmanuel Lubezki)
Based on the true story of 1800s frontiersman Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio), who was left for dead in a harsh winter, the film had a notoriously long and difficult shoot in snowy Canada and Argentina. But Emmanuel Lubezki may have taken on his biggest challenge yet, which was shot in freezing conditions, and used only natural light.

 

Best Original Score
Nominees:

  • Carol (Carter Burwell)
  • Sicario (Jóhann Jóhannsson)
  • The Hateful Eight (Ennio Morricone)
  • Bridge of Spies (Thomas Newman)
  • Star Wars: Episode VII—The Force Awakens (John Williams)

Potential Winner: Sicario (Jóhann Jóhannsson)
FBI Agent Kate Macer is recruited by a shadowy government official to join an inter-agency task force to apprehend a Mexican cartel leader. Jóhann Jóhannsson on scoring music for Sicario says, “I wanted to create music that had an underlying tension and a sense of coming from below the earth, like a throbbing pulse that resonates from underground or the pounding heartbeat of a wild beast that is charging at you. I also wanted to evoke the sadness and melancholy of the border, the border fences and the tragedy of the drug war.”

 

Best Original Song
Nominees:

  • Earned It from Fifty Shades of Grey
  • Manta Ray from Racing Extinction
  • Simple Song #3 from Youth
  • Til It Happens To You from The Hunting Ground
  • Writings on the Wall from Spectre

Potential Winner: Writings on the Wall from Spectre
Sam Smith’s theme song Writings on the Wall for the new James Bond movie Spectre has become the first in the history of the franchise to top the charts. It soared straight to No 1 in its first week of release with 70,000 combined sales and streams. It makes Smith the first artist to achieve a No 1 song with a Bond theme. It reportedly took him just 20 minutes to write and he called it the “quickest song I’ve ever written”. He’s certainly made history having won a Guinness World Record too for the song.
 

Best Visual Effects
Nominees:

  • Ex Machina
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Potential Winner:  Star Wars: The Force Awakens
With the big three stars, Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, and Carrie Fisher, there is an obvious continuity, and the director went to great lengths to connect The Force Awakens to the original trilogy. There are more than 2100 odd visual effects shots in the movie and obviously it’s a massive undertaking. 

 

Indian animation, a huge force for the future

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Gaming and animation are two areas now that are seeing a high demand for talent. Not only are they very exciting and newer fields to work in but are also one of those few fields which are witnessing tremendous growth very quickly, thereby creating great career opportunities for trained and talented people.

What was more so relegated to the sidelines until a decade ago is now fast becoming the mainstream in film entertainment, television and of course the internet. That trend is changing now and how! Animation is fast becoming the hottest career to pursue. The young artists who once faced the criticism for being different and choosing a path not trodden by many, are now being seen as the torch bearers for taking the industry to a global level of recognition and hopefully awards.

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A few sketches from a story, done by one of our students.

The country’s animation brigade has made great strides in Hollywood (Life of Pi and Prometheus) and the bigwigs of the industry believe that this signals their arrival on the global stage in a small but significant way. Though they have been working for many Hollywood films for years, working on majority of the 3D conversion work, it is not until now that they have received their due.

With the growing demand for well-trained people, many animation studios and companies have come up in cities across the country, with Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Trivandrum becoming the hubs. Many of them are equipped with the latest technology to tackle the demands of services, be it 2D animation, 3D animation, storyboards, product demos, illustrations, logos, banners, portraits, caricatures or customized ones. Famous for their work in post-production and 3D content development, this field has high-paying jobs for many digital artists and other technical specialists.

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3D rendering of a robot, as imagined and done by one of our students.

Reasons why global entertainment firms are flocking to India are a many. It is because of the low costs (cost of animation production in India is one-fourth the cost of what it costs in the West). Not just that, India been the second largest entertainment industry in the world, our studios provide a large pool of high-quality software engineers who are familiar with and on par with the latest trends and technologies. Added advantages are that the English speaking workforce overcomes the language barrier.

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A few of the characters, in one of our students’ story.

To put things in perspective, here are some facts: India’s animation entertainment sector has experienced a major boom in the recent past, employing over 80,000 people, and the current size is estimated at US$ 247 million and expected to grow at 15-20% per annum. According to the latest report by NASSCOM the animation industry in India will grow at 22 percent every year. How is that to beat?!

