Film Education


Journey Teaching Film International Baccalaureate

 

Oorvazi Irani in the brown saree

 

My teaching style is in sync with the International Baccalaureate board and it is an ongoing enriching experience teaching the subject of film to young adults at the SVKM JV Parekh International school, Mumbai. Going down memory lane and sharing some past posts on the subject

MY JOURNEY TEACHING FILM AT THE SVKM IB SCHOOL (BATCH 2010 – 2012)

https://oorvazifilmeducation.wordpress.com/2012/08/17/1076/

My Journey teaching film at the SVKM IB School (Batch 2010 – 2012)
Oorvazi Irani

This is probably the only IB school in Mumbai that offers film as a subject

Introduction – What is IB
Before I talk about the subject of film and my journey I would like to share with you what is IB. The International Baccalaureate® (IB) was founded in Geneva, Switzerland in 1968 as a non-profit educational foundation. The IB works with 3,458 schools in 143 countries to offer the three IB programmes to approximately 1,043,000 students. And you would ask, how does this compare with the current system ? Of course, the current systems empower the child with sound knowledge, understanding and skills in all required fields, but their rote system of assessments pay larger emphasis on left brain usage. On the other hand, International curricula aim at developing and sharpening higher order thinking skills from an early age by involving all the functional areas of the brain. IB encourages the student to be a global citizen and understand and respect various cultures from all over the world. Being creative and original is greatly encouraged and to sum it up in the words of the president of SVKM( Shri Vile Parle Kelavani Mandal) Amrish Patel – “Where “education” goes beyond the mere cramming of pre-discovered facts and theorems and enters a realm where young minds, are designed to become inquirers, thinkers, achievers, communicators and above all Global Citizens with a conscious rooted deep in the Indian value system.
This kind of learning is exactly what I identified with and given an opportunity to teach the subject I immersed myself into it. For me as an artist and practicing filmmaker this was an exciting journey to be able to guide and mentor another young artist and keen student of cinema.

IBDP (International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme) Film:


So I started my journey with a young group of 4 students in the age group of 16 – 19 years who had chosen film as one of their subjects. I had a challenging task before me, but looking back it feels very satisfying to see them all succeed and enjoy the subject, Above all I am proud of their final student film “ “Takbir” which is sensitive and mature and is the pride of our school. The film was also projected by the school on various formal and informal platforms as a showcase which reflects all the values of IB and it felt really nice that the two years came to such a lovely conclusion. But making of a short film is just one of the projects that the students undertake and an important part of the project is the Written Commentary which includes the observations, experiences and reflections of the process of making the film itself which I think is very nice (but often neglected by students and has to be repeatedly drummed into their heads). Its as simple as maintaining a diary of records right from the day you started brainstorming about the idea to the day your film was complete but ofcourse in a format that is specified in which it gets submitted has to be adhered too,.

Film Syllabus Outline:
Given below are the three projects that the students undertake, however the making of the film along with the Written Commentary is 50% of the marks and is internally marked (moderated after that by IB) and the other projects are externally marked and moderated. The subject of film is offered as SL (Standard Level) and HL (Higher Level) (The differentials between SL and HL are both quantitative and qualitative. All my students took Film HL.

So as a teacher I had to guide them through all the projects, yet not spoon feed them. Discover the artists in them and also make them thorough with the history of cinema and understand the art and craft of filmmaking. Each class could not be theory but each class could not be just fun either and slowly we both – student and teacher found a meeting ground. But what was most important as a journey as a teacher was to be able to gain the trust of each student and the process was a learning curve for me too. Also each project helps them understand and execute the other projects, there is a learning that beautiful blends into each other.

Below is a brief discussion on each project:

Textual Analysis
The detailed study of film sequences

This project encourages the student to find the entire essence of the ocean in one drop, exploring the macrocosm in the microcosm. To be more specific a 5 minute extract is explored to discover the entire gamut of film theory and history and the language of cinema ofcourse in relation to the film and its specifications. I will not go into the details of the project but it was a nice way to engage the students directly with cinema and make them realize the importance of each scene in a film and that each part contains the essence of the whole. The presentation of this project was a audio recording where the student discusses the scene with a few prescribed areas but the student is not allowed to read the notes and thus it’ encourages an understanding and reflection rather than a mere cut paste attitude which many projects give way too like in school. Infact how many projects in school have been done by parents, neighbours, sibblings and not the student themselves, I feel this approach helps to engage with the topic and make the student personally participate.

Film theory and history
The study of films and film-making traditions from more than one country.

More than any other project it is here that students are encouraged to explore and understand various cultures from different parts of the world. Sensitizing them to different ways of experience and living. Here the format of presentation is an audio visual script with film clips from different cultures but under a topic that allows this exploration in film history/theory and cinematic language. The challenge in IB is always to be able to discover the area of interest of the student and then develop his exploration in a related field of cinematics. As doing a project should not be a mere exercise but something that excites the student to want to know more about. So if one of my students loved the western genre he probed deeper into it, keeping the language of cinema as a strong base to the study, another student was a sports enthusiast and no wonder the sports genre excited him, while yet another student loved literature and Shakespeare and thus that came to be part of her project topic, last but not the least was a student who loved the horror genre so I encouraged him to understand it deeper and was a beautiful medium to look at horror from the cultural viewpoint of different countries.

Creative Process (Film production)
The development of creative, analytical and production skills within film-making

This project is the most challenging and at the same time satisfying. It is the project that is the one main component that showcases to the outside world the 2 years gone past and if its good, its like a trophy in itself for the students and the teacher.
The film project can be made individually or in a group. They were a group of 4 students and thus since one wanted to be a director the others chose the relevant key areas of interest – script, sound, editing and the process began.

But the creative process could begin only when they knew their own voices. Very early in the course I started my small efforts in trying to discover the personal and creative world of the students as I had to discover with them their unique individual creative voice. It was during one simple autobiographical exercise session in class in which I discovered a very important aspect of the director student. I just knew without pushing it that this was a breakthrough that will come to use. When we latter had the brainstorming sessions I reminded him of this special incident and he acknowledged it but it was not really completely accepted. It was my duty to bring it to light and then see If the idea grows in him. The idea took birth and then died a silent death and then came back to life again now to be made into a reality. What is special about the student film “Takbir” is that’s it’s a film by an auteur. To confess, I was a bit nervous if all will go well and I did not believe it would turn out as good as it did, as I felt there could be more time dedicated by the students to the film preparation, but then it being another subject in school I could not be very hard on them. And I was always emotionally blackmailed for more time to complete an exercise due to heavy homework and deadlines from other subjects. But they proved to be more competent than I imagined and did a great job of working together inspite of the small quarrels off and on, in which I sometimes had to intervene. Interestingly film as a subject in IB, knows the nature of the artform being a collaborative process and therefore stresses that a healthy working relationship is very important and how as a team they achieve their film project and go through the entire process from making an idea into a reality.

I was clear that the choice of actors would be very important to make their film look and feel professional and saw to it that they got actors who with their presence and basic knowledge of theatre or cinema bring a touch of class and not make it look like an amateur student film. I helped with some key characters and I give them credit to be able to source the others themselves who were very effective too.

As usual the deadlines were close and they were still editing their film due to unavoidable circumstances and it was like a nail biting climax to a journey that was fun, challenging, and rewarding.

EE (Extended Essay)
One of the integral aspects and requirement of an IB syllabus is EE (Extended Essay) which is like a mini thesis according to me, as the stress is on originality and in-depth research. A student can select to take the subject of film for his EE and this was done by one of my students who was very sincere and dedicated and took up the study of an Auteur director. This project he says helped him immensely as a director too and for the first time he really understood the nuances of an auteur and what it meant as the essay is focused on specific films which are analyzed apart of the topic selected. It was though initially to come upon an original focus to his topic but we soon reached there and then all fell into place.

