AISFM Film Fest Showcases Students’ Splendid Work

4529

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.

4389

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.”

4

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.

4440

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.

6

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.

1

Master Class with Veteran Film Writer Akella

blog_header_3

Master classes are always looked forward to, by our students. For it is the value that the master class setup brings; all students benefit from the master’s comments on a subject and get expert advice, while still learning the finer nuances of their art. They also help students network and plan their future career development.

This time it was a Master Class by the veteran and versatile creative artist and film writer, Akella Venkata Suryanarayana, popularly known as ‘Akella’; who is a film writer, film director, TV writer, TV director, stage writer, stage actor and director.

blog_header_4

Akella has written more than 200 short stories in all leading Telugu magazines and many of his stories were translated into various Indian languages. He has also written more than 30 novels and he was credited with “Yuva Magazine Chakrapani” award, “Visala Andhra” award, “Vijaya Monthly” award and “Andhra Prabha Novel” award. His most outstanding novel “Dharmo Rakshathi Rakshithaha” was translated into French. The celebrity drama writer has written more than 40 plays, playlets and traditional plays (Padya Natakam). His theatre plays won 13 State Nandi awards.

The Master Class was attended by great enthusiasm by our Acting and Fundamentals of Film Direction (Telugu) students. Interacting with the students, the writer-director spoke at length about the importance of a story, screenplay and dialogues. He laid emphasis on the importance of characterisation, behaviour, body language and emotions for actors and how it is essential to read books to gain more knowledge and perspective.

blog_header_1

Bala Raj (Dean, Academics), who was present on the occasion, also shared his valuable inputs about the film industry and the importance of hard work and dedication to one’s craft.

The Master Class offered our creative and motivated students an opportunity to gain valuable insights into the working of the writing and directing fields of the film and television industry.

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

blog_header_1

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

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

IMG_1692

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

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

IMG_1693

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

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

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

blog_header_2 (1)

Drone Filmmaking – Master Class & Demo Workshop

The forefront of drone cinematography has paved its way up along the technical aspect of filmmaking in the course of time. A remote controlled operation to capture the flying view through the camera connected to a so made “drone”. As captured footage is meant to ignite a stimulating emotion in the viewers mind, the drone can be controlled in a way to cater to the stimulating emotion that the filmmaker wants to portray.

IMG_0495

Venkat C Dilip, Cinematographer (DOP) for Oohalu Gusa Gusa Lade and Jyo Achyuthananda, was at the AISFM campus to conduct a Master Class and a Demo Workshop on how to shoot with a Drone, for our Cinematography students. Venkat, as cinematography is his expertise started off by offering his teaching on the subject of camera, light, composition and then connecting it to cinematography.

IMG_0428

Our guest lecturer, followed by the Master Class, arranged a Demo-Workshop where he could demonstrate the process of drone filmmaking. With the help of Venkat, our cinematography students attempted to fly a drone and experiment with it on the footage. With a couple of tries, the demo workshop managed to provide a gainful insight to the students in a broader depth of cinematography. As the students would use such techniques in their future job roles, it gave them a practice on how to get the job done in the future, this particular way.

IMG_0581

Venkat mentioned to the students that the vision of the eye is the best element to judge a shot’s authenticity. With the evolution of technology, it has become precisely convincing to execute a filmmaker’s vision on screen. The modes of executing the vision have varied from medium to medium. Speaking of Drones, the technique behind its functioning is fascinating and the best way to know about it is, is to use it. The students during the Q/A exchanged a decent discussion on the nuances and trend from the top cinematographers in the west, doing it right and the assistance of technology needed for achieving the footage.

IMG_0442

The medium is still the message. A lot of drone films are experiments to see what can be done. Eventually, those techniques will, hopefully, just become another toolset cinematographers can use, like tracking or Steadicam shots. As various mediums and concepts keep innovating, technology does too. The filmmaker with his equipment in today’s day and age can achieve anything on screen. It’s the idea, the process and definitely the execution in the end that matters. Luckily, though, directors are born tinkerers, so learning a new trick comes easy. It’s even a bit fun.

