Children explore AISFM & Annapurna Studios!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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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.

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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.

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“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.

Cornell University Senior Faculty at AISFM Campus!

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Ewa Bachminska – Senior Lecturer of Polish Language at Cornell University was at AISFM, conducting a Master Class followed by a German Film Screening for the Students.

Ewa Bachminska: A B.A. and an M.A. in Applied Linguistics from Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Poland to having a M.A. in Music (Jazz Studies) from Webster University, and even a M.A. in Spanish from St. Louis University. With education as a foundation to explore different fields, Ewa has passionately explored different fields and now can provide an expertise on them.

At AISFM, Ewa addressed the students at AISFM giving a presentation, which was followed by a German Film Screening. The film was called Good Bye, Lenin! (2003). Post the screening, there was a Q/A round where Ewa discussed the film with the students and discussed the various aspects of filmmaking affecting the film, and debating on what messages it was trying to give.

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Good Bye, Lenin! (2003)

Ewa has also been attached to India in quite an interesting way. As Ewa, was working on her M.S. in Animal Science (with emphasis on animal welfare), conducted her research in India. Ewa has lived in India in the past (2008-2009). Also during her shorter visits here, Ewa volunteered with the anti-rabies program of the Blue Cross of Hyderabad (BCH). She was also bringing stray dogs to the BCH shelter to get them spayed or neutered within their animal birth control (ABC) program. Besides, she was helping treat street dogs.

The BCH veterinarians diagnosed the strays’ diseases for her and then she was giving the dogs medications or changing their bandages on the streets on a daily basis. In the past, she collaborated this way with Dr. Ajay Narkhede and recently with Dr. Raj Rao – two very dedicated veterinarians at the BCH. She would also like to mention a great veterinarian in Lingampally, Dr. Aruna Padala, who does a lot for stray dogs in the neighbourhood. Aruna also diagnosed stray dogs’ diseases for Ewa, gave them shots, checked on them, and all for free. Ewa considers herself to be very fortunate to collaborate with these veterinarians.

As the students at AISFM were interacting with Ewa, she had converted her Master Class into a very informative and formal discussion about the film with her and the students. She managed to provoke a thought in the students, and their questions were answered by her, thoroughly.

On being asked on the importance of education in any field, she said:

“Continuing education is an important part of my life. I think that many people have multiple interests, I just pursue them with degrees. It’s fun to study something different from what you do professionally. I’m driven by curiosity and I relax by changing my activities: from teaching languages to film appreciation to studying animal welfare.”

With her example, education can be a key to a lot of untouched directions in life. If you feel like you can try it out, you should. As we are educating ourselves everyday till the last day.

Movies that killed, literally!

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Imagine walking into a movie theatre and not coming out alive! Horror films hold a special place with everybody; either you’re too scared to watch them or you love the thrill they give. Whatever it may be, let’s just say that you’re lucky to be leaving the theatre at all, because for some people, the final credits truly are final. Here’s a look at some killer movies!

  1. The Conjuring 2 (2016)

The Conjuring 2 may have been a little too scary for one filmgoer in India. The afflicted viewer, described as a 65-year-old male, reportedly complained of chest pains during the film and was taken to the hospital, where doctors pronounced him dead on arrival. His body was then remanded to another hospital for further examination, but it never arrived—as the Times put it, the driver “disappeared with the deceased’s body,” prompting an investigation to determine the whereabouts (and the identity) of the dead man.

  1. The Creeping Unknown (1955)

Released in America in 1956 under the title The Creeping Unknown, the film entered the annals of horror history in November of that year when, according to a story reported in Variety and related in the 1997 book The Hammer Story: The Authorised History of Hammer Films, a nine-year-old boy suffered a ruptured artery and died during a screening in Illinois.

  1. The Passion of the Christ (2004)

Mel Gibson’s biblical epic was criticized by some viewers for excess gore and violence in depicting the death and resurrection of Jesus. Those critics may have had a point, given that two people are known to have died during screenings of the film.

  1. Avatar (2009)

James Cameron’s 3D CGI epic Avatar marked a ground-breaking achievement in visual effects, but they unfortunately proved to be a little too stimulating for one poor soul in Taiwan. An unidentified 42-year-old man felt ill and left a showing of Avatar; by the time he reached the emergency room, he was unconscious from a severe stroke, and 11 days later he died. The man had a history of high blood pressure, and doctors blamed his death on “over-excitement from watching the movie.”

  1. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010)

A lot of people say they would rather die than watch Twilight, but how many people have actually done it? One that we know of, and it’s really a sad story. 23-year-old Damian Anthony Smythe sneaked into a screening of The Twilight Saga: Eclipse in Wellington, New Zealand during the summer of 2010, and was found unresponsive when the lights came up — with an empty one-litre bottle of whiskey on the floor next to him.

Does 2016 feel like the 90’s? We investigate!

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2016 is only halfway done and already seems so eventful! Some may agree, other may not; one thing that everybody can agree on however, is the fact that 2016 is the year of comebacks. #Throwback has been given a whole new meaning these past six months. With the return of trends in not only fashion, but also film, television, politics and lifestyle, 2016 is being called the new and improved late 90’s & early 2000’s. Here’s why:

Film

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An infant, adopted by apes eventually becomes the king of the jungle; everybody is familiar with this story. It is of course, the legend of Tarzan. Back in 1999, Disney came out with the animated version of the story by Edgar Rice, which would lead to numerous renditions of the story in film, TV and gaming, following its popularity among children.

