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Chennai film buff makes a mark at Universal Studios

Vasudha Venugopal
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STAR AND SUPERSTAR:R. Joseph Kennedy with actor Rajinikanth— Photo: Special Arrangement
STAR AND SUPERSTAR:R. Joseph Kennedy with actor Rajinikanth— Photo: Special Arrangement

For the next one year, R. Joseph Kennedy, an entrepreneur from Chennai, will have unlimited entry access to one of the most important and famous studios of the world – the Universal Studios (also known as Universal Pictures).

And that is because, barely a month ago, he was invited by the California-based studios to deliver a prestigious talk on the increasing use of special effects in Tamil cinema. Mr. Kennedy was also adjudged the best speaker in that category.

An alumnus of Loyola College and LIBA, Chennai, Mr. Kennedy underwent a film-making course last year to know the nuances of film making. “I was always interested in the field. And I did not want to be some body who made the decision abruptly. I joined a film school to learn the craft of film making.”

His association with film-making led him to explore the world of films, and he visited and studied many films. The 33-year-old, who runs an advertising company in the city, made some key interventions at the event where he spoke. “Everyone debated on how visual effects are important to movies now. I argued that there are some scripts that demand it, and some that don’t.

“I argued that Enthiran was one script that deserved all its visual effects because the script deserved them. Kennedy was also awarded the best speaker award which came with a complimentary VIP Annual Pass to the Universal Studios, one of the oldest studios in the world.

The event was also a learning experience, he says. “The best part was learning those techniques of creating visual effects that did not require much investment. Simple camera tricks can do a great job,” he says, explaining effects like those that appeared in the movie King Kong could be done by placing a character too close to the camera to make him look bloated and the other distant from it.

Students of filmmaking and technicians are taken quite seriously in the West, and often invited for premiers, he notes. “Their feedback is considered the most important. In fact, often there are changes made to movies after the screening depending on what they feel. Here, the student community is not taken seriously.”

The high point of this achievement was a recent meeting with superstar Rajnikanth. “I have learnt a lot from Rajni sir’s work. His appreciation means a lot.”

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