The assessment of all the projects are based on specific criteria which values research, originality, discipline, and a global outlook and understanding.

The Graduation Day:


That was the moment to take pride in – all our hardwork that we had done for the past 2 years was now coming to a conclusion. The struggle and ecstasy that we faced with each film class would now be no more but I promised to be in touch with them lifelong through my blog and thus this article is special and dedicated to each moment that we spent together.

Its said that the greatest way to learn is to teach and I too learnt a great deal ! And finally I graduated.

Infact its interesting that in my personal life I was not in a position to attend the graduation ceremony at the university and this indeed in literal terms therefore completes my education but in a very different context.

And the post is not complete without feedback from my loving students

Altamash Jaleel:

Altamash, could not find words to express the film course and is waiting for inspiration, but in the meanwhile it suffices to share an experience from our Graduation Day. Altamash had been given the privilege to share his experience of IB and I was invited part of the faculty to witness the graduation ceremony. To my pleasant surprise Altamash spoke about the subject of film and me as a teacher with such warmth and respect that I was touched. In his speech he paused, located me with his gaze in the audience and publicly thanked me for making him a director. This pause and special attention was a mark of respect and love that I will always cherish as a special moment. And as I say that respect cannot be demanded, you need to earn it. And that made me feel rich !

Anmol Sachar
Anmol has always been the first to submit all his assignments and projects and so with his feedback !
IB FILM – A JOURNEY TO REMEMBER!
When IB began, one of the worst feelings was experienced on Wednesday mornings. Why? Because I had to sit through a long, boring class of film which, made no sense to me. In my teacher, Miss Oorvazi’s eyes I probably was one of the worst student she could have got – always yawning, staring at the ceiling or sleeping with open eyes.

But a few weeks into the course and I began to get gravitated toward the subject. Gradually, the yawns turned into smiles, the staring into attentive nods and the sleep into intriguing questions. Soon I started to make sense of horrifying terms like ‘expressionism,’ ‘dollying,’ ‘auteur’ and so on, thanks to our teacher who was more of a friend who adapted a very amiable style of teaching.
As time went by, hours, days, months and a whole two years, I realized that I had transformed from just another boy who liked to shoot videos to a boy who has made a film which is already receiving a great response from the viewers. This journey has been a truly memorable and fruitful one and has certainly left an indelible mark on my mind.

I worked with a great group. Altamash tu toh apna Aamir khan nikla…kya perfectionist hai…couldn’t have had a better director than you. Kajri khuda zaalimo ka sath de na de mera toh saath deta hai ki tujh jaisi mahaan script writer ko humaare film ke liye assign kiya…u were too gud! Shrey buddy really imprssive work with the sound yaar…like the music really helps the viewer teleport into the world of ‘Takbir.’

Oorvazi Ma’am we certainly couldn’t have found a teacher matching your stature and class. The way you instilled within me the will to learn this subject, I doubt anyone could ever do. Thank you ma’am for your unparalleled guidance and support throughout this demanding course.
All in all it was a fabulous experience. Three words… WE KILLED IT!!! ;]

ANMOL THANKYOU DEAR FOR TRUSTING ME AND BEING THE GREAT STUDENT YOU TURNED OUT TO BE ! And thanks for submitting the feedback in time to upload as usual you are well in time for the deadline.

Kajri Babbar:
Her feedback was a beautiful sms and inspite of promising a further writeup, ( she is also finding the inspiration to do the same) I am sharing the sms.

“ You were more like a friend than a teacher and your classes were so warm, filled with love that you never made us really realize that you are a teacher and we need to be discreet. Mwah !
Actually I would chose you to be my bridesmaid ”
To gain the trust of a student to become a friend is a great achievement to value and you belong to their inner circle, what more can you want.

Shrey Sheth:
Last but not the least (and still waiting for inspiration like the others to write his experiences). Infact he was a student who was bright but was lagging behind on the projects and submissions but he surprised us all towards the end of the course when he decided to take things in control and gave it that final push. On the IB orientation for the new batch where parents were invited for a special event in school Shrey spoke about the subject of film and I would like to share that here. He did not say much but that one line was very special as I feel this was something that would be valuable to him the rest of his life and went beyond film as a subject and that I was instrumental in being able to make him realize that, it feels precious.

“ Oorvazi Mam always told me to think deeper and when I did I realized how important it was and what power it can unleash”

 

 

 

IB FILM EXPERIENCE: ALTAMASH JALEEL

https://oorvazifilmeducation.wordpress.com/2012/11/03/ib-film-experience-altamash-jaleel/

The IB film experience

by Altamash Jaleel

SVKM IBDP Film Class 2010-12

I began IB film with no expectations, the same way I used to before starting anything new. It came as a part of my policy. Well, the experience has only strengthened my belief with the passage of time. That’s because this particular course necessitates exploring, passing through the uncharted, unfamiliar territories. And it has been, without a shred of doubt, the most fantastic learning experience. And it’s all kudos to Ms Oorvazi Irani for instilling the persistence, resilience and tact required to handle the subject of film within the 4 students that occupied a quiet classroom.

Those three hours of continuous discussion were gruelling, not to mention the amount of books and documents based on film research we had to handle! But the important thing was that every lesson bore fruit and that’s the lesson we will always have as a keepsake.

The course and assignments:

 I think the course is very well systemized to equip students with foundation skills in filmic analysis and appreciation. For those who learn to appreciate films and respect the various layers in meaning of a film realize that watching a film is not just a visual, rather, a visceral experience.

After completing the various assignments like the Oral Analysis and Independent Study, I found myself examining films in a very different light. It’s amazing how you find yourself talking for fifteen minutes about any film scene that barely lasted for 5 minutes, as we were expected to perform for the oral analysis. I was fortunate to analyse the famed café sequence from Casablanca, as the radiant Ingrid Bergman marks her entry, half an hour into the film. On the other hand is the independent study which challenges your filmic knowledge about a subject of your interest and then demands you to write a creative script for a documentary based on that knowledge. I extensively explored the genre of Westerns (cowboy flicks) and wrote a creative documentary for that.

The sheer amount of learning in this course is fascinating and one ends up coupling all these faculties in the most important and exciting assignment of all – the 7 minute film. Speaking for our class, as first-time filmmakers, we were faced with a terribly daunting task. But through persistence and reflecting upon our shortcomings did we manage to craft a film which would mark a new cornerstone for the films that our school had produced.

The IBDP Film Class 2010-12, under the informal banner of ‘Half-ticket Productions’ produced a film with a lot of heart and were fortunate to have received the compliments of our teacher, Miss Oorvazi. What an unforgettable experience! And it transformed me not only as a lover of the cinema but more deeply struck a chord within me as an individual trying to make sense of the complex world.

Conclusion:

 I took Film as a mere interest, but it slowly translated into a passion. And that’s the credit that IB Film and the teacher and everyone else involved deserve, in supplementing this course for the students. I think I can sum up my love for filmmaking by a quote by the venerable Winston Churchill – ‘Success is not final, failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts’.

 

 

SVKM J.V. PAREKH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL ‘FILM’ BATCH 2011-2013 TAUGHT BY OORVAZI IRANI- AN INTERVIEW WITH THE STUDENTS

https://oorvazifilmeducation.wordpress.com/2013/07/26/svkm-j-v-parekh-international-school-film-batch-2011-2013-taught-by-oorvazi-irani-an-interview-with-the-students/

film-cover

IBDP FINAL FILM PROJECT
2011-2013
Director: Rahul Sharma
Script writer: Nidhi Panicker
Cinematographer: Shahrukh Anklesaia
Editor: Mikhail Shah

lead-image-final2

IBDP Film Course – Three Final Projects, one of which is to make a final short film. The International Baccalaureate® (IB) offers four high quality international education programmes to more than one million students in 145 countries.

