Award Winning Sound Designer at AISFM

‘Sound design’ is a specialized aesthetic technique that only international filmmakers appreciate & understand. Very few Indian filmmakers apply this to their films – and they readily stand out from the crowd. With the recent Oscar Award for Sound for Resul Pookutty, majority of Indian filmmakers woke up to the idea of ‘sound design.’ But, AISFM Sound Design Department visionaries have always aspired to bring in awareness of the importance of sound design to their students.

As a part of this mission, AISFM brought in four-time National Award winner Anup Mukhopadhyay for an intense workshop for its students. The weeklong workshop started on October 11th in AISFM’s state-of-the art preview theater, recently named, ‘SHIVA.’

Mr. Mukhopadhyay has more than 600 movies to his credit, some of which are simply of international standards. He generously shared his experiences, technique & artistic philosophy with AISFM students in an intense hands on workshop.

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Taking us through the journey of his career, he spoke about the future of the field and how students can make a strong career in sound design. Here are snippets of the very interesting workshop and subsequent interview:

An insight into sound design:

It all started in the year 1927, Mr. Anup said, and right from then the philosophy of sound design has been to connect with people’s emotions. Sound is something that must be felt. “70% of a movie constitutes the sound,” he emphasized. It is through sound design that cacophony is converted into symphony and that makes all the difference in a movie.

Initially, different sound tracks were clubbed together for the final outcome but sound design makes the entire process seamless, he said, underscoring its importance once again. When asked about his favorite movie in terms of sound design, he answered, Once Upon A Time In the West, adding that it had “fantastically designed sound.”

How did it all begin for Mr. Anup?

It was the year 1971, he reflected. There was a lot of turbulence in Bengal and times were pretty tough. He accidentally stumbled upon the FTII brochure for admissions and decided to give it a shot.

Mr. Anup was one among the 10 students selected to study at the then elite college, FTII. He beat thousands of applicants to secure a seat and that’s where his journey started. There was no looking back for him after that.

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His thoughts on AISFM &advice for the students

“What a person would generally take 15 years to learn in the industry, a film school like AISFM teaches in two”, he said, highlighting that our students had a great opportunity to learn and make a successful career in sound design. Furthermore, he was impressed by how attentive all our students were and how everyone was warm and welcoming.

If you are focused, patient, and have a sound mind with a zest to closely listen to a number of movies, you have what it takes to be the next star in sound design. Along with that word of encouragement, he smiled and said “don’t bunk classes!”

Our students were enthralled through the workshop, and why not? It was a very educational and extremely valuable session that could change their future.

AISFM Students Explore TV Production House

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Apart from classroom learning, enriching field trips contribute to the exposure of students to the real world and the industry.

Our MMBA 3rd Semester students visited TV 5 office, along with MMBA Faculty MNVVK Chaitanya recently and gained valuable insights. Summarizing the experience, faculty Chaitanya said, “The session started with orientation about the organisational structure (TV5 group), departmental functioning/affairs and their description, details about equipment (cameras and lighting setups, in addition to chroma keying, functioning of PCR and MCR, interface between marketing and editorial teams, interfaces between input and output desks, importance of select HR policies and procedures (related to TV production), comparison between national TV networks and regional TV networks, select programming/content strategies for USA markets and branding partnerships that TV5 had entered into. There was an entire tour of all departments across all floors, ending with a Q&A session/doubt clarifications.”

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Students cherished this visit to a working TV Production house and felt it was the important facets of their learning during the semester. Sanjeev Nair felt that it helped him internalize the theory taught to him so far in news production; Sanskrity Patra said she gained insights into the actual industry dynamics and increased her adaptability skills, to specifically tune to the industry requirements.

Chaitanya opined that this sort of an industry integration and industry interface opens up new vistas and horizons in the broader areas of curriculum development and academic readiness to launch new modules in news production/broadcasting, in addition to knowing the skill gaps from industry practitioners.

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Dinesh Akula, Editor, TV 5, and a visiting faculty to AISFM said that it was a positive and significant learning experience for students. Elaborating about the session he said, “TV production, broadcast rules and theory, audience meter and analytics related to BARC and ratings, how to produce news/TV programmes from scratch to going on air, media business and production business, industry career and in-depth analysis with students on what they have in mind and how can they be placed. We also took a studio tour learning how it all works online/offline from the conception of an idea to telecast.”

