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Lights, camera, action… …Goa gets its first Film School

Lights, camera, action… …Goa gets its first Film School

In the past numerous Goans made it to the film industry in various capacities through hard work and dedication. But, today it is quite impossible if you aren’t qualified. Thanks to the magic of cinema many Goan youngsters are interested in a career in films. But due to lack of facilities and educational courses in the state they are forced to shift base to Mumbai in order to study or have had to simply give up the thought and opt for an alternative career.

This won’t be the case anymore…

About Don Bosco Film School

Don Bosco’s Goa Film School in collaboration with Team Film Gurus is here to give film inclined students the training and exposure needed at the Don Bosco campus in Panaji. In its first operational year it will launch three subjects – acting, direction and scriptwriting. Courses on offer will be a six-month certificate course and a ten-month intensive diploma.

“Each subject will have one permanent faculty member who will serve as a mentor for students within each subject along with a very illustrious roll of guest faculty members,” says managing partner and director, Shibani who has been an award-winning media professional with over twenty five years of international experience across teaching, management, creative and entrepreneurial positions across diverse media platforms.

Taking to the route of classroom without barriers, they will also use video conferencing classes so that students interact with international resource persons and have access and exposure to the best and latest in the business. Training coordinator Siddhesh Naik says: “I believe this is very important as we want the school to train students to be able to stand with the best in terms of quality of training and knowledge.”

Excerpts from an interview

1 – Finally a film school in Goa… better late than never. Comment.
Shibani: I couldn’t agree more with that thought! Since the earliest days of Indian cinema, Goan talent has found its way to Mumbai and contributed hugely to almost every aspect of filmmaking. Yet, till date, Goa has provided this immense pool of talent without any training opportunities within our state. My colleague Siddhesh Naik is actually the catalyst that drove me to stop thinking and to act – immediately. Siddhesh is a very talented and deeply dedicated film editor, who had no option but to spend a small fortune to acquire training in Mumbai. I also met world-class talents like Miransha Naik who is another great director to watch out for. His film Juje is set to go places. Again, Miransha too, trained in Mumbai. This brought home the obvious – we have the talent, we have the hunger, we have the drive – right here in Goa. What we now need is the training facility that will support this talent and hopefully create a film community and industry to generate projects from Goa that can take their place right up there with the best.

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1 – Who will benefit from the film school?
Shibani: Students, film enthusiasts and filmmakers working in Goa, the business of content creation in Goa and the entire film community as a whole within the state.

Siddhesh: We are simultaneously launching DBTV Digital – a sister project to the Goa Film School. Thus, our students will learn not just text-book filmmaking but also gain hands-on experience, understanding the requirements of various content formats and being able to showcase their work. We shall be offering certified as well as salary-based internships to our students to work on content for DBTV Digital. Each of our students will also leave the course with a show-reel of their work which is invaluable in terms of securing further work.

1 -What can students expect at the film school?
Shibani: A strong theoretical foundation along with very innovative practical training and interactions with industry stalwarts, both Indian and international. There will also be one-on-one mentoring, internships and on-the-job development. Besides, there will be involvement in new projects, industry accreditation and the excitement of belonging to a vibrant, passionate, dynamic community.

Film Schools charge exorbitant fees which discourage film-inclined students from pursuing courses. Comment.

Shibani: So true. When I heard of the fees that students paid for their courses, I was frankly dumbstruck. 18 lakhs is not a small amount… and quite honestly, one I could not have even dreamed of in my student years. Yes, film education does need to cost slightly more than regular media courses as the equipment, infrastructure and the human resource required to offer the right quality of training is a huge and is a recurring cost to the school. But one of the most important factors to us at Team Film Gurus and one that Fr Wilfred Fernandes and Jon Lopes of Don Bosco wholeheartedly shared with us – was that of making film education accessible and very affordable to every student.

Siddhesh: Our courses are priced very, very fairly and we shall work hard to provide work opportunities so our students can earn back their fees and more.

While Mumbai is the main film hub, how will the School manage to be on par with other film schools?

Shibani: Mumbai of course has the advantage of geography – it is the hub of filmmaking in India. But there is a lot of room for several regional and satellite industries to come into their own. Our clear and stated aim for Goa Film School is to create a training facility that will provide students in Goa with a film education that is at par with what is on offer in bigger states. Our syllabus is designed to the highest standards and more than matches whatever is available to students in Mumbai. My decades of wide work experience in media business in India and overseas has afforded me a stellar network of wonderful contacts and connections in the film business. I am hoping to share the immense pool of knowledge that these contacts bring to the table, with our students, through video sessions and mentoring programmes. In fact, I hope to make Goa Film School such a force that it will soon attract students from other states as well.

Siddhesh: For our second year, our aim is to include subjects like editing, cinematography and sound design. We also plan on launching our exclusive flagship course – filmmaking samurai– where we shall train students in seven different genres of filmmaking. It will be an entirely practical instruction.

What is the vision behind starting the School?
Shibani: That is a deeply personal motivation. I come from a long line of educators. My grandfather sent all of his five daughters for higher education – even to Pune because he believed education was the one asset that would never fail you. My mother and all her sisters were strong, confident, capable professionals, who stood by their principles, come what may. So you could say the core was there – genetically – inside me. Add to that the fact that like all Goans who have lived away from their homeland for long periods of time, I adore Goa and the many warm and wonderful things it stands for. From my long-ago days of being a college lecturer, then a newspaper editor and then a writer who set up the first writers’ co-operative in Mumbai to share work and credits and to becoming a national award-winning writer in Indonesia, setting up a British-Asian content channel that would provide a voice and an identity to Asians in the UK, my path has always been geared towards creating a more level playing field. Social justice initiatives move me greatly. Goa has proved to me that one person who believes in something bigger and better, can make a difference if they strive hard enough.

In my years of working with people in Mumbai’s film industry, I found they all loved Goa and the chance to work in Goa. But no one hires Goan crew or takes the film festival here as seriously as it needs to be taken. This bothered me. Until the answer stared me in the face – we need proper training, a system of accreditation, reviews and referrals for Goan talent and a more cohesive film community in Goa. Goa Film School is the obvious first step and I hope we can demonstrate to parents and to talented students that filmmaking is not just a lovely hobby – it is a fantastic, paying profession.

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