From script to screen – learning the art of seamless transition


The third semester of the MA (Film + Media) course at AISFM is a hectic time for students. Deep in some of the most complex subjects of their specialization, they also prepare to produce their graduation films.

And this year too, screenwriting students have been buried in their laptops, or staring into space, as they contemplated story concepts to pitch to faculty panels. And helping them in this process was screenwriter/filmmaker Charudutt Acharya.

He recently visited the school for workshop on screenwriting with the students. For students grappling with perfecting their scripts for their final project, the session was an eye-opener.

“Before the workshop I was happy with what I had written for my film, but Charudutt sir pointed out so areas I could improve to make the script great. The sessions not only helped developing my graduation film, but also helped me as a writer, Said Sasinder Pushplingam, an MA (final) student.

Megha Subramanian, screenwriting faculty at AISFM was pivotal in roping in the filmmaker for the workshop. “I met Charudutt in Berlin during a screenwriting competition. I was impressed by his skill as a writing mentor and his accessibility to students. When we began the process of selecting a teacher for this workshop, I immediately thought of him,” explained Megha.

Acharya has co-written and produced two Hindi feature films – Dum Maaro Dum and Vaastu Shashtra. His directorial debut, Sonali Cable, hit screens last year. “Since Charudutt just finished directing his first feature film, the script-to-screen process was still fresh in his mind. He was perfect for the workshop,” said Megha.

An intensive four-day series of feedback and writing sessions, the workshop was scattered with discussions on the current industry scenario. The sessions included analyzing the variations in writing approaches, reading film treatments and watching the films.

Students also learnt about translation from initial story to screen, individual and group feedback sessions on the students’ film scripts and writing sessions, to incorporate feedback.

I’d thought I was more of a director than a writer – someone who would direct the scripts that others wrote. However, Charudutt Sir helped me understand the importance of writing as well,” said Purushottham, an MA (final) student.

In addition to his work in films, Acharya has a significant body of work on Indian television, writing for popular shows like Crime PatrolJassi Jaisi Koi Nahi and Galli Galli Sim Sim. This helped him give students a better perspective on how different writing for films is Vis a Vis TV.

“The one hour session felt like 20 minutes, said Mansoor Ali Patel, adding, “I got a better understanding of how the industry works – how the work I do as a student ties it to the real world. I really enjoyed the workshop.”

A graduate from FTII, Charudutt, also holds an MA in feature film screenwriting from the Royal Holloway University of London. He is the recipient of the British Council’s Charles Wallace India Trust Award for ‘Mid-career Fellowship for Artists’ for the year 2006-2007.

Chris Higgins, President, AISFM, said, “It has been an incredible experience for our students to hear a different perspective with feedback on their writing. It has also been valuable for them to learn more about the industry and how their ambitions match the current scenario in terms of being a working writer and director.”



Tale Of A Lonely Trail


Jan Zabeil’s directorial debut, The River Used to be a Man, is a riveting watch. Screened recently at AISFM, the film is about a man lost in the Botswana marshlands. Starring Alexander Fehling, the film has a loosely observational, semi-documentary feel in its first half, as a nameless, German man (Fehling, presumably playing a variation on himself) explores the rivers and marshlands of Botswana in the company of a considerably older local guide (Sariqo Sakega).

The duo’s conversations are slightly awkward because of the language barrier. However, the amount of dialogue in the movie reduces significantly when the guide suddenly dies, and the protagonist must find his way back to civilization, solo.

The background score of the film and the natural lighting creates an atmosphere that shows viewers, what the actor himself is witnessing at that moment. This quality that the director brought out is what makes this film a must-watch. Zabeil went on to win the Best New Director Award at the San Sabastian IFF 2011 and Best Cinematography Award at the German Critics Association 2013.

Holding an interactive session with students of AISFM on impromptu acting, the director selected students from the audience to participate in the exercises. He gave them each one single line, like ‘Are you happy?’ ‘What is happiness’ or ‘You are beautiful’ ‘You’re lying’, making them say it in different moods and different styles again and again. The results were hilarious.

“The whole workshop was amazing – from the screening to the acting session. What I liked the most about the film was the fact that there was no artificial light used. I learnt a lot from what Sir (Jan Zabeil) said about his experiences,” said Akshay Jadhav, an alumnus of AISFM.


Bangalore/Chennai/Kolkata workshops this week!