Our school SVKM J.V.Parekh International School is probably the only IB school that offers Film as a subject in Mumbai and one of the rare schools from India.

“HUMA” : We are proud to announce that our film was considered by an IB moderator as one of the best technically made films from IB schools all over the world this year.


swing

playing

grave

climax

Stills from the film “Huma”

A special thanks to Tanmayee Thakur (SVKM A level student) who played the title role of Huma in the film as she brought the character to life and embodied the spirit of Huma in real life too. And I also thank Kanika Khanna for bringing Huma’s friendship to life by sharing her off line chemistry online as friends.

Our highest score in the subject of film in the past two batches I have joined has been over 95% and a Grade 7 and this year all 4 students did not get less than a Grade Six (Grade 7 being the highest). Having said that the film class has been a journey beyond grades and marks but a learning that we will all not forget for years to come.

From the first disaster film in Year One “A Street Outside our School” to their final film “Huma” in Year Two what a journey it has been of sweat and tears, joy and success.

My film students teach me each day about myself, life, and my subject of film. Each question, each answer, each exercise, each struggle and each success was all shared and I graduated once again with flying colours.

Rahul taught me that ‘believe and you will be rewarded’. He made a great film “Huma” as an auteur director with his team and made me proud. And helped me continue the legacy after Altamash Jalel from my last batch.

altamash-and-rahulAltamash and Rahul my Auteur directors

Shahrukh taught me ‘how to be cool whatever the situation and impressed me with his visual poetry in “Huma” which was a very important part of the success of the film.

Mikhail taught me ‘ that I could  succeed in nurturing a taste for cinema beyond entertainment’ and how to be ‘bindas’. He impressed me with his eye for detail and minute observations as an editor which helped mold the final film “Huma” and make it what it is.

Nidhi taught me ‘hard work and sincerity can make a difference’ even if you wake up last minute. She laid the foundation as the writer of the film “Huma” and impressed me with her powerful idea of the symbolic burkha which was rooted in rebellion and a positive quest for freedom for the woman and all mankind.

THE STARS FOR ME ARE MY STUDENTS SO HERE IS AN INTERVIEW FROM THEM

 

shahrukh_profile-picShahrukh rahul_profile_picRahul nidhi_profile_pic Nidhi mikhail_profilepic_2Mikhail

  1. What is the most memorable day in film class and why?

Shahrukh: These two years, as we all trot along the banks of creativity and knowledge; there were several occasions or I might as well call them opportunities, when we were to dive into the this alien waters. As exciting as it may sound, it was eerie indeed. I distinctly remember the first day at the sets for the production of our film, Huma. I could feel the adrenaline gush through my veins, that feeling had the power to change things. It was quite the memorable experience to be standing on this tender threshold holding onto the camera, bringing dreams and ideas to life.

Rahul: The most memorable day in film “class” was basically outdoors. It was the first day of the shooting phase for out film. You cannot call it a class, but basically our final project. I was directing “Huma- the bird of paradise” (my first ever short film) and enthusiasm and energy soared inside me as I used all my previous knowledge to shoot the sequences. Directing those sequences, deciding the shots, choreographing the actors and thinking of the outcome with a tinge of nervous anxiety flowing within me on the first shooting day is a good memory.

Nidhi: To me the most memorable class was the day when we had to take pictures and come back to class, I found that very interesting and different.

Mikhail: The most memorable day for me would be when we were discussing our ideas for the IB final project. Many ideas were given which lead to more ideas and finally narrowing down to one story for the film. Also the day when we discussed about the evolution of special effects in cinema and the research work that I started with your help.

  1. What is the feeling on the first day of film class and the last day of film. Did anything change?

Shahrukh: The change is so drastic that I possibly cannot put it down on paper. The first day, was more or less dull and I had no idea about where this carriage was leading me to. By the end of this journey I felt worthy of something, it felt like I had learnt something which I will be carrying forth for the rest of my lifetime. And this wasn’t the case for all the subjects I had chosen for the diploma program; it was only ‘films’ that dug so deep and metamorphosed me.

Rahul: Well, walking into film class the first day was really different as I was slightly conscious and unprepared. Although I was exposed to a lot of auteur directors such as Akira Kurosawa and Stanley Kubrick before, I did not understand their works deeply: I wouldn’t even have known the meaning of an “auteur” then. I remembered how we started off by discussing compositions and I clearly was nervous and tensed.

Jumping the scenes two years: In film language (CUT TO): The time when my last class took place: everything had changed. I was editing my final draft of the “Independent Study” on the topic of the New Wave Cinema which I had decided to work on. I wouldn’t have even known the meaning and importance of the term “New Wave” back then. Well, everything had changed. I had learned about different kinds of cinema movements such as Italian Neorealism, German Expressionism and had been exposed to a lot of genres, all thanks to you.

Nidhi: My first day I was very excited and anxious at the same time scared as to what the class would be like and whether I would be able to coup up with the curriculum as I was late. On the last day I was still scared and anxious but I could sense more confidence in me. And I was extremely sad that this beautiful journey we had embarked on had come to an end.

Mikhail: I joined the subject later in the second semester thus i missed out a lot but never the less I tried to cope with it.

On the first day honestly I was kind of bored since our teacher discussed some French new wave cinema thing. I am a typical mumbaikar who enjoys bollywood masala movies and mostly watched Bollywood movies in free time, but once i got to know more and more about cinema I realize that there is a world beyond BollyWood and Hollywood, famously known as World Cinema or Art Cinema. In the start i often got bored but as we studied many conventions and aspects of filmmaking and cinema, it got interesting and I started enjoying and appreciating World Cinema too.

By the end of this 2 year filmy journey, I realised that I have learnt so much about cinema and I am gonna miss it very much and I do, the lengthy awesome and tiring tuesday film classes, the nagging of our teacher asking us to complete our assignments, the discussions, etc. I would say, in the start, I was raw, appreciated only bollywood and hollywood movies with famous star cast but now I have somewhat polished my views and thoughts towards Cinema and I hope to learn more, as my teacher advised me recently that Filmmaking and cinema are very vast and teaches you many things, always keep on learning process on and never stop, keep on perceiving.

So this is me on the first day and me on the last day and current day.

  1. What did I teach you as a film teacher which is the most valuable to you?

Shahrukh: I could go on and on about the knowledge and experience Oorvazi ma’am has imparted and shared with us through this short span of time. But I think, the most valuable lesson I have penned down is how to appreciate films, and not only films but life as a whole.

Rahul: Apart from exposing me to a variety of films, genres and movements (the art of film) and the craft (editing, cinematic techniques), you taught me great values such as humbleness, chivalry. Not only did you take the initiative to correct me when I went hyper-tensed over a petty issue, but you also took great interest in my overall development.

Nidhi: TEAM WORK!! One of the most valuable lessons I learnt personally was that it’s all about team work whether you like the people with you or not at a personal level you should not let that interfere with your work. And honesty.

Mikhail: You thought me to keep on learning and perceiving and not to give up when one comes across difficult tasks. You thought me how to appreciate Cinema as a whole. And I thank you to make me the person i am today.

  1. Can you share one incident during these two years which shares our relationship as a teacher and student ? And which were the most challenging and rewarding times together?

