Filed under: My Journey Teaching the subject of Film International Baccalaureate at SVKM JV Parekh International School | Tags: Afternoon DC, Becoming 18, film competition, film making, film workshop, filmmaking, oorvazi irani, Pocket Films, short film competition, SVKM Culturama, Svkm J.V.Parekh International school
Film is the most ‘modern art form’ and it is a privilege to be involved in a medium that is an amalgamation of all the older arts. As a Mentor on this platform I see my role to nurture and help young minds discover the medium and through that discover their true self and the world around them.
It gives me immense joy to be mentoring young filmmakers for the film competition in my international school cultural festival ”Culturama 5” to be held on Jan 28th and 29th 2017 in Mumbai.
Filed under: Film and Acting Schools | Tags: film education, film making, film making education, film workshop mumbai, International Baccalaureate, oorvazi film education, oorvazi irani, svkm, svkm film faculty, svkm ib school, svkm international school, Svkm J.V.Parekh International school
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.
And I Graduated yet again !
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.
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,Rahul, Nidhi, Mikhail
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.
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.
2. 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.
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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
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.
7. 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.
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.
8. 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.
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.
To Read about my interesting Journey for my previous Film Batch Click on these links below where I talk about the IB Film Projects in greater detail.
My Journey teaching film at the SVKM IB School (Batch 2010 – 2012)
IB Film Experience: Altamash Jaleel (Batch 2010 – 2012)
To know more about the IB board
To know more about SVKM J.V.Parekh International School
Filed under: FILM REVIEW show - Talking Cinema | Tags: Cannes film festival, film appreciation, film education, film making, film review, Julie Bertucelli, oorvazi, oorvazi irani, since otar left, world cinema
Talking Cinema (A Film Review Show – Episode 3)
My pick of films from the
13th Mumbai Film Festival 2011
“Since Otar Left” (2003)
Filed under: Film/Acting Family Speak | Tags: festivals, film education, film making, film workshop, online short film, oorvazi irani, short film, short of the week
My SVKM IB film student Altamash Jaleel, passionate, sincere and talented young boy was researching short films and sent me this great site which has some lovely short films. I could not resist sharing it with you all. Do visit the website mentioned below where you can view the complete films and much more.
‘Short of the Week’ (Website)
Another year gone by, and what a year it was for short film online. This is the fourth year we’ve done this top 10 list, and the selection process was more difficult than ever. We recommended over 150 excellent short films on this site in 2010 and while the exclusions were excruciating, with this list, we’ve produced our strongest lineup yet.
Short of the Year: Winner!
The thing you’ll notice about the films this year is that they’re heavy. This is a lineup of emotional powerhouses. Heartbreaking, passionate, poignant; these are films not content to conform to the sometimes desultory expectations that come with being “short”—these are great films that manage to equal, if not exceed, the emotional weight of any feature.
Some rely heavily on splendid visuals like Pivot, which produces the finest action sequence in all of visual media this year, bringing back rudimentary polygonal styles to celebrate with joy that other dimension of animation—movement. Or Nuit Blanche, a film of enormous romantic lushness, that, amidst the rise of fashion films, might have been the year’s most fashionable.
Others explore the hidden world of the heart with a heartbreaking aplomb: the exquisite depiction of confronting one’s “Big Bad Wolf” in Old Fangs, or the headlong rush of a relationship’s lifetime in Please Say Something, both, like Bottle, telling all too human stories via non-human characters.
On the other hand, a few on this list explore abstraction and seek to connect us with what is universal. That’s what Between Bears accomplishes, the concept of the journey tied close to the epic and the mythic; creating images of such power, one cannot help but connect it back to its country of origin. The Third and the Seventh‘s resolute appreciation of beauty likewise is food for the soul, its simple being a tribute to transcendence in Art.
Even the films that seem at first most conventional, with quaint things such as “actors”, prove to be anything but. D-I-M: Deus Ex Machina, aside from its amazing special fx, is a stirring call to arms for defiance in the face of oppression, and Frank Dancoolo: Paranormal Drug Dealer…well let’s just say that “conventional” is not an apt term for this geekily indulgent masterpiece.
However there has to be a film that wears the crown, and this year, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that film proved to be Plastic Bag. This film encompasses all the qualities above and more. Its lovely cinematography was stirring, its exploration of an interior worlds going through existential crisis, bravely true. It connects us to sensations that are mythic and epic, yet in its environmentalist message seeks to embrace us all in a consciousness of our shared community and planet. All this in a flick about a plastic bag. It is the most amazing short film of 2010.