Our seminar tour rolls onwards this weekend, like an unstoppable force of filmmaking goodness 🙂

Last week’s workshops in Vizag and Vijayawada had an amazing turnout with over 340 film lovers, from every walk of life, gathering together to learn more about film direction and career options in the media industry.

This week we head to Bangalore and Kolkata on Saturday 9th of June and then Chennai on Sunday 10th of June.

Last time we came to Bangalore and Chennai, the auditoriums were completely booked out and we have to turn people away at the door (with sadness in our hearts). Please don’t be one of these people this time around – book early (and make sure you turn up on time)!!

To book your seats, head to our (now famous) booking page:

For other information, just give us a call on 040 4914 1234

Hope to meet lots of you this weekend!!




Hyderabad ‘Film + Media Career’ workshops this week! 30th and 31st May

Our national tour of workshops, on filmmaking and careers in the film and media industry, kicked off in Hyderabad back in August 2011. Since then we have crisscrossed the country and even hopped over to Malaysia. Over 3000 aspiring filmmakers and media managers have experienced our highly interactive teaching style, with many people commenting afterwards that it was one of the best classes they have ever attended!

Last Sunday we were in Mumbai, and the auditorium was so packed that the management had turn people away at the door!

This week our workshops come back to Hyderabad and we are very excited to be hosting two sessions this week, in our beautiful new preview theater, inside Annapurna Studios, Banjara Hills.

You can register for either Wednesday May 30th, 6pm or Thursday May 31st, 6pm.

To register – call us on 040 4914 1234 or email or fill the form here:

The workshop has three components:

  • Firstly, we teach a super-interactive class on film direction
  • Secondly, we conducting a workshop on career options in the film and media industry
  • Thirdly, we finish up with a Q&A session, where YOU set the agenda!

Looking forward to seeing you there….


P.S. Beautiful Image by Flickr user RenaiShashin


Mumbai + Indore media career seminars this weekend!

Yup! our super-awesome national career seminar tour chugs into Indore on Saturday the 26th and Mumbai on Sunday the 27th of May.

Over the last year, more than three thousand aspiring filmmakers and media managers have attended these workshops, and the response has always been great.

Each seminar is actually three sessions in one:

First up, we teach a unique class on film direction. What makes it unique? Well, we take a very unusual view on how to teach direction. The key to successful direction is managing the thousands of decisions that a director has to make in the lead up to taking the shot. Plan everything like a pro, and the actual shoot is a piece of cake!

Secondly, we talk about career options in the film and media industry and ask some hard questions. Many people think that life in the industry is one long premiere party. They are sadly mistaken and we explain why.

Thirdly, we offer both group and one-to-one Q&A. Ask us anything about life, luck and love in the film and media industry. Confused about the training options available? You want to be a director but can’t stop daydreaming about lenses, filters and tripods? Terrified about admitting to your parents that you want to be a film producer and not an engineer, like your father, brothers and cousins? Bring it on, we are happy to help!

Although free, seats are limited, so advance registration is essential. To book your place, visit

Even if you’re are not from Mumbai or Indore – check out the registration page. There are lots of other cities coming up, including Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Guwahati, Chandigarh and Kolkata.

If your city isn’t listed, visit here to request that we check out your ‘hood:

You can always call us for more info – 040 4914 1234

P.S – the image shown here has absolutely nothing to do with our Media Career Seminars. This is actually British actress Michelle Keegan. The image serves the dual purpose of reminding you that actors get to play all sorts of interesting characters (ever wanted to be a fire fighter or an astronaut?)  AND that even if you decide not to join the media industry, there are lots of other rewarding careers out there…..

Delhi Workshop + Hyderabad Summer Camps this weekend


A couple of quick reminders of upcoming events at AISFM:

Delhi Workshop

This weekend (Sunday May 20th)  we are heading back to Delhi for our third workshop in the city on Film Direction and Careers in Media. If you haven’t made it to one of our previous workshops, this event comes highly recommended. The workshop is three hours long, and we pack it full of interactive learning. Think you know what it means to be a film director? Think again – we guarantee that you will learn something new!