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Imagination coming to life, in this student’s character lineup.

Many animation studios and production houses in the country are packed with work be it outsourced from abroad or in-house projects for the market at home. Which is why, the animation industry faces a talent crunch, and trained and talented people are the need of the hour.

The ice seems to have broken and the reach and popularity of animated content has crossed all barriers and is something that the larger audience is familiar with. This could be the best time to enter this industry!

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Art direction decoded!

Famous art director of Indian films, Rajeevan Nambiar visited AISFM campus recently to hold a Master Class on art direction for our MA1 students. His journey began doing art direction for ad films and television serials, before being given the opportunity to work in a feature film for the first time through Ameer’s Mounam Pesiyadhe (2002).

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Soon after, he won acclaim for his work in Parthiban Kanavu (2003), before associating with Gautham Menon for the first time in Kaakha Kaakha. Since then, he has become a regular feature in the director’s ventures. He has worked for English, Hindi as well as many other regional films, including Shaithan, Ek Deewana Tha, David, Framed, Mounam Pesiyadhe and Manam.

Rajeevan’s session was an interactive Q&A class rather than a regular lecture, which is one of the reasons why students enjoyed it so much. From scribbles to photo-editing, everything regarding designing for a film was covered by him, after which he went on to speak about his experience working for films and ads, while answering students’ questions.

Rajeevan gave some very useful pointers to our MMBA students on how to work with tiny spaces for shoots on low budgets and yet make the set look good on camera. He told them how different types of fabrics, foam board cut-outs and techniques like shadowing, camera angles etc. can be used by them to create certain illusions desired by them. Indian skin is the hardest to work with for an art designer, since only few types of colours and few hues of lights compliment it, a quick fix for this too was given to the students; by him.

When asked what differences have come forth between art direction over the years, he mentioned how, during 1979 and 1998 movies were shot outdoors more, rather than inside studios. According to him, that is when the concept of art direction as a whole had its downfall. Before this time period, the art directors managed everything, but now directors give their inputs and art directors build on those inputs with their out of the box ideas. This combination is what makes the films better these days, he said.

He spoke at length about the different ways the camera can be cheated. For example, using paint for creating effects of marble/granite for the walls or using prints of the desired design on matte/textured papers can be used as cheats. The only thing that matters is their usage, he said. The number of shots the prop is used for, the time period of use and the number of people handling it helps determine which method is used for building. He spoke of how, for example, a church is first designed in the studio, and only after its approval is the location selected. An entire 3D walk-through of the set is done before a location is finalized for the actual shoot. This not only saves the filmmakers money, but also a lot of time and effort as well.

As the final aspect of the class, Rajeevan told our students a little bit more about set designing; what costumes are worn, what the tone (colour) of the film is, what themes are used by the director, and all that determine the set that the designers have to build. He also spoke about the differences between feature films and advertisements and said, “Ads are more specific when it comes to their design while feature films need a lot of research. These are the two aspects that differentiate them; every other thing is the same.”

When one of the students spoke of his ideas that were called ‘out-of-the-box’ and ‘bizarre’, he quickly jumped in to say that in the end, when it comes to the rules and boundaries of design, there is nothing that is right or wrong. The only thing that matters is whether it works for the film or not, he said.

Mauleenath Senapathi, full-time faculty of Direction, who also attended the session said, “Art Direction as we filmmakers recognize, is a vital aspect of filmmaking. As a subject of study Art Direction is particularly relevant for the students specializing in Direction and Cinematography. The significance of the master class conducted by ace Art Director Rajeevan has to be seen in this context. Rajeevan’s oeuvre of works across different genres of Indian cinema is evidently significant. Going by my observation and discussion with the MA 3 students following the master class, they have immensely benefited from this session. Art direction incidentally was one area which found less focus so far in the film course of the institute. As the MA 3 batch is approaching their mise-en-scene exercise where art direction plays the pivotal central role, this master class will go a long way in sharpening the concerned students’ understanding of the relevance of art direction and what it can creatively offer students, for them to explore cinematically in the projects that lies ahead.”