Fast forward 17 years, those very children have made sure that Tarzan is still running in theatres. Now don’t get us wrong, it might not be the same film, but the 2016 take on the legendary story won the hearts of critics and audiences alike.

Television

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‘I’ll be there for you’ has become synonymous with the hit TV series that aired from 1994 to 2004. F.R.I.E.N.D.S. gained popularity in the mid 90’s and it seems as though this popularity is in no mood to go away from the show. Though it has been over 12 years since the last episode aired, the show is becoming more and more popular, even with the youngsters, who were infants when the show was being aired!

In February 2016, the cast of FRIENDS (barring Matthew Perry) had a small reunion of sorts during the show organized as a tribute to director James Burrows, where they shared a few memories from their time together on set.

Lifestyle

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When somebody says ‘return of trends’, one’s mind automatically goes to fashion. There have been a lot of fashion trends that are making a comeback this year. During the 90’s we would see young girls with butterfly clips and scrunchies in their hair, chokers around their necks, trying to copy the plaid ensembles donned by Cher and Dion in Clueless.

It seems like not just these, but many other fashion trends are making a comeback since the beginning of the year. Soon, we shall witness boys and girls looking like they’ve stepped out of a scene from The Breakfast Club, with flared jeans, dungarees, crimped hair, bandana patters and chokers taking over the fashion world by storm.

Gaming

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Back in 2000, 5 pm meant only one thing for every school going child – Pokémon! The year after that saw a flood of Pokémon merchandize hitting the shelves of stores worldwide. What stood out the most was probably the game played with the Pokémon trading cards. They were all the rage in 2001!

15 years after a Pokémon game being released, you would think the Pokéfever would have reduced if not completely cured. Here’s where we all were wrong. 2016 gave us one of the most trending things ever – Pokémon Go! ; a location-based augmented reality (AR) game supported by both Android and IOS and one that allowed its players to catch Pokémon around the world. Everybody’s childhood dream of being the best, the very best Pokémon trainer came true, thanks to Niantic’s AR game!

Music

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Every time you think of 90’s music you automatically think Blink 182. The American rock band formed in Poway, California in 1992, currently consists of bassist and vocalist Mark Hoppus, drummer Travis Barker, and guitarist and vocalist Matt Skiba. In 2001, their hit song, Take Off Your Pants and Jacket (sometimes referred to simply as ‘Take Off’) topped the US, UK and Canadian charts!

It seems like even after 15 years, the rock band hasn’t lost its touch. Their new album, California has managed to top every chart, just like their 2001 studio album.

Politics

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When we say politics, we are referring only to the elections going on out West! The US elections have always been the talk of the town all over the world; this year is no different. Why are we saying this year feels like 2001? Well, back in 2001, there was a Clinton running for President, just like how this year there is one. Back in 2001, Bill Clinton was the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001, and it seems like his wife, Hilary Clinton is not very behind when it comes to the political front. She is the nominee of the Democratic Party for President of the United States in the 2016 election; giving us yet again, a déjà vu feeling!

AISFM Student Aayush Agarwal, Making It Big!

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Aayush Agarwal, a student of AISFM, recently bagged a character role in the Venkatesh and Meena starrer Telugu film, Drushyam. We had a chance to catch up with our young rising-star and talk to him about his experience working in the film, his other projects and future plans. He has already worked in a motion picture, has his own YouTube channel with over fourteen thousand views, and had got offers for other films as well. Guess what? He’s not even eighteen yet!

Aayush said that that for him, working in Drushyam was an experience that helped him emotionally. After working in a film, people started taking him more seriously since they could now see his potential through that one piece of work. Every second spent during shoot was a learning experience he says.

Getting this role was not something he had not expected. It all happened during a filmmaking workshop he had attended when he was in 10th grade where he was spotted. After two whole years, he got a phone call one day and was asked to come down for an audition, and voila! He got the role.

“Though I had not performed that day during the workshop, I was spotted amongst the crowd. Maybe at that time the way I looked was similar to what they were looking for. What surprised me the most was the fact that they remembered me even after two years”

Even though he’s born and brought up in Hyderabad, his major shortcoming is speaking in Telugu. On asking why he hasn’t joined a language class, he said that he wants to learn the dialect and modulations and emotions behind the language which according to him, no class can teach. His hesitation in speaking this new language faded  during his conversation with Rana Daggupati, at the same filmmaking workshop, who helped get him out of his shell a little bit.

Apart from acting, Aayush is also a YouTuber. His channel has got 211 subscribers and over 14,000 views. For him, YouTube is a medium through which he can showcase his talent. Coming from a typical Marwadi family, he certainly had some restrictions. These for him were challenges that he had to over come. After being given his first camera by his father, he knew that he now had to prove himself to his family. He waiting for a crew only held him back, so he decided to take things in his own hands. His videos are directed, shot, edited and broadcasted by him alone. Though in such a short duration, he has so many subscribers, his happiness lies elsewhere.

“The views and subscribers are not things I take pride in. The expression my father had on his face when he saw me on the big screen is worth so much more than any number of followers or views.”

Talking about his life at AISFM, Aayush is a BFA (Film+Media) student specializing in Advertising and Digital Marketing. There is a lot of work, practical and theoretical, he says, that goes into the course. The faculty is supportive and the facilities and opportunities that are provided are better than other schools. The class is interactive and not at all boring so it helps non-readers excel too, he says.

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