A 2-Day Filmmaking Workshop: Vancouver Film School

Michael Baser (Head of Department, Writing for Film and Television), Bob Woolsey (Independent Film Maker), Rodger Cove (Senior Instructor, Feature Script / Character Essentials) from Vancouver Film School were at the AISFM Campus from 18th March, 2017 to 20th March, 2017 conducting a workshop for the filmmaking students.

17474179_10210569468450322_424774127_o

While the 1st Day included covering the aspects in: Storytelling, Basics of Scriptwriting, Script to Screen, Theme and Plot building, Moving Master (single shot scene) it was followed by the 2nd Day which included activities like Blocking a scene, Scene Rehearsal, Shoot: Moving Masters, Screening. The students were a part of a discussion with the delegates of Vancouver Film School. Exchanging thoughts on the craft of filmmaking, techniques of screenwriting and the execution of an idea translating to a decent result on screen.

17359095_1433434666730787_573280263552399046_o

Michael Baser, Rodger Cover and Bob Woolsey were impressed with the campus facilities provided and the exposure being gained by the students. “As the institute is located within the premises of a studio, it helps them getting a better understanding on a working environment while they are studying about the same,” they said. The Vancouver Film School team also would be happy to host exchange programs between their students and the students of AISFM as cultural diversity can be a key element to analyse new perspectives.

The students on the other hand, could get a better grasp of the basics that revolve around the process of filmmaking. With different stages of the workshop being aimed at mastering the basics of the craft, the students had to go through a learning curve in order to complete the workshop. As the stages of the workshop were meant to be a progressive learning for the students, it also acted as a great build up for the final product at the end of the two days.

17388850_1433434916730762_4954638717893459828_o

“My learning’s definitely are that I got an opportunity to strengthen my basics of writing and also, I understood why to keep it simple and that writing is the cheapest way to better the film on which they stressed upon on” said one of the students who attended the workshop.  As these workshops are meant to nurture the technical and skill aspect of filmmaking in these upcoming filmmakers, it enhances the basics and makes the execution of their ideas easier.

The students of AISFM look forward to more such workshops from global professionals all over the world playing key roles in the field of filmmaking. As the industry demands valid skill sets for each technical aspect, these workshops help in building a foundation for students to build an idea, pitch/sell it and by the end of it, release it on the big screen.

Digital Domain: Leading Hollywood VFX Company visits AISFM!

collage1

Digital Domain, is known for VFX on about 200 blockbuster Hollywood movies like “Titanic”, “Maleficent”, “X-Men: Days of Future Past”, “Iron Man 3”, “TRON: Legacy”, “Furious 7”, “Pixels”, “2012” and many more. Providing an exciting new future in storytelling and content creation technology, from Digital Domain; Austin Armus, Director – Business Services Integration, Lala Gavgavian – Vice President, Human Resources/Recruiting/Training, and Sudhir Reddy – Head of Digital Studio (India) were at the campus addressing the students along side Bala Raj (Dean, Academics) and Amala Akkineni (Hon. Director, AISFM).

collage2

The Master Class included the representatives of Digital Domain showing us their work reels as an introduction to display their creative techniques and talking about the content that they have been making. The session then commenced from being an introduction to turning into a informative Q/A between the representatives and the students.

As VFX is one of the most indulged courses at the institute, art/animation enthusiasts were present amongst the students and faculty members. During the Q/A, the concerned representatives, according to their expertise, answered questions put up by the students in depth. With a vast number of movies in their roaster, they have worked with the best of the directors in the industry including Steven Spielberg.

Talking about the rapid pace at which the technology is evolving, Digital Domain mentioned that they fully utilised the potential of the advancement in their equipment, over the years. With High Definition viewing, HD has also paved it’s way for VFX and animated content to be seen by the audiences in HD.

As they plan to expand to India, working alongside the offices in Los Angeles and Vancouver they want to diversify in terms of creativity by having a presence in different countries. Austin also spoke about the scale of planning and collaboration with the director that goes into the pre/post production stage before they start on a film project.