15 Of The Best Disney Animated Movies Ever!

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1. Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs (1937)

We think this movie is one that needs no introduction. The first ever full-length animated feature and the first feature film to have a released soundtrack, Snow White’s story is the most popular among the works of Walt Disney, and has been seen by many generations. During production, fifty different names were considered for the dwarfs and Walt Disney offered cash incentives to animators who could come up with funny ideas. At the time of release, the forest scenes were considered incredibly scary – the british censor board gave the film and Adult rating! Walt Disney was eventually awarded an honorary Oscar, which included 7 smaller statues.

2. Pinocchio(1940)

This movie was the first animated film to win an Academy Award. A puppet is carved by Geppeto and is brought to life by the blue fairy. He is told that if he is brave, truthful and selfless, he will become a real boy one day. Orignally budgeted at $500,000, the film went way over budget, costing $2.5 million making it one of the most expensive films of the time. Pinocchio is one of the lucky few to have be selected for the United States National Film Registry.

3. Cinderella (1950)

Cinderella is Walt Disney’s most famous love story. At a cost of $3 million, if the film had flopped, it probably would have been the end of Disney! Thankfully both the film and the soundtrack were huge hits, saving the company and helping to fund the construction of Disneyland. This musical fantasy film belongs to Disney’s ‘golden era’. The songs and dialogues of this movie went on to become popular quotes like ‘A dream is a wish your heart makes’.  Said to be “The greatest since Snow White” by its critics, Cinderella will “Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo” its way into your heart.

4. Alice In Wonderland (1951)

Described as an “all cartoon musical wonderfilm”, Alice In Wonderland was a one-of-a-kind movie.It allows your imagination to run wild with ‘a drink that will shrink you’ and ‘a cookie that will make you grow’, a cat that disappears into smoke and a crazy man obsessed with a tea party. This was the first Disney film for which the voice actors where credited with the characters that they play кредитная карта с 18 лет. Which the film was released, it was a commercial failure, but it slowly developed a cult status and became very successful in the rental market. Disney originally considered shooting Alice in live-action and combining her with an animated world, but finally went with complete animation. The film is a great way to introduce kids (or even adults) to Lewis Carrols original books.

5. The Jungle Book (1967)

Based on Rudyard Kipling’s book of the same name, The Jungle Book is part of the Walt Disney Animation Classics. Considered to be the “happiest possible way to remember Walt Disney” as he passed away just before its release, this movie had to be on our list. The story revolves around a boy, Mowgli, who is raised by wolves in an Indian jungle. He goes on to befriend a bear, who teaches him the ‘bare necessities of life’. While creating the artwork, Disney’s animators actually visited India and studied the plants and wildlife. So sit back and enjoy, as Mowgli takes you on a wild ride with his friends Bagheera and Baloo. Famous actor Gregory Peck resigned as president of the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences in 1970 because the members didn’t support his proposal of allowing animated films, particularly The Jungle Book, to be nominated for the Best Picture Academy Award.

6. The Little Mermaid (1989)

Originally considered by Disney in the 1930’s, it would take another 50 years before audiences would fall in love with the story of a mermaid who wishes to be human. She is our very first rebel princess, who wished to live independently and not according to the wishes of her father, the king. This is a revolution of Disney by itself when it comes to storytelling, and so becomes a must watch for everybody. This was the last Disney film to use hand-painted cels and the animators created more than one million drawings for the film.

7. Beauty And The Beast (1991)

Beauty and the Beast is one of the most dynamic romantic musicals of all time. Songs make up almost 30% of the film and there only five minutes of screentime that doesn’t have a musical score. The ballroom scene especially, will take your breath away. When Bell is forced to stay in a castle with a Beast, she accepts her faith and is ready to face her death. What she does not expect to find is the meaning of true love. The lead animator created the Beast by combining elements of a lion, buffalo, gorilla, wild boar, wolf and bear. Due to limited production time, many visual elements were reused form earlier Disney films and most of the sculptures throughout the castle are actually early concept drawings for the Beast! No wonder it was nominated as ‘Best Film’ (although it lost to Silence of the Lambs).

8. Aladdin (1992)

Part of the era of Disney Renaissance, Aladdin is the most viewed Disney movie ever and was the first animated film to cross the $200 million mark at the box office.. When a street urchin, Aladdin, falls hopelessly in love with the kingdom’s princess, Jasmine, he stumbles upon a magic lamp. With the help of the genie, he tries to win the heart of the love of his life. He goes on an adventure with his ever mischievous monkey, Apu to help the princess in living her life the way she wants to. Genie was voiced by Robin Williams, who improvised so many of his lines during the recording sessions that Aladdin was not eligible for screenwriting awards at the Oscars! As with most Disney films, the animators developed a colour palette to differentiate good and evil: blue for good, red for evil and yellow for neutral. A similar scheme was used in Beauty and the Beast.