Shahrukh: I possibly breached each and every deadline communicated to me, perhaps for all my assignments and I couldn’t get myself steady to finish them. The final IB examinations were approaching quick and the rate at which I progressed was horrendous. So, Oorvazi ma’am calls me over to her office, sits with me for the next couple of hours and sees to it that I do my work. To top it up with a cherry, she serves food so that I keep going. This kind of affection and attention is beyond comprehension. These were the most challenging as well as rewarding times for me.

Rahul: I remember when I was giving my mock textual analysis for IB and could not get it perfectly right, you just told me I’m not being myself and I can definitely do better. You pushed me one step further which made me believe in myself more. This is what you have done during these two years.

The most challenging part was after the shooting ended. The editing and music of the film began, and this needed various ideas and thought processes. Giving the film a firm structure, designing the sound and composing music tracks was challenging as well as rewarding.

Nidhi:  According to  the most rewarding and challenging time would be when I had come to your office to do my independent study and I was having so much trouble starting off, that day was definitely challenging I remember staying at your office till around 11pm. That day turned out to be very rewarding and I am sure it helped me get the 6 in film:P

Mikhail: I would and have to say the time during the FIlm independent study on Evolution of special effects. I ragged my brains day and night and you were worried and constantly on my head to meet the deadlines. Hahaha, I dont know what would i have done without you, i would have may be failed Film HL OR would not have faired well in my subject. Those long talks in classes regarding the content of my study, the long phone calls, working after school on my Independent Study at your “THE STUDY”. I mean it was crazy and frustrating and annoying and fun and tense and everything, all feelings together. And rewarding times would be all those moments when we finished our assignments and accomplished something.

  1. What does film mean to you today and has your notion changed over time and why ?

Shahrukh: ‘Film’ has so many varied meanings for me today. It could be a compilation of books, it could be the story of my life, it could mean existence and feelings and life and emotions and art and so much more. Earlier, from films what I used to connote is entertainment, glamour and fame. My notions changed drastically with time.

Rahul: Honestly, I used to watch film only for entertainment until I started taking a deep interest in the processes involved behind the scenes. The interest started growing around a year before I did IB and was in its initial phases. Today, film to me is the essence of life: there are different portrayals and meanings which people try to explain life: the involved relationships, the hardships, its true meaning,

Nidhi: Even though I have not perused film as one of my majors I plan to peruse it as a minor at university, I notice the difference in me even when I am just watching a movie as a stress buster, unconsciously I find myself saying ohh this is a mid-shot or a long shoot or this is a jump cut etc. And these are technicalities that I found very difficult to understand during my course.

Mikhail: A film for me is nothing but a story presented by a visionary person (director) who tries to mix his perception regarding some topic and tries to make the audience relate to his story telling which is the film. For me film would be showcasing hidden emotions and showcasing perception to a large audience and trying to make a change not a change change but touching the audience’s heart which makes them appreciate the directors perception and work.

 

  1. What did you expect of the film subject and is there something that did not meet your expectations?

Shahrukh: My expectations were simply to learn ‘how’ to make a film, but what I acquired was so much more than that. I learnt how to make my audience feel the way I do through this beautiful medium of expressionism.

Rahul: The IB film course is extremely well designed: it deals with both the art and craft of film making as you have to make a film and a trailer (learning the craft), write a portfolio supporting it (learning the art behind the craft). Moreover, the components: “textual analysis” and “independent study” help to give you a greater overall perspective as you get deeply nourished with understanding cinema of different places of different era.

Nidhi: To be very honest I didn’t come in with any expectations, personally I feel that is the best way to begin a new journey.

Mikhail: I expected film as a subject to be more based on practicals and less theory, but it was some what more assignments, theory and less practical. But nevertheless I got to learn a lot about cinema so cant really complain. Wish IB had 3 years hahaha.

  1. Any special message to your  IB film juniors ?

Shahrukh: Passion is what drove me and so let the technicalities take a back seat. Work on the pre-production thoroughly so that the rest of the process moves smooth. And Oorvazi ma’am is possibly the best mentor as well as a friend you are going to have; make the most of it.

Rahul: I would simply put my message to my juniors: Enjoy your classes, make the most of your time, watch new films, explore ideas, be open minded and sharing, understand new techniques (they are very simple, just seem hard) and most importantly: explore yourself! And if you need any help, do not hesitate to contact me.

Nidhi:  Stay focused and DO YOUR INDDEPENDENT STUDY ASAP!!! And honestly listen to the advice mam gives you because it is extremely valuable and still helps me!

Mikhail: Dear Juniors,

What ever you do, put in your heart in it because at the end of the day its gonna help you. Trust your teacher, do what she asks you to do, that way you’ll be saving alot of your time and also will be learning alot from them. Trust your school and trust your teachers. They do whats best for you, well, things might not go according to you and you may find them annoying but know this fact that they want you to succeed and not fall on your face. Theirs ways might be somewhat annoying, i understand, but at the end they are trying to make u a winner.

Dedicate yourself to film, its a beautiful subject and you learn a lot, and yes ENJOY EVERY SECOND OF YOUR FILM CLASS cause you are definitely gonna miss it once ur done with IB.

Make the most of it.

  1. Do you feel the experience has taught you something beyond film too and if so what is that ?

Shahrukh: As I mentioned earlier, the experience has had a solid impact on my life and on me as an individual. It gives me the power to see the world, actually see things which were always there but never got noticed and observe surroundings better than I usually would. It has taught me how to reflect better on myself and things around me.

Rahul: It has definitely taught me a lot of qualities and has taught me to interact with people and help in guiding people. When I directed, I was technically not doing anything: it was my friend Shahrukh who was doing the cinematography and the actors who were acting but I was just guiding them, telling them the vision I had: the feelings and emotions I need and how it should appear on screen. So, I definitely have learned to subconsciously motivate and guide people during their work, which can not only help me as a director but also in other aspects.

Nidhi: Like I said the advices you have given me even the small ones (the ones you thought I wasn’t paying attention too and at the time I didn’t feel it important:P) still helps me today.

Mikhail: LEARN LEARN LEARN, REPEAT REPEAT REPEAT. It has thought me to love what i like and work towards it with passion. Today you might loose because of one aspect, what do you do, learn from it, tomorrow you win with that one aspect.

 

 

 

MY JOURNEY WITH MY SVKM IB SCHOOL FILM BATCH 2013 – 15

https://oorvazifilmeducation.wordpress.com/2015/10/03/my-journey-with-my-svkm-ib-school-film-batch-2013-15/

Group pic_graduation day

 

blessings

I will not forget the Post modernist style of touching my feet in school by my student Sidharth and it culminated in this by the entire batch after our final film shoot ended. I was taken by surprise and moved to the extent that the moment will be burnt in my memory for the rest of my life.

Why do I call it post modernist, because its playful, its gratitude but it can be many more things:) !

group pic

A Letter of Thanks and Adieu – Sidharth Popli

Dear Ma`am,

I first must apologize that I have not written this mail sooner and I know that excuses and reasons are not important to you thanks to a two-year experience at film school which completely changed me not only as a person but also in the way that I thought.

I was always one to watch movies and so I could never find the class boring because of the fact that that you would put in so much effort into the class and come up with some of the most amazing activities and all of them would have reasons to how the activities would complement a person as a film maker. From blind folding us and guiding us around potentially hazardous locations like construction sites in school to making us take videos and photographs to understands emotion. You tried to show to us the perfect way to do everything, from making a story triangle to shooting the right way using a book from your inexhaustible library of film literature and encyclopedias.

Your constant super human effort into trying to make a good film from a basic idea and also the effort that you put in in a story writing exercise, even when some students only did half the job and decided to personally complement you and then fight with other peers and you stayed relatively calm was amazing.

