‘In­dia has one of the largest film­mak­ing in­dus­tries in the world’

Hindustan Times (Lucknow) - - Education - Prakruti Ma­niar prakruti.ma­niar@htlive.com ▪

David Klein has been with the New York Film Academy (NYFA) for 24 years, over­see­ing the devel­op­ment its cam­puses in New York, Los An­ge­les, and Mi­ami.

As se­nior ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent, he over­seas the op­er­a­tions, devel­op­ment and de­liv­ery of the car­i­ous cour­ses taught at NYFA, in­clud­ing film mak­ing, game de­sign and cine­matog­ra­phy.

He spoke to HT about the me­dia and en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try in In­dia, stu­dent in­ter­est and prospects. Ex­cerpts:

over the last few years, has there been a rise in in­dian stu­dents study­ing at NYFA.

Yes, sig­nif­i­cantly. We have hosted, since 2004 over 1,000 stu­dents from In­dia at the New York Film Academy, but last year alone, 2017, we hosted 190 stu­dents at NYFA from In­dia.

With re­spect to in­dia, what has been NYFA’s strat­egy in terms of growth and ex­pan­sion?

It’s a step pro­gres­sion for us. It all be­gan in 2011, when we hosted our first film­mak­ing work­shop in Mum­bai. We didn’t have our own lo­ca­tion at that time, so we se­cured some space, brought in our staff and equip­ment and taught 84 stu­dents, and it was fan­tas­tic.

The stu­dents were so ea­ger and re­cep­tive. That was in­di­ca­tion for us that there was a ter­rific mar­ket here, and that a year-round lo­ca­tion would be wel­comed and suc­cess­ful.

It took us a few years, but we now have that lo­ca­tion at Urmi Es­tate in Lower Parel, and we’re open for short­term work­shops.

We’re cur­rently run­ning our four and eight-week Film­mak­ing Work­shops and Act­ing For Film Work­shops for adults, and in May we have added to our of­fer­ings 1-week work­shops in Film­mak­ing, Act­ing For Film, and Pho­tog­ra­phy for teens, ages 14-17.

Our plan is to of­fer our longer term, 1-year pro­grams in May of 2019.

What is your take on the me­dia and en­ter­tain­ment sec­tor in in­dia? What is in­dia’s stand with re­spect to the global in­dus­try?

In­dia has one of the largest film­mak­ing in­dus­tries in the world, and the films made in In­dia do have a global reach, for sure.

Un­for­tu­nately, in my opin­ion, the dis­tri­bu­tion of In­dian films abroad, es­pe­cially in the States, is not at ex­ten­sive as it should be.

To see In­dian films, my­self, in the States, I have to seek them out. They’re most of­ten not play­ing at my lo­cal the­atre.

I think there is still much op­por­tu­nity for In­dian film mak­ers to pro­duce films that will have ex­ten­sive wide ap­peal. The fact is that peo­ple want good sto­ries. That’s re­ally it, and that’s what we fo­cus on at the Film Academy.

Are there more prospects for stu­dents? What are the kind of new me­dia ca­reers they can look for­ward to?

Op­por­tu­ni­ties in the film and me­dia in­dus­tries con­tinue to ex­pand, both on the tech­nol­ogy side and the cre­ative side.

Vir­tual re­al­ity is still an emerg­ing field, we’re still ex­plor­ing the tech­nol­ogy, it’s still im­prov­ing and we’re still fig­ur­ing out how to use the tech­nol­ogy in our sto­ry­telling. This is a big op­por­tu­nity for stu­dents en­ter­ing the mar­ket now.

Ad­di­tion­ally, there are more av­enues of dis­tri­bu­tion for vis­ual me­dia than ev­ery be­fore.

Tele­vi­sion has emerged in the last sev­eral years as a place for high qual­ity con­tent. Not to long ago there was a big di­vide be­tween cin­ema and tele­vi­sion.

The top film­mak­ers would not cre­ate work for the small screen (TV), it was the big screen or noth­ing at all.

Nowa­days, no­body is turn­ing their nose up at TV, and the shows we get to watch in the com­fort of our own homes or on our mo­bile de­vices have a cine­matic qual­ity and sto­ries to match the qual­ity of what’s com­ing out of Hol­ly­wood. Speak­ing of mo­bile de­vices, that’s another big change for film­mak­ers and me­dia artists.

Twenty years ago, the only way for a new film­maker to get his work seen was to sub­mit it to film festivals.

Now you can reach the en­tire world in a mat­ter of min­utes on­line.

Fur­ther­more, more and more con­tent is be­ing cre­ated specif­i­cally for the In­ter­net.

The web se­ries is some­thing that few of us could have imag­ined two decades ago.

Any plans for ex­pan­sion of the in­dia cam­pus?

Ex­pan­sion is al­ways on our mind, be­cause we want to bring our style of learn­ing to any­body with a pas­sion for the film and re­lated arts.

For now, how­ever, we’re fo­cused on our cam­pus in Mum­bai. Nonethe­less, part of that fo­cus is de­ter­min­ing where through­out In­dia we need to of­fer our work­shops. What I mean by that is that our lo­ca­tion in Mum­bai af­fords us a greater op­por­tu­nity to bring our work­shops to other parts of the coun­try at var­i­ous times dur­ing the year.

It’s much eas­ier to trans­port our equip­ment and fac­ulty from Mum­bai to Hy­der­abad, Ben­galuru, Delhi or Kochi, for ex­am­ple, than it is to trans­port our staff and all of our equip­ment from New York or Los An­ge­les.

Now that we have a home in In­dia, you can ex­pect to see us around.

▪ David Klein

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