Auroville provides setting for film-making

Start, camera, action: Participants at Auroville film institute’s film orientation course; a shoot in progress and the aspirants during the post-production process. .   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

In a span of seven days, 45 aspiring film-makers produced a clutch of nine short films at a hands-on basic film orientation course in Auroville.

The films, emerging from the recently-concluded basic film orientation course conducted by the Auroville Film Institute, were completed with the support of locals who got involved as production managers, location scouts, actors and even casting directors for the films.

The participants from varying age groups, cultures, languages and professional backgrounds came together to explore ideas, emotions and stories. And, the locales for these films were set in Auroville, in surrounding villages, or by the sea.

“The best (take-away) was the confluence of people. We had participants from all walks of life, including a Joint Commissioner of Income Tax, officers from Indian Navy, senior research scholars, designers, architects, town planners, linguists. etc., along with regular film aspirants /assistants,” said Rrivu, one of the executive producers of the films and founding directors of the Auroville Film Institute.

Umesh Kulkarni, a three-time national award recipient and FTII alumnus who was the course director, said, “Auroville and its neighbourhood offered a fascinating spectrum for cinematic exploration. The nine films we managed to produce had a great spatial variety from the ocean to the forest; from utopist buildings to regular village huts. Set against these backgrounds, we had an interesting mix of stories too”.

For the aspirants, thoughts about cinema dominated their every waking hour, and even invaded their sleep.

“From morning to night, we were watching, discussing films and then dreaming about cinema in our sleep,” remarked Kathiravan, one of the youngest participants of the workshop coming from Auroville’s Future school.

“Cinema is a dream I had dared not to dream. I had to come to Auroville for a diverse experience. Today, I feel I can also make a film”, said Manoharan, a scholar from Thanjavur, researching on sustainable architecture.

"Considering that this is just the first batch of productions of the Auroville Film Institute, it is quite overwhelming,” said Richa who has been designing curriculum and hosting the workshops along with Rrivu.

The course which attracted over 100 people in and around Auroville, including 45 participants from eight States and four foreign countries, was conceived as a follow-up to the overwhelming response to a film appreciation workshop in October conducted by Auroville Timelines, a media pedagogy and video art unit in Auroville in collaboration with the Film and Television Institute of India.

Rrivu, along with Richa, founding directors of ‘Auroville Timelines’, are currently developing the ‘Auroville Film Institute’ in collaboration with Aurofilm.

The next in line is a ‘Masterclass series’, with four ace filmmakers from (Sudipto Acharyya - for direction, Shanti Bhushan - for cinematography, Amitabh Chakravarty - for editing and Madhu Apsara - for sound design), for a 25-day integrated Mise-en-scene workshop, from December 19 to January 12.

Auroville Film Institute is lining up a series of short and long term courses, mentorship programmes and cinema-centric learning journeys. The long game is to establish a top-notch cinema school in Auroville.

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Printable version | May 16, 2021 12:44:35 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/auroville-provides-setting-for-film-making/article30071064.ece

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