Another day that I remember was when you asked us to experiment with the shot scales and shot angles using little smurf dolls and our phone cameras. This was interesting as it practically explained to us what you were trying to say the class before.

I remember our classes fondly, by classes I don`t really mean SVKM International IBDP 6 or 10 but I really mean “The Study” sitting with Zeel and Krina and Manav and working on the day we had between shoots from exactly 9am and expecting a scolding because of our unpreparedness for the first day`s shoot and actually seeing ma`am jump past it and go straight to work actually made us a little more productive that day we realized when we left the study at 12 in the evening. That was fun. We lived on chips and cokes throughout the day and in the evening we got treated by ma`am`s mother with Ragda Pattice, we welcomed it at the end of the day because we were starving.

Ma`am you bore through most of my antics throughout our process of making Look Inside from sleeping on the couch after a marathon session of “self introspection” to dropping some coke on one of the envelopes that contained the PoZ brochures after trying to open it with my Kadaa and having a Pepsi shower instead. I still say with pride, “I got the first PoZ poster and brochure with an autograph!” But I want to thank you and apologize to you again.

I know I can be slightly difficult to manage and can get hyper and passionate about things I love and I want to thank you for everything that you have done for me out on the set, at school on Dadabhai Road and at the study near Oberoi Mall.

Even though I may not speak to you now in person for sometime and our conversations will last on the phone calls and Whatsapp messages I would like you to know that I cannot write an entire description of the class that was Film Studies 2013 -2015 and the impresario and motherly figure that is Ms. Oorvazi Irani in just a blog post but here was my attempt to it.

Thank you for shaping me up to become a director and to some extent a man.

Regards

Sidharth

The Director

Look Inside

IB Seniors group pic

Zeel Mehta – Film student 

I have always looked up to famous businessmen and tech geniuses for their ability to be creative and breaking the rules to truly make a difference. When I chose film as a subject I never thought I would find people following similar ideologies in the field. Through the 2 years I’ve realised how present cinema is shaped by those rules breakers and rebels. This concept was what intrigued me largely in the two years.

Through the 2 years by the immense support from Oorvazi ma’am not only have I learnt enough to score a 7 but enough for me to remember a lifetime. The classes were interesting and brain wrenching to make us creative.

I’m truly going to remember the times we, the entire film class spent together from the lectures in school to the various workshops and especially while making our film. Especially the day when after a long day of shoot, the next day the crew met at Oorvazi ma’am’s study and to motivate us she bought a cake with the name of our film. Well, the cake itself was motivating enough for me, but the addition of our film’s name made it even better.

There are innumerable moments of learning I truly would never forget and miss you ma’am for the amazing (but long :p ) feedback you gave us and helped us with everything in these two years.

I hope you like this ☺️ It’s genuine, don’t worry :p

Zeel Mehta

Look Inside – Cinematographer and film student

Group pic_graduation day

Will miss you all and thank you for making me so proud !

Sidharth and Zeel thank you for the special film and special note

And Thank you Sanjay Nath for being the magic touch of our film which was truly inspiring.



My journey with my SVKM IB school Film batch 2013 – 15
October 3, 2015, 6:21 pm
Filed under: Film and Acting Schools
blessings

The Post Modernist touching of feet – full of love

I will not forget the Post modernist style of touching my feet in school by my student Sidharth and it culminated in this by the entire batch after our final film shoot ended. I was taken by surprise and moved to the extent that the moment will be burnt in my memory for the rest of my life.

Why do I call it post modernist, because its playful, its gratitude but it can be many more things 🙂 !

group pic

A Letter of Thanks and Adieu – Sidharth Popli

Dear Ma`am,

I first must apologize that I have not written this mail sooner and I know that excuses and reasons are not important to you thanks to a two-year experience at film school which completely changed me not only as a person but also in the way that I thought.

I was always one to watch movies and so I could never find the class boring because of the fact that that you would put in so much effort into the class and come up with some of the most amazing activities and all of them would have reasons to how the activities would complement a person as a film maker. From blind folding us and guiding us around potentially hazardous locations like construction sites in school to making us take videos and photographs to understands emotion. You tried to show to us the perfect way to do everything, from making a story triangle to shooting the right way using a book from your inexhaustible library of film literature and encyclopedias.

Your constant super human effort into trying to make a good film from a basic idea and also the effort that you put in in a story writing exercise, even when some students only did half the job and decided to personally complement you and then fight with other peers and you stayed relatively calm was amazing.

Another day that I remember was when you asked us to experiment with the shot scales and shot angles using little smurf dolls and our phone cameras. This was interesting as it practically explained to us what you were trying to say the class before.

I remember our classes fondly, by classes I don`t really mean SVKM International IBDP 6 or 10 but I really mean “The Study” sitting with Zeel and Krina and Manav and working on the day we had between shoots from exactly 9am and expecting a scolding because of our unpreparedness for the first day`s shoot and actually seeing ma`am jump past it and go straight to work actually made us a little more productive that day we realized when we left the study at 12 in the evening. That was fun. We lived on chips and cokes throughout the day and in the evening we got treated by ma`am`s mother with Ragda Pattice, we welcomed it at the end of the day because we were starving.

Ma`am you bore through most of my antics throughout our process of making Look Inside from sleeping on the couch after a marathon session of “self introspection” to dropping some coke on one of the envelopes that contained the PoZ brochures after trying to open it with my Kadaa and having a Pepsi shower instead. I still say with pride, “I got the first PoZ poster and brochure with an autograph!” But I want to thank you and apologize to you again.

I know I can be slightly difficult to manage and can get hyper and passionate about things I love and I want to thank you for everything that you have done for me out on the set, at school on Dadabhai Road and at the study near Oberoi Mall.

Even though I may not speak to you now in person for sometime and our conversations will last on the phone calls and Whatsapp messages I would like you to know that I cannot write an entire description of the class that was Film Studies 2013 -2015 and the impresario and motherly figure that is Ms. Oorvazi Irani in just a blog post but here was my attempt to it.

Thank you for shaping me up to become a director and to some extent a man.

Regards

Sidharth

The Director

Look Inside

IB Seniors group pic

Zeel Mehta – Film student 

I have always looked up to famous businessmen and tech geniuses for their ability to be creative and breaking the rules to truly make a difference. When I chose film as a subject I never thought I would find people following similar ideologies in the field. Through the 2 years I’ve realised how present cinema is shaped by those rules breakers and rebels. This concept was what intrigued me largely in the two years.

Through the 2 years by the immense support from Oorvazi ma’am not only have I learnt enough to score a 7 but enough for me to remember a lifetime. The classes were interesting and brain wrenching to make us creative.

I’m truly going to remember the times we, the entire film class spent together from the lectures in school to the various workshops and especially while making our film. Especially the day when after a long day of shoot, the next day the crew met at Oorvazi ma’am’s study and to motivate us she bought a cake with the name of our film. Well, the cake itself was motivating enough for me, but the addition of our film’s name made it even better.

There are innumerable moments of learning I truly would never forget and miss you ma’am for the amazing (but long :p ) feedback you gave us and helped us with everything in these two years.

I hope you like this ☺️ It’s genuine, don’t worry :p

Zeel Mehta

Look Inside – Cinematographer and film student

Group pic_graduation day

Will miss you all and thank you for making me so proud !

Sidharth and Zeel thank you for the special film and special note

And Thank you Sanjay Nath for being the magic touch of our film which was truly inspiring.