Mr. Akula also felt students of AISFM were enthusiastic, eager to learn and very articulate in expressing their thoughts, hence gained a lot of insights during this visit.

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Evade Subrahmanyam fame Nag Ashwin at AISFM

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One of his first short films headed straight to the Cannes, no less! Then his first directorial debut was not just a hit film but was also critically acclaimed. Nag Ashwin, young and upcoming writer/director, had an interactive session with our students.

In 2013 his short film titled Yaadon Ki Baraat was selected for the Cannes Short Film Corner.

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Before his directorial debut Yevade Subramanyam, Ashwin had worked on a few films as an assistant director including on Sekhar Kammula’s Leader and Life Is Beautiful.

He’s currently busy in pre-production of his pioneering bio pic Mahanati in Telugu/Tamil/Malayalam on the life of the late legendary southern actress Savitri.

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Talking about his journey in films, he spoke at length about the hard lessons he learnt shooting in the most unfavorable circumstances in Himalayas with absolutely no vehicles at their disposal. He had to keep the crew & cast morale amidst snow, subzero temperatures, and virtually no oxygen in some places. He shared with students that his passion & only passion for his story & characters could keep him going. Nothing else.

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Our Dean of Academics and Faculty, Direction & Screenwriting, Bala Rajasekharuni, addressing the students said, “Ashwin is a good role model to the upcoming filmmakers, since he’s from a film school and he stuck to his passion while choosing his film subjects. Evade Subramanyamis a classic example of how one can write from their heart and at the same time honor the commercial realities of the industry. A delicate balance, which Ashwin achieved with his debut, which is remarkable. This balance is what we try to teach at AISFM all the time.”

The art of ‘screening’ it right!

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Film post-production is not just about the editing, sound design, VFX and DI processes. It is the workflow at the end of the above processes that if got right, makes ‘all the’ difference for the screening of a film in the theatre; more than ever in today’s era of Digital Cinema where technology is evolving constantly!

Most student filmmakers are mainly fascinated with the selection of the cameras that they are shooting in, the audio-visual editing aesthetics and the color correction during the DI stage.

But what exactly happens AFTER DI and audio mixing?

Do the files come back to the editor?

Who is responsible for the final audio visual syncing and theatrical exhibition?

How do we ensure that the audience across the oceans see the uniform color and look that we strived for during the shoot and post processes?

How does it reach a theatre/multiple theatres across the globe at the same time?

How do the theatre calibrations affect the sound and visual delivery?

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For the benefit of the students, a Master Class was conducted by the AISFM Editing Department, where Kishore Reddy, General Manager, Marketing and Operations, Qube Cinema Technologies, held an interactive and engaging Master Class session titled – “Why Digital Cinema,” where all these questions and more were answered along with a historical perspective. Qube Cinema is a company that has vast experience in the production, post-production and exhibition industries. A subsidiary of India-based Real Image Media Technologies, Qube Cinema draws on decades of domain expertise in the media and entertainment space.

The specialised technical Master Class workshop was for the senior edit, cine, sound and MBA students and covered varied topics like Necessity of Digital Cinema and DCI, Process workflow of Digital Cinema (finishing and distribution stage), Pipeline from the DI post facility to the theatre screens, brief overview of the different stages, Colour and delivery standards/ parameters + Cross conversions, Standardisation, Prevalent data packaging formats (DCP, DCDM, etc.), Servers (QUBE, SCRABBLE, UFO, etc.), Understanding  different types of audio calibration in theatres (Dolby – 5.1/ 7.1/ Atmos/ Auro, etc.), Projectors, Digital Theatre Broadcast (transmission) and decryption, etc.

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Adherence to intense encryption methods/processes and regulations for data security was stressed, with case studies of film piracy.  Business models for producers and distributors were also discussed.

Students thoroughly enjoyed the Master Class and interacted with Mr. Kishore Reddy to learn more about the field of theatrical exhibition.  He also discussed about the DCP options available to the student filmmakers.

Sania Mirza & Neha Dhupia visit AISFM

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Interacting with celebrities of all walks of life and learning about their life experiences is an integral part of AISFM campus life. However, this time, it’s an interesting combination of two personalities – one a film star and an accomplished sportsperson together.