9. The Lion King (1994)

The Lion King is the highest rated animated movie by Disney on IMDb (8.5/10). A musical by Walt Disney Animation, talking about the story of a young cub ‘Simba’, how he is tricked by his uncle into believing that he is the one responsible for his father’s death  and how he comes back to the pridelands to take charge of his destiny. The wildebeest stampede was one of the most advanced animations ever created at the time, requiring three years of work and the development of completely new animation software. A real lion and cub visited the animators studio so that they could study the movement. The Oscar-winning song ‘Can you feel the love tonight’ was originally a duet between Timon and Pumba, before being cut from the film. It was added back in after pleas from Elton John. Watch this movie and ‘Hakuna matata’ all your problems away.

10. Toy Story (1995)

Do you know what happens to your toys when you leave them alone in your room? If you’d like to know the answer to this, then you have to see Toy Story, the first animated film to be nominated for an Oscar’s best screenplay award.
When Andy buys a new toy, a Buzz lightyear figurine, his ex-favourite toy Woody gets insecure and jealous causing a series of hilarious mishaps when he tries to get rid of it. Toy Story was originally included a Barbie character as Woody’s love interest, but Mattell withdrew permission as they thought the film would fail. After Toy Story became the best box office performer of the year, Barbie appears in Toy Story 2. The first ever full length feature film made using computer animation, Toy Story has a rating of 100% on ‘rotten tomatoes’

11. Tarzan (1999)

Tarzan was Disney’s biggest hit after the release of Pocahontas, released at the No. 1 rank. Telling the story of a baby raised by apes, Tarzan went on to become its time’s most expensive movie and was the first Disney movie to be made into a video game. The animation team pioneered a new visual technique know as Deep Canvas, in which 2D characters can be inserted into a 3D background. Fast paced with stunning visual effects, this movie strayed away from the typical Disney stories, and became a great hit, winning an Academy award.

12. Finding Nemo (2003)

An adventurous and comic tale of a clown fish who swims half way around the world when his son Nemo, gets captured by divers. Our over protective dad, Marlin along with Dory, the fish with short term memory loss, go to Sydney looking for Nemo in this feature that is an all time favorite of all ages, making it the best selling DVD worldwide. The animation crew went diving in Hawaii to study the fish and the appearance of light underwater. Their earliest renders were rejected as being “too realistic” and they re-did the work to make it more cartoony. The film caused a huge surge in people buying aquariums and tropical fish as pets.

13. The Princess And The Frog (2009)

This movie marks Disney’s return to its traditional animation, drawing heavily on the styles of Bambi and Lady and the Tramp. With a simple story of a waitress who gets turned into a frog after kissing a prince that was cursed by an evil witch. The entire story revolves around her trying to get back into human form. This adaptation of ‘The Frog Princess’ was greatly liked by all, including three Academy Award nominations, and hence had to be on our list.

14. Tangled (2011)

The tale of Rapunzel takes a twist in this adaptation by Disney. Using CGI and non-photorealistic rendering, Tangled becomes a one of a kind movie. The film was named Tangled, rather than Rapunzel, to try to attract more male viewers than would normally see a ‘princess’ film. Being the most expensive animated movie that Disney ever made, it is visually stunning and witty in its approach, making it worth every penny spent. See if you can spot Pinoccio and Pumbaa in the background scenes!

15. Frozen (2013)

Being one of the most popular animated movies, Frozen just had to be on this list. This is the story of two sisters, Anna and Elsa who were handed over the kingdom of Arendelle, after their parent’s death. However on the coronation day, Elsa’s powers go out of hand causing her to run away, leaving her kingdom in a winter lockdown. This leads to a story of courage, bravery and most importantly, love. Frozen brought about a change in Disney’s writing, showing that you don’t need a prince charming to find your true love, and that the love that a family has for each other is the truest form you can find. Let this movie be ‘frozen’ onto your watch list, for your next movie night.

Did we miss out on your favorite movie? Comment below and let us know.

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