TICKET TO THE MOVIE IN­DUS­TRY

With many di­rec­tors look­ing to in­vest in their own film schools, cin­ema en­thu­si­asts have plenty to look for­ward to

India Today - - COVER STORY -

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

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