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Celebrated international tennis star Sania Mirza and talented and beautiful actress Neha Dhupia visited our campus recently. They interacted with our students at length, spending quality time with them; answering their queries about their life experiences… students thoroughly enjoyed the interactions with both these stars.

Sania Mirza appreciated the film school’s facilities and expertise that helped her with a recording project.

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Neha Dhupia spoke about the importance of learning the craft of filmmaking and shared her thoughts on the value of trained directors and technicians in the film industry. She said, “Some people are gifted, yet they like to educate themselves. The strongest weapon that you can have in today’s day and age is education. A lot of people think that if you don’t want to study then you can be a part of films. But that is not true, because the most successful writers, directors and even actors are the ones who are educated in the craft and that’s what sets them apart from the rest of us.”

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Lauding the efforts of AISFM she added, “AISFM facilities and ambience are amazing. The venue, the sound team, the recordists, I feel like I am at home with family. The equipment is top-class, the technicians are top class.”

AISFM Inaugural Session 2017, A Great Start!

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Bright smiles and eager faces of our new set of students said it all! The AISFM Inaugural Session of 2017 welcoming the students and their families into the AISFM fold, was celebrated at N Convention Hall.

The session started off with a flourish with a montage of all the nine Grad Films of our graduating batch which proudly showcased their learning, hard work and finesse!

The Chief Guest for the session was renowned film director Radha Krishna Jagarlamudi, popularly known as Krish, known for his Telugu hits like ‘Gamyam’, ‘Vedam’, ‘Gautamiputra Satakarni’ and Kangana Ranaut’s Hindi historical ‘Manikarnika’ which is under production. Lauding the students’ choice of school, he said, “all you students have chosen a very strong and good film school that has high level of expertise in cinema & backed by Annapurna Studios; no other school is better than AISFM.” Appreciating the grad films that he saw, he regretted that he did not have a chance like these students to learn at a film school. Reminiscing about a chat he had with our founder, the legendary Akkineni Nageshwara Rao, he said, “ANR garu had said that cinema is an amalgamation of multiple arts and crafts and the synthesis of all these elements form a beautiful art called cinema.” He recollected his journey of becoming a filmmaker and how he would sometimes wait outside Annapurna Studios to get a peek, and how later a long & hard determined journey brought him to the same studios as a working director on Manikarnika recently.  He encouraged AISFM students, “If I can do it, you can do it.”

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Krish then advised the students, “be passionate in doing whatever you do and absorb as much as you can from your classes. You have a great chance to learn and experience here in the live studios, be open minded and a team player. Hard work is more important than talent, and of course endurance.” He ended on a thoughtful note, “if we are failing to prepare, we are preparing to fail, so work really hard and be passionate.”

Renowned Hollywood business expert, author and President of FilmProfit, Jeffrey Hardy who is our Academic Advisor sent in his wishes for the students along with a message. He said, “I feel honoured, to be asked by the Dean, to be a part of the group that is advising particularly MMBA students. I think the business side of business is what I focus my life on and it is the business side of business is what makes everything run well. You can’t just think only about the creative side, you have to do good production, you have to have them well-managed, you have to do good distribution, you have to look for every opportunity in the market, you have manage it well, manage relationships with exhibitors and distributors and everyone else.”

Bob Brown, popular Hollywood Action Director, known for blockbusters like Transformers, Mission Impossible, Terminator, xXx , sent in his message too and said, “AISFM is a state-of-the-art international film school and is a great place to learn.”

Reputed Hollywood writer, Paul Guay who has penned titles like Jim Carrey’s Liar Liar, Little Rascals and Heartbreakers congratulated the new batch of AISFM for getting into the school. He said, “When Dean Bala Raj invited me to be an Academic Advisor for their Screenwriting program, I took time to study the school. I was impressed with all aspects of AISFM. I haven’t seen any film school that’s located on the studio lots like AISFM. You’re going to have a great learning experience and a fun ride.”

Iconic Indian director S.S. Rajamouli who created the prestigious grand epic ‘Bahubali,’ too sent in his words of advice and best wishes for the young and enthusiastic students and said, “absorb, learn, get exposed to life in the AISFM campus itself and work hard.”