IMG_4492

As technology is advancing day-to-day, Digital Domain tries to keep up with the best technical resources to get the desired output for their films/commercials. As high definition viewing has become necessary for the quality of the product, Digital Domain has expanded to areas of Virtual Reality, and are currently working on movies made especially for VR.

Founded in 1993, Digital Domain is one of the largest and most influential visual effects studios in the world. The company and its artists have produced industry-leading work for movies, commercials, video games, music videos, concerts, and virtual reality projects. The company has been at the forefront of innovation for over two decades and pioneered the creation of internationally famous Digital Performers including Virtual 2Pac (the “Coachella Hologram”) and Teresa Teng. Digital Domain was also a co-producer on the feature film “Ender’s Game”.

During that time, its artists have earned multiple Academy Awards in the Visual Effects and Technical Award categories. Digital Domain has evolved in its artistry to hundreds of commercials, video games, and music videos, from “Become Legend” game trailers, to Nike’s virtual reality “The Neymar Jr. Effect”, to the ground-breaking Ronda Rousey fight trailer “Revolution” for the UFC.

From setups in California and Vancouver, including its own state-of-the-art performance capture studio, Digital Domain continues a tradition of creating extraordinary imagery and productions for entertainment and advertising purposes.

Master Class by Sunitha Tati, Well-Known Film Producer

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

_MG_9863

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

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

_MG_9839
Before starting out in the Telugu movie industry, she worked in TV 9 (Telugu) as well as Radio Mirchi. In her stint at Ramanaidu Studios she worked as an assistant director for various movies including Malliswari, Jayam Manadera and Nagesh Kukunoor’s Hyderabad Blues. Apart from movies, she is an active Rotarian and trustee & founder member of Support Cancer Awareness Foundation, a NGO based in Hyderabad.

Editing decoded, from the master himself!

img_9743

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

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

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

img_9733

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

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

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

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

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

img_9748

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

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

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

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

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

img_9798

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

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

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

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

img_9832

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

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

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

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

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

 

Nassar: “A chain of emotions makes up a film”

nassar

Veteran film actor, director and producer, who has worked in the Indian film industry for over 30 years, visited AISFM recently for a master class with our students. The actor had previously come in for a quick chat with our students, a few months ago.

Nassar made his acting debut in K. Balachander’s Kalyana Agathigal (1985) portraying a secondary supporting role, before moving on to play villainous roles in S. P. Muthuraman’s Velaikaran (1987) and Vanna Kanavugal Avatharam (1995), a film based on the backdrop of a folk art troupe, marked his directorial debut. The actor visited the school for a Q & A session with our students wherein he spoke about his experiences working in the industry and gave tips to our students for their future.

The session commenced with a question by a student wherein he asked Nassar to explain how a director approaches every actor to act in his movie. Nassar jokingly said that this can be answered either truthfully, which will end up being funny yet scary, or he can answer this by stating how an actor is supposed to handle accepting or rejecting an offer. He then went on to say, that every director must first put his script down on paper. Only then will he be taken seriously. His writer must have the patience to sit down and travel with every character through a special journey. Only then will the film be gripping. The director merely has to shoot this travelled journey, scene by scene. Now, what an actor must do is completely different. He must read the entire script not just his parts, stick to the script, but not follow it blindly. Knowing this difference is what makes an actor’s work shine through.

Choosing which actor is suited for a particular role must be given to a casting director. He understands the script, analyses it and comes up with options on who can play the character in question. He needs to study the character and choose his options ‘A’, ‘B’, or ‘C’ and present this to the director. The only thing a director must do is finalize from the options along with the casting director.

Nassar spoke about how our Indian industry is different from the one in the West. “I have worked in around 400 films throughout my career. Out of these, for at least 300 of them, I was given around a week’s notice before the shooting was supposed to begin. As future directors, this is something you must try to change in the industry.” To all the future actors in the audience, he said “The numbers of films you do; do not make you a better actor. The type of acting you do, does” He then went on to speak about art films. The market for art films is less, their budget is less and hence they need good acting in the film. They hunt for good actors. That is why the quality of art films is so much better than that of mainstream cinema. We try understanding art, but art is not something that can be understood. There needs to be a discussion with oneself for that revelation to happen, he said.