Filed under: Film/Acting Family Speak | Tags: aspiring film maker, film appreciation, film education, film making, how to make a short film, oorvazi irani, short film, short films, Sowrik Datta, young filmmaker
(FILM APPRECIATION Course January 2009 batch)
The Inspiration for the Plot of the film
I spent days thinking of a plot based on the idea of the conflict – ‘Man vs Self’. Finally one night while watching Godard’s film ‘Breathless’, a thought came to my mind – What might have happened to Patricia four years after Michel died? It hit me like a bolt; I found the plot for my film. I couldn’t sleep that night
With a savings of around Rs. 40,000, I wanted to make the film but I soon realised that it was not possible so I asked my family and all my close friends to help me in whatever way they could. The response was beyond my expectations. Without questioning my filmmaking abilities even once, they all contributed greatly in financing my film. My family contributed Rs. 60,000 and six friends promised to give a total of Rs. 80,000 for my project. That brought up the budget of the film to Rs. 1.8 Lac, which was a handsome budget for a film to be shot on Video format. I was elated and at the same time felt that their hard-earned money is now my responsibility.
Satyajit Ray was a big inspiration for me and my team – he similarly started making his first film “Pather Panchali” with his own savings and it took three long years to complete at least we were more fortunate.
Equipment, Lights and Creative Solutions:
After consultation with my cinematographer, we decided to go ahead with the SONY Z7P- an HDV cam with hiring charges of Rs. 3500 per day, keeping in mind the budget and the intended feel of the film. However, I was shell shocked to see a budget of Rs. 9000 per day only for lights but we then my cinematographer found creative solutions and we ended up hiring only two lights costing Rs 1500 per day.
The auditions were conducted in the parking lot behind Prithvi Theatre as they don’t allow cameras inside their compound. Of course I had no provision in my budget to pay actors but they believed in the script and supported me with their talent. The lead character demanded unorthodox looks, matured performance, perfect diction. When Aradhna came for the auditions Rohit and me felt the character come to life and my choice was made.
The Shoot – Behind schedule:
The shooting schedule was for four days- 3 days for indoor scenes and 1 day for the outdoor shoot. The team of 19 people started on fourteenth of September towards Lonavala, where the farmhouse was located. Two of the cars in which actors and the production team were travelling and also the truck carrying the lights and the generator reached the destination on time. But the third car in which the camera was supposed to come, broke down twice on the road. Things started getting delayed.
Finally, the camera reached the location. By the time the camera finally started rolling, we were 7 hours behind schedule. Out of our initial plan to complete 7 scenes on the first day, we could manage to complete only 4 small scenes. It was clear that that even an addition of one more day in the schedule would affect my post production budget. We had to complete the shoot in the next two days.
After every one went to sleep, I was standing in the area where the first scene for the next day was to be shot. I put aside my previous shooting script and took out a fresh copy to rewrite shot breakdowns. I caught a few winks early in the morning. Me, my cinematographer and my production manager hardly took a break so that the camera keeps rolling for the full 12hours shift. We completed shooting the remaining 18 scenes in the next two days. We were back on schedule.
The film dealt mostly with a character’s silence from deep guilt, sudden violent outburst and finally a realisation. To bring out inner conflict, the editing pattern had to be slow and sensitive. Moreover, for smooth transition between scenes, ‘L-Cut’ was used, which sub-consciously helped viewers to drift with the flow of the story.
Music and Dubbing:
The film can be roughly divided into two main stages- before realisation and after realisation. Before realisation, the whole feel of the film is very gloomy & pensive and these two emotions were beautifully underlined by symphony on sombre notes. After the realisation stage, the music makes transitions from semi bright notes played on piano to Jazz and finally ending with Beethoven’s ‘Moonlight Sonata’.
The film was dubbed. It took 20 hours of dubbing to complete the film.
Finally, on the first week of November, the first batch of DVDs of my short feature ‘The Atonement’ saw the light of the day. I felt like being on the top of the world! The film finally got completed. The expenses exceeded the budget, I was almost bankrupt but still happy.
What does it take to make an independent film?
Passion followed by destiny or Destiny followed by Passion- Debatable issue but I would like to vouch for both.
I have reasons.
I am grateful. I am indebted to all the people who have helped me-monetarily, technically, morally, to finish my film. I will forever remain indebted to them.
Dhruv – Production Manager/ Technical Director/ Editor/Post Production Head
Rohit – Casting Director/Production in charge.
Gautami – Cinematographer.