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Our Honorary Director, Amala Akkineni, while officially inaugurating the new academic year 2017, shared her thoughts about how the school came into existence, “the legendary actor and AISFM Founder Akkineni Nageswara Rao would have been proud to see you all here, especially with our current students covering the event on video. It was his dream to start a school. He had said, ‘It is not enough to create a place of work but a place to train and educate is needed’ and that is how this school started. He didn’t go to any film school but he learnt by working hard as a trainee, as an apprentice. He felt that most Indian youngsters could not have access to international film & media schools, hence he started AISFM right in Hyderabad, with international standards.”

Her words of advice for the students were, “Take the plunge into learning, be passionate and become a learner for life. Don’t forget to play, have fun and enjoy. Nobody succeeds if you do not enjoy. Make friends and build a network and create wonderful work together. Your critics will push you forward, take criticism constructively and positively, learn from them and grow with them. Learn to observe, silence the judge in you and observe. You will learn every aspect of film and media here. Technology is changing every day, so create your own unique niche and remember you are special. I believe that we have the future ANR, Christopher Nolan and Rajamouli amongst the students’ right here.”

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Our Dean of Academics and Faculty, Direction & Screenwriting, Bala Rajasekharuni, addressing the students said, “Give your best in one area of your passion, then you will do good in other areas too. It is the time of meeting points of arts, education, commerce and technology. AISFM is a liberal arts school and its curriculum reflects the nature of the world today. The school is relevant to today’s times, because it has a unique structure of specializations, areas of passion and areas of technical expertise which is a craft for survival that gets ready jobs in the industry. Value interdisciplinary study in integrated phase of your degree, since today’s world is an integration of audio & visual media whether it is film, television, internet, or cell phones, all of them are at a meeting point, which demands multi-talented professionals.”

He further congratulated the parents who have allowed their children to pursue their passion and added, “To call ourselves an international school, it’s not enough to just have an international syllabus. AISFM is a true international school because; we have a global vision, and are building a strong international advisory board for all departments by the end of this year. Already three Hollywood experts are on board and many others are on their way in.”

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Padma Ramesh, Faculty, Liberal Arts & Business Communications, spoke of the importance of short and long term goals, positive attitude, creative thinking, teamwork, commitment and briefed them about the rules and regulations of the school and urged them to be good brand ambassadors of the school.

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Alumni Meher Kilaru and Preksha Trivedi spoke about their learnings at AISFM and how it made a difference in their lives. Meher, who is a student from the 1st batch, recollected his journey at the school and how Nagarjuna Akkineni called him to talk about marketing strategies for the movie Manam and how his words of advice of ‘Think big, what’s stopping you?’ still ring true to him in every aspect of life today. After working on Manam and Meelo Evaru Koteeswarudu, he is now working with Radio Mirchi 98.3; he advised the students to “never lose the fire within to pursue your passion, never stop educating yourself and never lose the ability to watch a film as a common audience.” Preksha echoed the same thoughts and said, “I joined AISFM because I love movies and I had an opportunity to learn, what followed were two years of brilliant learning experience. So do everything you can and keep learning.”

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The students were then addressed by our in-house counsellor Diana Monteiro, who spoke about parenting styles and how it is important for children to have hard experiences for a life education.

The event concluded with ice breaker group activities organized by Faculty Amit Prasad, Sai Gokul Ramnath and Dr. Vijaya Raghava with freshmen as the participants.  The impromptu skits were received by the crowd with laughs, cheers and applause.

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Working Towards Students’ Future

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AISFM is always working towards making their students ready with all required facets of talents to face the real world challenges. Students are trained to take up internships, jobs and assignments and come out with flying colors. We constantly take all the steps necessary to make our students job worthy while they are still on campus. Our talent pool attracts top brand placement partners from various fields.

We are extremely happy to announce that the following companies have joined our panel of placement partners; who will review student performance and profiles; and potentially offer internships or even placements to high-performing students.

Placement Partners for Internship/Placements:
– Ebani Advertising
– Nutshell Advertising
– 94.3 Radio Fever FM

During the January – June 2017 semester, AISFM witnessed a series of visits and interactions with an array of prestigious companies and well-known film industry personalities. Students got a chance to interact with these experts and companies about the industry realities.

