Craig Forrest’s career as a film-maker has taken him to over 144 countries across 6 continents. He is in Visakhapatnam to conduct a film-making workshop

Craig D. Forrest made his first film when he was 13 in a video class and since then has explored numerous genres in a career spanning over thirty years. He has now decided to share his experience with upcoming film-makers by conducting workshops across the world.

Craig is soft-spoken, humorous and bursting with excitement when talking films. You can feel the passion he has for telling stories as he narrates experiences and talks about the nuances of film-making.

Sharing his experiences of shooting in remote locations in Africa, he says “It is often very difficult to shoot in such places as the culture is very different. You have to trust your crew, drivers and guides. Often people in Africa take time getting used to the colour or my skin as they are fascinated by it. The best way to make people comfortable is to greet them with a smile and let them get comfortable with your presence in their world.” But not all stories can be told with as smile as Forrest has done a number of investigative reports risking arrest as well has risked his life visiting areas of conflict and making films on war. He has even written about his experiences.

This is Forrest’s tenth trip to India and says there is nothing that the Indian film industry can learn from the West.

Reaching out

Talking about how film-makers in the country can reach out to a wider audience, he says that promoting a film is all about ‘shareability’. Internet connections are still a little slow in India but once that improves the Internet is the perfect place to promote a film. Once a number of people start sharing the film, its popularity goes up. All film-makers, unless commissioned to make a particular film use the Internet so that they can reach out to a global community.

A particular film he has made for Animal Planet about jumping cats in a monastery in Mayanmar has got a large number of views, especially in Holland, and has turned that particular monastery into a tourist destination. “I did nothing to promote the video online. It just went viral. You never know what catches the fancy of a viewer,” adds Forrest.

He wishes that the workshops he conducts were available when he was an upcoming film-maker. The use of new equipment and technology has made it easier as well as more technical. It is his ambition to now spread his experience, share secrets and prepare people for an exciting career in telling visual stories. Vizagites who are attending his three-day workshop that begins today are lucky to have a person of Forrest’s calibre teach them. You can view some of his works at www.craigforrest.com.