Students seek stalwarts' support as GFTI reels under crisis

Film institute in time warp

Students seek stalwarts' support  as GFTI reels under crisis

 As filmmakers from across the globe take part in Bengaluru International Film Festival (Biffes), students from the state’s film institute scramble to get a decent education.

Students of the Government Film and Television Institute (GFTI) in the city are approaching filmmakers to draw their attention to the problems in the institute.

“The rest of the world has moved on from film cameras, but in our college we have only such outdated equipment. We do not have a single digital camera,” said Shameer Ahammed, a second year student of sound recording department. Students had raised this issue and several others at a protest in April last year. Not much has changed since then, they say.

Advisory committee

Students have urged local filmmakers to form an advisory committee so that they can make a representation to the higher education minister.

“We have spoken to directors M S Sathyu and B S Lingadevaru and they have agreed to be part of the committee. Girish Kasaravalli, G S Bhaskar, Deepa Dhanraj and G V Somashekhar have agreed to support us,” Ahammed said. The purpose of the committee is to suggest remedial measures and to develop a vision for converting it into a full-fledged film institute, he said.

GFTI is currently under the Department of Technical Education (DTE), since it was formerly part of the SJ Polytechnic.

Veteran filmmaker Kasaravalli said it was a shame that Karnataka could not maintain its only government film institute properly when other states like Kerala and Tamil Nadu have more than one and they are doing well. Both he and cinematographer Bhaskar said problems at GFTI would be taken up with the government after the festival.

‘Find guest faculty’

Crippled by the lack of trained staff, institute authorities have asked students to find guest faculty who could conduct sessions for them.

“In the cinematography department, there are no teachers besides the head of the department, who does not know the subject himself. We don’t have regular classes as well,” said Nirmal R, a first year student. As a volunteer at the festival, Nirmal is talking to cinematographers and directors to find someone who would be interested to teach them. He and other students volunteering at the fest are attending every workshop and seminar to learn all they can.

“We don’t know the basics because we have learned nothing in the first semester. When they speak in technical terms we cannot understand, but we still attend because we are eager to learn,” they said. The students are organising workshops with their own resources and are using their mobile phone cameras to practise filmmaking. 

Principal of GFTI R Vijay Kumar acknowledged that the institute lacked faculty.
“Discussions are taking place in the DTE and I am not aware of them,” he said.

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