Final IB film “Look Inside”



My Short film “Mamaiji” (Grandmother) at the 7th IDSFFK International Documentary and Short Film festival of Kerala

Lead Image

It is always a joy to be traveling with your film and I feel that a work of art is always in the making, it is never really complete, you discover it a new way through the eyes of the audience each time and your work takes a rebirth.

Recently I was invited with my short film “Mamaiji”(Grandmother) to the 7th IDSFFK International Documentary and Short Film Festival of Kerala.  I received a personal email from the Artistic Director Bina Paul Venugopal , who is the heart and soul of the festival(and has sadly retired from the festival this year) and I quote This year along with IAWRT we are programming a section of Short Fiction Films by Women  and would very much like to screen Grandmother in this Special Focus which was to be curated by Anupama Sreenivasan, Festival Director IAWRT (The International Association of Women in Radio and Television) Asian Women’s Film Festival. I am also very grateful along with Bina to Anupama for taking interest in my little film and giving it a beautiful platform starting with the IAWRT festival itself held earlier in June 2014. So it seemed Kerala was calling and I packed my bags to visit the beautiful land.

Once I reached Kerala I was in the care of Bandhu Prasad who was in charge of the Festival Filmmakers’ Liason & Artists’ Facilitation Desk who made all the necessary arrangements for us to feel at home and enjoy the festival. As I drove from the airport to the hotel I cannot forget the first impression of leaping white waves dancing to their bliss of existence, so complete so powerful a vision that stayed with me and one of the regrets of this visit was that I did not find the company in others or myself to come back to the seashore but my wish was fulfilled in a cinematic experience latter in the festival itself so that was some consolation. I quickly proceeded to my hotel and reaching on July 18th was in time for the Opening Ceremony of the festival which had an inspiring speech by Rajiv Mehrotra, Managing Trustee PSBT(Public Service Broadcasting Trust), who I made a mental note of to meet in the near future. He was not quiet the person I had in mind who would head a government organization like PSBT as he passionately advocates the cause of the independent documentary in India.

Opening ceremony

 

I met a few friends, one of who was on the Jury ( no, I  would not be breaking any rules if I met him as my film was not in competition and was part of a Special Focus section) but he was kept so busy by the Festival authorities during the festival that I could not spend any time with him on the remaining days which was disappointing but was compensated by other activities and films and there was always something exciting to do.  The two opening films “La Estancia” and “Nelson Mandela, The Myth and Me” both were a good beginning to exploring new perspectives. There was dinner thereafter and a good night’s rest followed.

only article

19th July and I open my hotel door to be greeted with headlines from the festival. It felt like company  to be welcomed by the newspaper of the state mentioning your film. That was the day my film was to be screened. It was an almost packed house for the Special Focus session. There was a special Q and A arranged with the filmmakers but what was a slight damper was that each film did not get its focus in the Q&A as it was after all the 4 films screened and some of the audiences started walking out of the auditorium after the screenings. But that is always the case and why do I complain, there are so many films to catch in a festival like this.

Standing for the Q&A with Anupama and the other young woman filmmakers Anoodha Kunnath, Arya Rothe in the special focus ‘Films by Women’ an interesting question arose about the perspective of women filmmakers, the question put to Anoodha who had directed her short film ‘My Grandfather’s Yakshi’  was that why did she not use a young girl as the protagonist and instead a boy as the film was born out of her own personal life and something her grandfather use to tell her. What was more interesting is when the topic came to the discussion what really consisted in the film which was unique as a woman director’s perspective and I in turn asked the audience what they felt in her film was not a woman’s perspective. We were told that the cameraman must have been a male gender as the way he captured the female ‘Yakshi’ was sensual and more like a man.

This opened a very interesting question to explore in all our films. What is it that a woman filmmaker can do or say in a film, is she just more sensitive and can we really find a particular vocabulary in women filmmakers’ in modern times and is there a need. Of course there was Laura Mulvey and a lot of independent women filmmakers before and after her who fought the traditional grammar of filmmaking to represent the woman as object and made radical shifts but are there nuances that are subtle yet obvious in a woman filmmaker. In fact its always sensitive men filmmakers like Satyajit Ray that we talk about in relation to powerful women sensitive films and many commercial women film directors today don’t like being slotted as a woman filmmaker. Can you really tell the difference is something that I have not yet found a definite answer for and am still searching as an audience and artist.  It’s interesting that my film never set out to be about a woman but yes the feminine gender does hold an important place in my identity and search as an artist which subconsciously surfaces itself in my work. The film for me was about making the ‘ordinary’, ‘extraordinary’ which is all around us and in its simple existence is so beautiful and rich. There were some questions about my film which I was most happy to discuss and the film had a fan (who had most of the questions to ask) in one charming young lady who was a young filmmaker herself,  Vaishnavi and was participating with her film “Doll” dealing with the metamorphosis of a relationship between a young girl and a barber, there was a passion and excitement that I saw in her eyes and I am sure she will go places, we connected and remain so.

Oo in audience

I did shortlist quite a few films but just managed to see the following which I was richer by the experience and touched me in more ways than one.

I would like to make a special mention of the documentary “The Invisible wars”. I was choked  by the Investigate Documentary directed by Kirby Dick dealing with the epidemic of rape within the US military and its cover up. Here are these strong women who are broken from within and their lives are not the same. Sitting at a comfortable distance from the trauma I could not even begin to understand their pain and justice was in the waiting. I felt I needed to follow the story in real life and hoped justice would be delivered soon, here is one film which goes into the real world and can make a difference. The documentary premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, where it received the U.S. Documentary Audience Award and was also nominated for the academy awards.


Trailer “The Invisible wars”

My desire for the sea was soon fulfilled and I experienced cinematic pleasure for 81 min seeing the “Coast of Death”  – a poetic ode to the Galician coast in northwestern Spain in which a fly on the wall camera observes the magical land of ‘meigas’(witches) where fog and drizzle prevail. The filmmaker says We adopt a slow and poetic view, letting time going by within the image´s frame, this allows us to observe landscape´s movements. To convey the idea of dialogue and relationship between landscape and people we use wide shots where the human figure is seen distant but his voice is heard close. The story suggests the experience of Finisterre´s landscape. A journey that will go away from reality to a dreamy look immersed in the mythical representation of the Coast of Death. This experimental feature was judged the best New Director at the Locarno Film festival 2013.

Trailer “Coast of Death”

I was introduced to the personal and professional world of Sukhdev by his daughter Shabnam Sukhdev who takes us on a personal journey coming to terms with her famous father after his death, trying to find the man and father she never understood all her childhood and a coming of age film. It was a beautiful discovery  titled “The Last Adieu” .

Trailer “The Last Adieu”

I took this opportunity not to miss seeing the animation film “True Love Story”(18 min) by Gitanjali Rao sensitively and creatively capturing a Bollywood style love story as a theme which was part of the 2014 Cannes Film Festival 10 selected short films at the Critics Week. I would like to quote below from an interview done by Animationexpress.com

True Love StoryTrue Love story 2

 

What inspired to make ‘True Love Story’?

I had been toying with the idea of first love for a while. And being a Bombayite I spent a lot of time in traffic jams watching at life unfolding on the street sides. I began to get interested in the lives of street boys who work hard selling flowers and books at traffic signals but are looking for love by impressing girls all the time.  I loved observing the small flirtations that happen between these flower sellers. I wished to tell the story of these young boys and girls who have complicated migration stories yet their spirit survives in the chaos of the big city, and then, emerged a first love story between two people living on the streets of Bombay.

 

Another charming world opened up with the documentary “Songs of the Blue Hills” by Utpal Borpujari. It is a feature length documentary, the first ever film (mentioned by the filmmakers) to present a wide range of Naga music and musicians to take the viewer on a journey through contemporary forms of Naga folk music.  