Seats are  limited to venue capacity. To register – visit this page:


Summer Camps

Starting next week (Monday 21st May) we launch our 2012 Summer Camps. These camps are an awesome way to spend two weeks of your holidays learning new skills and meeting new people. We are offering intakes in Filmmaking, Acting and Digital Photography. Each course has a maximum of 20 students to ensure personal attention from the faculty. These courses are also a great way to get a taste of how we teach, in case you are considering any of our longer courses. Each course is only Rs.10,000 plus tax. Seats are filling quickly. To book your place, call us on 040 4914 1234 or visit this page

That’s it for now – looking forward to catching up with some of you this weekend!


Next filmmaking seminars – Pune and Delhi. Register today.

After our latest booked-out workshop in Kuala Lumpur, we return to India for the next two stops on our Filmmaking Seminar tour.

  • Pune: Sunday April 15th, 4-7pm
  • Delhi: Wednesday April 18th, 6:30 pm

What happens at the seminars?

First up, we jump into scene breakdown and analysis. The toughest part of the director’s job is juggling all the decisions that have to be made on the set. For any given scene, what type of actors do you want, how should they stand/sit/move. What should they wear? Where do you place the camera? What sort of camera movement do you want, if any?

We use real scripted scenes with lots of audience interaction, to help you to understand the decisions that you will face in the field.

Next, we talk about the film and media industry as a career choice. What is it like? Is it right for you? (hint – it might not be) What are the career options?

As always, these seminars are free to attend, however advance registration is essential as seats are limited to ensure audience interaction.

To book your place at either of these seminars – visit the registration page here.


Still unsure?

Here is what the media felt after we invited them to attend previous sessions:

“An amazing opportunity to learn about film direction,
as well as careers in the film industry”
Times of India

“An opportunity to meet one-on-one with international experts.”
The Hindu

“If you are one of those film enthusiasts who would like to learn the
nuances of filmmaking, then this is one for you.”

“If there’s one thing Kurt Inderbitzin knows, it’s how to keep an audience enthralled…
he didn’t lose their attention for even a second.”
Deccan Herald

“Film Whiz works his magic! A unique seminar on filmmaking.”
New Indian Express


Hope you see you there!


Workshop in Malaysia – April 7th 2012

Our national tour of seminars on Film Direction and Careers in Media have been a smash hit across India, with thousands of aspiring filmmakers lining up for entry in the dozen cities that we have visited so far.

This weekend, Saturday April 7th, our tour moves from national to international with our first workshop in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Our CEO, Hollywood director Kurt Inderbitzin, will conduct an interactive session for three hours, followed by Q&A time.

This is a great opportunity for aspiring filmmakers to learn more about career options in the film and media industry while picking up some tips and tricks on making great films (short, feature, documentary, or entirely imaginary)!

As always, our seminars are free to attend, however seats are limited to ensure personal interaction, so advance registration is essential.

Click here to register.

For any questions, just email

Delhi / Chandigarh This Weekend


January has been an incredible month for AISFM.

Back in 2011 we developed the idea of conducting free seminars on filmmaking and media careers, and offering those seminars to aspiring filmmakers around the country. In India, this was a totally new concept. Normally people charge for seminars – they don’t give away training like this for free!

We started in Hyderabad, and received an amazing response. Withing months, we had spoken to more than 2000 people at seminar events. We rolled the seminars out to Chennai and Bangalore and, despite booking large venues, we had to turn people away at the door who didn’t register in advance as the auditoriums were completely packed.

Next came Kochi, Kolkata, Bhopal, Ahmedabad and Jaipur. In each city the local media jumped in to support us – free filmmaking seminars taught by India’s only privately run, non-profit film school! What’s not to like? The seminar tour has received hundreds of articles, online posts and TV and radio coverage.

This coming weekend sees the final seminars in this series – Saturday 28th in Chandigarh and Sunday 29th in Delhi.

To register for the free seminar, please click here.

These seminars have been a big hit with the media. To see some of the testimonials from leading journalists, please visit here

Want us to head to your city in our next seminar series? Just let us know in the comments below!

Ahmedabad/Jaipur seminars this weekend!


This is another quick reminder post about our national tour of seminars on careers in the film and media industry.

This weekend we are heading to Ahmedabad on Saturday and Jaipur on Sunday.  There is a great buzz in both of the cities this week, with almost every newspaper running major stories on the upcoming event.

To register for the free seminar, please click here.

These seminars have been a big hit with the media. To see some of the testimonials from leading journalists, please visit here

Want us to head to your city? Just let us know in the comments below!