He then called a direction student from the audience, for an impromptu session. He gave the student a film’s situation and asked him to say what he would do if he was the director of that film. Soon after this, he went on to speak about the importance of a scene. “A scene is like a bead in a beautiful string of beads. It is not complete in itself. Like that, a chain of emotions make up a film. As far as acting is concerned, an actor is hired as a professional. He needs to act like one too. The director knows the process of the film, and as a director, it will be your job to explain to the actor what he is supposed to be doing.”

Nassar went on to explain the importance of sticking to aesthetics while being modern, to commence the end of his session. He spoke about dialogues, how using too many of them are not suitable when one wants to make good cinema and how the idea behind the dialogues matter more.

“We are changing fast, but we are not progressing. Previously, we were scared, because the production cost was high. We had to make sure we were able to maintain the flow of emotions from one scene to another in as few takes as possible. Now, you are in a digital age. You must be able to exploit this to its fullest extent. Let us grow digitally. Let us grow technologically,” he concluded with a smile and then obliged the students who wanted to capture this interaction by taking photos with him.

“Be the eye of the storm”

Filmmaker, screenwriter, actor and academic lecturer, Ian Dixon visited AISFM, all the way from Melbourne, Australia to hold a master class for our BFA students. Ian’s short films have won awards for direction internationally. He is currently writing a screenplay that is funded by Film Victoria. His directing credits include Wee Jimmy (half hour drama for SBS – won director commendation at San Francisco International Film Festival), The Raptor Detail (short), Cut (VCA major film – won Gold at Australian Cinematographers Society Awards) and many more.

IMG_4886
The session Ian had with our students was witty, interactive and a lot of fun. He spoke about direction in general, his experience working in films and also gave a few tips to our students. “You need to give your audience exactly what they want and what they expect from the genre. If you are making a romantic movie, you cannot accept the audience to be happy if you add thrills in it. There is a particular mapping already done when you choose a genre to make your film. What makes a great filmmaker is to be creative despite that mapping. You need to be in the center of that filmmaking storm. You need to be the eye of the storm,” he said. He admired how the Indian film Dhobi Ghat did precisely that. The typical Bollywood film form was put aside during filming it, which is why it seems so polished and why the story-line seems so real, he said.

When one of the students asked him how he decided on the genre of his movies, he humorously narrated a story of his conversation with his wife. He said, “I wrote a love story one time and presented it to my wife. She very sweetly said that, you don’t live love, you are not romantic. Please don’t try writing it. That’s how I found my voice. That’s how I found my genre.”

Ian spoke deeply about passion and how it influences one’s work. He said that being abused as a child drove the passion into him to get over his personal issue and make films about child abuse so that more people become aware of this social issue. “You need to take your subjects seriously. You should be passionate about it at your core, even if others don’t get you. Spielberg, for example, believes in ghosts and in extra terrestrial species. It is because of his beliefs that his movies are so engaging. You start believing in his beliefs. That is the amount of passion you need to have in order to make good cinema.”

“When I look around, I see danger everywhere. That is the person I am, and that is reflected in my thriller movies. That’s what keeps the movie alive. The fact that you are able to harness this thing from within is what will make all the difference. If you are a really secure person, you will lose your creativity. If you want to create thrill, don’t let the thrill from within get away. If I’m doing thrillers, I need to have a sense of paranoia,” he further added.

He went on to show the audience his Visual Diary. He explained how every picture was chosen, how his colour scheme was in sync with his story line and how that is one of the main things one must keep in mind while making films. “I am very strict with my colour balance. I only select those images that mean something directly to my film.” Not only that, but the relationship one has with their actors is also crucial; a great director is one who studies what his actors do, without a performance, you have no movie, he stressed.

Lastly, he went on to speak about drama. “The essence of drama is conflict”, he said. He went on to demonstrate this point by pulling out two acting students from the audience and making them perform an impromptu scene. Overall, the session was a success, and drew to an end with the students personally going up to Ian and speaking out their thoughts about what he said during the master class.

short-term-film-direction-course