TICKET TO THE MOVIE INDUSTRY
With many directors looking to invest in their own film schools, cinema enthusiasts have plenty to look forward to
Established in 2006 by Bollywood director Subhash Ghai, Whistling Woods International is just one of the many new film schools that are being set up across the country.
Last year, the school was ranked as one of the ten best film schools in the world by Hollywood Reporter. Budding filmmakers can opt for courses in acting, animation, cinematography, direction, editing, producing, screenwriting, sound recording and design and media management studies. " All our courses include a mix of both theoretical and practical learning. We often invite leading Indian and international filmmakers to interact with students. This not only widens their perspective but also gives them an idea of industry expectations and requirements," says Meghna Ghai- Puri, president of Whistling Woods International.
The demand for film courses is so high that Whistling Woods launched its own Virtual Academy last year which offers India’s first online film- making programme. “There is a growing demand for quality and industry- specific training in films. Students are not just interested in directing but also scripting, film analysis and production,” adds Ghai- Puri.
For many it is the networking and internship opportunities that propels them to seek admission at a film school. “Everybody know that this is a competitive industry. Getting the chance to meet and interact with key people is always helpful in the long run. I have already done a course in camera as part of my undergraduate course in journalism. But now I wish to specialise in film. It isn’t so much to learn the theory as it is to make the right contacts and gain valuable internship experience,” says Priyanka Pandey, 22, who completed her graduation from Delhi University.
Others are attracted by the sheer scale of resources and infrastructure available. From custom- built animation studios to international cinema journals and the very latest cameras and equipment, film schools know what it takes to keep their students happy. “I want to apply to the Film and Television Institute of India ( FTII) in Pune mostly because of the quality of equipment and faculty available. Film resources are expensive and often they are not even available outside of film school,” says Deep Bakshi, 21, a student from Kolkata.
But tough entrance exams and limited seats mean that not everyone can secure admission at film school. “Many students are now interested in doing short- term courses or the less competitive and low- cost diploma courses in film. They might not offer the same level of exposure as one of the top film schools in the country but they do teach you the same theory and techniques. Many of these courses also offer great internship opportunities. It is the next best option available for many students today,” says Geet Singh, a career consultant for school students based in Gurgaon.
Film students at Whistling Woods International