Here is the list of companies & industry professionals who visited AISFM recently.

  • Target River
  • TV5
  • Star Maa
  • Box Caravan
  • Video Source Studios
  • Nutshell Advertising
  • Janrise
  • Guru Group
  • The Hans India
  • Drone
  • Ebani Advertising
  • Sound Spirit Events
  • Arka Media – Bahubali
  • Skill Mapped
  • Toonz
  • Raastas
  • Deep Red Ink
  • Green Gold Animation
  • Flat Pebble
  • Director Ayodhya Kumar
  • Praveen Pudi (Tollywood Editor)
  • Director Harinath
  • Director Upendra Madhav
  • Director Nandini Reddy
  • DoP – Rami Reddy
  • Editor Sreekar Prasad
  • DoP – Raju Garu Gadi
  • Dil Raju Production

AISFM Film Fest Showcases Students’ Splendid Work

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Hollywood Business Expert joins AISFM Business Administration Program

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AISFM in its ever striving approach for bringing in the best in each field now brings on board renowned Hollywood business expert, author and President of FilmProfit, Jeffrey Hardy as an Advisor for its Business Administration Degree program.

Jeffrey Hardy who has consulted for companies like 20th Century Fox, Walt Disney Company, Eastman Kodak, BBC, Universal Music Group and many others, will now be an Academic & Industry Advisor for AISFM, and will also offer Master Classes for the AISFM students.

Jeffrey Hardy is the President of FilmProfit, co-author of FilmProfit software and the sole author of The FilmProfit Guide to Film Distribution Deals, a respected primer to deals in key film distribution markets.

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Mr. Hardy has acted as an expert resource for The Hollywood Reporter, Fortune Magazine, The Washington Times, WSYR radio, The Black Film Report, as well as many other publications. FilmProfit contributed to The Independent Film and Videomaker’s Guide (2nd ed.) and the Independent Filmmaker’s Guide to Writing a Business Plan for Investors (1stand 2nd ed.).

Jeffrey has also provided business and strategic planning for over 100 motion picture projects, with budgets ranging from the micro level to $100 million.

With Jeffrey Hardy’s involvement, AISFM’s pioneering MMBA program is ready to grow to international standards by preparing the students for their careers in the global arena. This unique Business Management program with a combination of core conventional business subjects as well as rapidly expanding media & entertaninment components is already becoming the most desirable degree for these changing times.

 

Kandaswamy Bharathan joins MMBA Advisory Board at AISFM

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Well-known Producer of award winning films such as Roja, Annamalai, Muthu and many others Kandaswamy Bharathan is now on the MMBA Advisory Board of AISFM.

An alumnus of Indian Institute of Management – Ahmedabad (IIMA), he joined the renowned Chennai based production house Kavithalayaa, more than two decades ago and has held various leadership roles. He was the Executive Producer of many award winning films such as Roja, Annamalai, Muthu and others.

Bharathan’s in-depth knowledge and understanding of the entertainment industry has led him being a sought-after advisor. He was Business Advisor to many multinational companies and governments. In his individual capacity, he advises many entertainment and media companies in the areas of strategy, leadership and innovation.

Bharathan is also an Adjunct Faculty at IIM-Ahmedabad, Indian School of Business and other leading B-schools. He played a key role in designing and teaching India’s first management course on entertainment industry for IIMA.

Bharathan has contributed to knowledge development by writing a few case-studies on the Indian film industry, highlighting the business challenges in a creative industry. He regularly speaks at events across the globe and is currently on the Governing Council of Indo-Japan Chamber of Commerce & Industry. Bharathan was an invited speaker at the international seminar “Hollywood meets Bollywood” hosted by the University of Southern California Annenberg School of Communication in collaboration with American India Foundation (AIF).

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A visionary manager who saw professionalism and innovation as essential to the survival and growth of the Indian film industry, Bharathan spends time proactively advocating the concept. His unique training module “Management lessons in excellence from the film industry” is very popular among corporate executives. Currently, he is active in “Green Cinema”, an initiative to promote environment friendly best practices in film production.

Bharathan also devotes quality time to the community and currently is actively involved with two activities; he is the Trustee on the Boards of V-excel Educational Trust and ALERT – We Care.