During the course of the festival I happened to enter a screening of a film in progress by a young filmmaker Tanushree Das. I was impressed by its contemplative style and self-reflection which used image, sound and the medium of sms text messages, “For You and Me” is a film of yearning and the struggle to sustain relationships in a society steeped in both physical as well as technological distance. Since I reached almost at the end and missed it I made it a point to communicate with the director at the festival and managed to make contact and now await to see the film which she has so kindly personally shared with me.

Bina Paul Venugopal introducing the Impact Campaign Workshop conducted by IDF

Bina Paul Venugopal introducing the Impact Campaign Workshop conducted by IDF

One of the other highlights of the festival were the workshops and one of them attracted me was titled ‘Impact Campaign Workshop’ Conducted by the IDF Indian Documentary Foundation which is a Not-for-profit organization co-founded by Jaaved Jaaferi and Sophy VSivaraman for the Promotion, Development and Funding of Documentaries in India and about India. I felt the workshop was targeted for young filmmakers and some experienced filmmakers felt out of place during some of the activities but however it was nice to be introduced to this platform which is very encouraging for the medium of documentary and non-commercial film. So I might catch up with Sophy and the gang in the near future and see if worlds meet and if it interests you do have a look at their website and work.

Sophy VSivaravan Co Founder of IDF

Sophy VSivaravan Co Founder of IDF

Javed Jaaferi talks about IDF

 

The festival for me was coming to an end and it was not possible to attend everything and one of the many things I missed were the films and talk by Saba Dewan, who was the Filmmaker in Focus at the festival, and will explore her work shortly. She says  Paradoxically, more creative documentaries are made in the of darkest times and during the most oppressive regimes… Funding and distribution of documentaries are important, but if the film has nothing new or creative to convey, it will all be useless.

Saba Dewan

I did not go to the sea but I managed to pick up some traditional mundus for my dad from a Kerala emporium from the main market close by and ended my day with beautiful company with two spirited lovely lady filmmakers – Shashwanti Talukdar and Kavita who were put up in the same hotel as myself and were attending the festival with their film “Wall Stories”.

Wall Stories

I was leaving the next day and they had just arrived, we shared a meal and we parted, I came to Mumbai and they continued to savour the pleasure of being in the company of cinema.



“Liv and Ingmar”: The Journey of the Filmmaker Dheeraj Akolkar – An Interview by Oorvazi Irani

Dheeraj lead image

I met Dheeraj through his film “Liv and Ingmar” and immediately connected, and made him a friend for life. In spite of not  having met him I yet feel that I know him so well. One of the few films in modern times that will remain with me for a lifetime is this film which is in the form of a documentary because of its real life dynamics but goes beyond that in its cinematic and artistic experience.  The tenderness and yearning for truth is at the core of this film and moved me. The theme of Love so precious to human beings is unfolding on screen through the beautiful prism of the lover Liv Ullmann and the filmmaker Dheeraj.  I invited Dheeraj to speak about his journey as a filmmaker, an artist who made this film a reality and what I share with you is an inspiring real life story of deep faith, sincerity,passion and love. …Oorvazi Irani

 

1. Every film has a journey for an artist and the process when reflected upon is a great self realization. Would you like to share with us some of the secrets it revealed to you about yourself and the world, before you started working on this film.

‘Liv & Ingmar’ was very important on many levels. To be able to envisage a film and then to actually make it are both things that can stay on a piece of paper or in the heart of many filmmakers. I was struggling to get the film made.

I wanted very badly to make films. Your question takes me back to those times in London when things got so difficult that for a moment I thought that this world is not going to let me put two pieces of images together with a little sound on it. It got that bad.

I developed and sent out 22 film projects in 18 months to different funding agencies. This could come off as desperation. And it was. I wanted to make films. I met with producers who played with my situation. They came on board and did nothing. Then they left me in lurch. I would write emails and make several phone calls that would all go unanswered.

Do you know this feeling inside your heart, when you have so much to say and so much to give and so much to do, but all you meet are walls… dead, cold walls, that you don’t know where to begin, what doors to knock on and if there are any doors.

But I believe in action. I believe in doing. I also have friends who yank me out when necessary by saying one or two harsh things.

So I kept trying.

I wrote the theme of ‘Liv & Ingmar’ as a poem, then my friend Christina Christensen brought for me Liv’s address from Norway and in complete naivety I wrote her a letter. Then Liv called and expressed her support. That point was a very bright point of hope. I thought to myself – “Liv has said YES, which means I can do this. So I am gonna…”

Then my friend Rocco helped me build a trailer together. We did this sitting in Goldsmiths college library where we both worked in the graveyard shift at the library reception.

Then I started taking the project out in the UK and I went to many people. Most said that this story belonged to Scandinavia and had nothing to do with the UK so I wouldn’t have any support.

Then I met Mr. Uberto Pasolini ( Producer of ‘The Full Monty’, ‘Bel Ami’ etc and Director of ‘Machan’ and ‘Still Life’ ) Uberto suggested I went to Sweden. Sitting in his office he dug out the contact details of Ms. Katinka Farago who worked as Mr. Bergman’s script girl since ‘Wild Strawberries’ and who later produced masterpieces such as ‘Fanny and Alexander’ and Andrei Tarkovsky’s ‘The Sacrifice’.

So I wrote to Katinka, who by then had retired and instead directed me to the Ingmar Bergman Foundation and The Swedish Film Institute in Stockholm.

That year I went to Cannes with my short film and walked up and down that croisette meeting different people, collecting addresses, seeking meetings and failing quite a lot 

I returned to London and wrote to all the contacts I had found. 70 producers in Sweden and 10 producers in Norway and eventually they all said a big NO. In addition to saying NO, they were very keen to inform me that I was not going be able to make this film, that this film had no theatrical future and that it was not a story worth telling because “There was too much Bergman in the Market anyway..”

It kills you slowly. So many rejections. And suddenly the number people directly telling you that “you are a failure” increases rather rapidly. I had people laugh in my face and at times behind my back and that is not a pleasant thing at all.

My friend Marie Bonnel who was my guardian angel in London, used to organize dinners on Monday evenings because that used to be my day off from work, invited me over for one such lovely dinner at her place in South Kensington. There I met someone who had an invitation to the Swedish Ambassador’s house for a Book Release on Mr. Bergman. He could not go, and offered me to go instead. So I pulled out some decent clothes and took a bus to Mr. Ambassador’s residence.

It was a lovely evening and I spoke to the ambassador about my film who kindly asked his secretary to put me in touch with some important people in Stockholm, one of whom turned out to be Professor Maaret Koskinen.

So in 2009 I decided to go to Stockholm. My friend Love Kallmann offered me a place to stay in his house. I got cheap air tickets and went off.

Professor Koskinen was super supportive of the film and she introduced me to The Bergman Foundation and producers of ‘Saraband’ Mrs. Pia and Mr.Torbjorn Ehrnvall, who by then had also retired, but were encouraging.

Then in 2010 I was fired from my Library job due to recession. This whole time I was writing and filming and doing other things, but now I also needed the money.

My friend James Wallace was acting in a play called ‘The Peddler’s Tale’ at Edinburgh Fringe and his director was looking for someone to film the production, so I went to Scotland on the job and the first person James introduced to me was actress Ms. Ragnhild Lund from Oslo, Norway.

Ronnie, as she is called by her friends, offered to take my material to Norway, which she did and got a meeting with Mr. Stein-Roger Bull and Mr. Rune Trondsen of NordicStories who wanted to meet me.

