Celluloid courses and careers
Be it a passion for films, serials or documentaries, there are enough takers for related courses to merit the mushrooming of the many film institutes, says Priyanjali Ghose
Your son has completed his preuniversity exams or graduation and wants to take up film-making as a profession? Don’t be aghast. Well, he is not the only one. The recent years have witnessed a sudden growth of film schools and more youngsters are seen opting for film making and acting as their careers.
“There is a demand and youngsters want to do different kind of courses not run-of-the-mill ones,” said N Shahshidhra, Secretary of Suchitra Film Society in Bangalore. “Now this is also considered as an alternative respectable career and it is well accepted in society.”
Film schools all over the country provide both long-term and short-term courses to young people who are interested in exploring something out of the box.
Whistling Woods International, Mumbai, which at present trains 300 students from both India and overseas has a two year degree programme. For the first six months, students undergo foundation training in film-making to help them understand the art of story telling and gain exposure to several aspects of the art.
After the first year it offers eight specialisations in courses like acting, producing, editing, cinematography, direction and so on. The fees range from Rs 8,00,000 to Rs 14, 00,000, depending on the choice of the specialisation. The institute also offers education loans to students from economically weaker backgrounds. Scholarships are given on the basis of merit after the completion of one year.
Institutes like Suchitra Film Society offer short duration courses in cinematography, film appreciation, and scriptwriting to “sharpen the sensibilities of the participants in cinema”, said Shashidhara.
Centre for Film and Drama, Bangalore, also conducts short programmes on film making, which ideally cost around Rs 10,000. It also offers weekend programmes. Every year the institute holds a month-long film acting programme conducted by veteran writers AS Murthy and Gowri Dattu. In 2010, CFD plans to launch full time programmes in filmmaking, film editing, cinematography and sound editing.
Adarsh Film Institute, Bangalore, is a state government aided institute which offers year long courses in various aspects of film making.
The eligibility criterion for most of these schools is higher secondary pass or graduation. Most of these schools claim to have tie ups with production houses and therefore assure campus placements.
John Jr Lee, Dean, Whistling Woods International says that every year companies like Mukta Arts, Red Chillies (owned by Shahrukh Khan), NIC (Nagesh Kuknoor’s), Dharma Productions, BR Films and so on visit the institute for campus placements.
“We have a career week dedicated for placements, which is scheduled for June every year,” he said.
Along with film schools, regular colleges like Christ College in Bangalore incorporates papers on film studies as part of courses like Mass Communication and Masters in English. The Media Studies Department in the college also runs a certificate course in film analysis, which costs Rs 1000 and is open to all. Scholarships are given to deserving students after scrutiny.
Anil Pinto, in charge of the certificate course in Christ College, felt that such courses help the students gain exposure and try their hands in what interests them.
“Youth from Tier I and Tier II cities get a lot of exposure, which in turn gives them dreams and confidence to look for a career in the film industry,” said Pinto.
However, whether it is advisable for students to wait till they are old enough to apply for such courses remains a question.
“I would think so, till at least they finish their PUC, because film making also involves a lot of technicalities, which is better understood if you know the basics of science,” said Kishore Acharya, an actor and director who has been a part of Kannada serials like Hambala, Mugilu and films like Haro Hakkiyanneri. “Even for an acting course it will be helpful to know the language, grammar, works of different authors and poets, etc.”
Acharya, who is also an engineer, added that nowadays people irrespective of their age and profession are joining this “passion-driven industry.”
However, there are those who do not agree with Acharya about the necessity of an age-bar or qualification to take up film-making as a vocation.
“Seize the opportunity! Why should one wait when there is so much demand for technicians and artistes across film and television?” said John Jr Lee. “It is not age but maturity that decides their eligibility for the industry.”
Prakash Belawadi, filmmaker and a trainer in CFD, said that how much acting and filmmaking can be learnt from such courses is debatable.
“Ask yourself this: Can anybody sing even with the best training? It takes something else that comes with the package, right?” he asks. However, Himanshu Gautum, a post graduate student pursuing a diploma course in Film and Television from LV Prasad Film Academy, Chennai felt that such courses do help.
Master the art
“Yes, without learning it’s not possible to specialise in the particular field,” he said.
“These institutes help students to introduce their creativity to themselves.”
Lee, while agreeing to the fact that filmmaking requires inborn talent, felt that such courses develop the skill and train students to be professionals.
“You are born with talent; training hones your talent and helps you become a successful professional by putting you on the right path and inculcates discipline and endurance for a long term successful career,” he said.
In the midst of these conflicting opinions, film schools continue to mushroom all over the country.
“As long as there are people with dreams and disposable incomes, these courses will have future and remain popular,” said Anil Pinto. “Since entertainment industry is growing in leaps and bounds the trend will continue.”
Film institutes in India
*Film and Television Institute of India, Pune
(Besides 3-year and 1-year courses, FTII also conducts month-long workshop on film appreciation)
Law College Road,
Pune - 411 004
Ph: 020- 25431817 / 25433016 / 25430017
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
* SJ Polytechnic
Seshadri Road, Bangalore-560001
Ph: 080-22260508, 22265396
* Adarsh Film Institute
39, Netaji Road, Cleveland,Fraser Town
Phone: 080 2530 0886
* Suchitra Film Society
(Regular screening of critically-acclaimed movies followed by a group discussion. Workshops on film appreciation are conducted periodically)
36, BV Karanth Road,
9th main, 2nd stage,
080 - 2664 6517/ 2671 1785
* Whistling Wood Internation
Film City Complex, Goregoan(East), Mumbai 400065
Ph: 022 30916000
* Bangalore Film & Television Institute
Address: No 308, 11th cross, MPM Layout,
Nagarbavi 2nd stage,
Bangalore - 560056
Ph: 080 32411588, 9731684648
* Mumbai Film Academy
Total Film Study Courses
Karmarkar Health Spa
Next to HDFC Bank, Filmcity Road, Nr Oberoi Mall, Goregaon East, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400063
Tel. +91 9867726767
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org/ www.mumbaifilmacademy.com