Dheeraj with Producer Rune Trondsen who stood by the film with steadfast determination

Dheeraj with Producer Rune Trondsen who stood by the film with steadfast determination

They came on board as producers and the rest is history. But till the very last moment the struggle to make the film right did not end. Different forms of struggles came up…But now there were amazing collaborators on board and together we made ‘Liv & Ingmar’

To come back to your question, one of the greatest self realizations that this film gifted me was the knowledge that IT IS POSSIBLE !!!!!

Premier Haugesund Red Carpet

Premier Haugesund Red Carpet

It is possible to make a film you believe in making. It is possible to make it the way you believe its aught to be made. It is possible to do it RIGHT. It takes time, but that time helps the film more than anything else.

People can always laugh at you and call you a failure and take great happiness in your pain. But ultimately you are the only one who can fail yourself. And you have a greater responsibility, if you have to make the film.

In the end you realize that It’s not about you. It’s about the film.

 

2. How would you define Love ? When you are tackling a very delicate yet universal subject like Love – did the process enlighten you. Did it change any ideas you had or the film reemphasized your own experiences about love.

One of the main reasons why I wanted to make this film was Love. To have experienced it myself, I recognized what Liv had written in her book ‘Changing’ but I also recognized what she had not written.

 

Liv and Dheeraj

Liv and Dheeraj

‘Liv & Ingmar’ is not ‘Romeo and Juliet’ or ‘Heer Ranjha’ but it is a story of their kind of love, their kind of friendship. I find it real and very worldly. Far from perfect, filled with personal flaws and yet, beautiful and tender and forgiving and enveloping and unrequited on many levels.

I felt that a lot was strewn around in memoirs, scripts, letters, images, sounds and songs that could be woven together to look at a story from a tender point of view.

Our film is not a journalistic, court room account of truth. Our film is a journey of reminiscence with blurred edges, rounded corners and a walk in the woods with a tune to hum.

It certainly reinforced my belief that to love, one does not have to stay under the same roof. One does not have to be in the same city, country or continent. One does not have to be married or in a relationship with the person. Love is about two energies meeting in one single, bright point of truth. The rest of it is survival 

To love it is indeed not necessary to have love in return. One can love because one is capable of loving and giving. Love does not have to be a calculation depending on what you get in the process.

It frees you up, liberates you in a way you never understand. When you take responsibility for your action of love, nothing else affects it. And that is a beautiful feeling…

I don’t define love. I want to quote Gulzar saab’s song from ‘Khamoshi’ where he writes – “Pyaar ko pyaar hi rehene do, koi naam na do…”

Connections are about one point of truth, rest is destiny!

 

3. Do you feel Love is different for the male and female gender and how ? As a filmmaker did you feel you did justice to the two points of view ? And did the absence of Ingmar Bergman affect the film in any particular way.

I don’t think love is different according to genders. Love is human.

My idea was to touch upon the inexplicable, the unsaid. I don’t think ‘Liv & Ingmar’ defines love. But after the film, you may come out having experienced it and more.

At the end of the film that person sitting in front of the camera in a black shirt is not a superstar or a legend. To me it’s a beautiful 73 year old woman and she seems to say – “Yes, I held his hand. I loved.”

Liv and Ingmar's Teddy Bear

Liv and Ingmar’s Teddy Bear

It’s that simple.

That, you cannot challenge. That, you don’t challenge.

I don’t know what would have happened if Mr. Bergman was alive and a part of the film. Perhaps he would have added stories from his side. I would have loved to meet him and in some ways, I felt I did.

Having spoken to those close to him, I do know for sure that he missed Liv in the last days of his life.

In his whole house there is not a single image from his films, except one – In front of his bed, on a bare wall, is a photograph of Liv Ullmann and Erland Josephson touching their foreheads in that immortal scene from ‘Saraband’.

That is love.

 

4. I feel an artist is always reflected in his work, do you agree and how do you see that manifesting itself in this film ?

I am not good at analysis of my own self and my work. In fact for many reasons I avoid it. I am sure that a lot of me is in the film. How can it not be? But I would rather leave it there.

Dheeraj's proud Mom and Dad in a beautiful moment with Liv

Dheeraj’s proud Mom and Dad in a beautiful moment with Liv

Making art is also about not knowing everything. Making art is about not having all the control. You make it from a point in yourself that you don’t understand, simply also because its not that concrete.

I felt deeply empty when ‘Liv & Ingmar’ finished. Perhaps that is a sign. And its best to leave it at that. 

 

5. Liv commented that your film was a gift to her ? Could you share with us how and why ?

I will never know what she exactly meant when she said at the dinner before the premier that this film was a gift to her.

But I have my own take on it.

She was always looked at as one of Ingmar’s actresses, as one of the many women in his life. She was criticised heavily for living with him and having a child out of wedlock. Many people believed that she used him and many people said nasty things about her and continue to do that.

Singapore press Conference

Singapore Press Conference

People forget that he went back to her 12 times. What does that say? People forget that he could have made these films with any other actress – why did he keep going back to Liv? People forget her contribution to those films and how much she brought to those roles. He himself writes in his autobiography that it would have been impossible to make these films without her.

She is the only woman to have ever directed an Ingmar Bergman script for cinema and she has directed two. They have a child together. The place where he declared his love for her, he built a home for her – a home that he lived and died in. They worked together for 42 years. She is in the last frame of his last film.

This kind of association does not happen in everybody’s life.

I am sure she must have been tremendously hurt by critical remarks from people, I am sure she must have felt insulted and humiliated. To such an extent that before his funeral a priest from the church in Faro island specially called her to inform her that she was not allowed to walk behind his coffin, because she was not married to him!!!

What must she have felt?

This world builds squares and if you don’t fit in, it is very quick to point fingers at you, to inform you that you are a failure in life because you did not follow the pretty squares…

Then comes someone wanting to make a film to celebrate what you had with the man. Someone recognises your contribution. Someone puts a camera on you and listens to your side of the story. Someone finally says, that what Liv and Ingmar had together, was something beyond that this world understands.

Perhaps there is no term yet coined for every emotion we feel. Perhaps there are things we don’t fully understand. Art allows us to experience that.

May be, that is why Liv felt that this film is a gift to her, not a critical whip-loving analysis, but a tender space that allowed a story to be told.

We were showing the film in Singapore at IIFA 2012. After the film, there was a question-answer session when a reporter asked Liv as to why she agreed to do this film with an unknown, young director from India and this is what she said,

“Sometimes you are 73 and you are standing on a bridge and you meet a stranger. He is a whole new generation than yours, he comes from a different country, from a different continent. He speaks a different language even and then he offers you his hand…”

“Sometimes you should take that hand and jump…”

I am happy Liv took my hand and jumped.

On behalf of everyone who made the film, I want to say that making ‘Liv & Ingmar’ was a gift to US 

"Liv and Ingmar" film team at Faro Island

“Liv and Ingmar” film team at Faro Island

Here is the official film website

http://www.livandingmar.com

 

 



The Mikhail/Michael Chekhov Acting Technique Workshop Presented by Oorvazi Irani
MY WORKSHOP INVITE

MY WORKSHOP INVITE



Dancing Shadows
September 30, 2013, 8:12 pm
Filed under: Art Appreciation, Project Creativity

Art Experiment: In search of little truths

From the Lab of the Artist Oorvazi Irani

A spontaneous live shadow performance captured for camera.

Not planned and self shot

exploring the body… light …emotions…rhythm…life ….

Do you experience a story in this shadow dance ?



On The Shores of Eternity – A short film by Oorvazi Irani

My Art Experiment

My dabbling in painting, poetry, acting and cinematography fusing together to create a small film – on the spur of the moment and a one woman effort.