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Screen time for film firsts

Short films are back in the groove. Recognising the overwhelming enthusiasm of students for the craft, the chief minister has pledged increased support for their endeavours at the recent two-day workshop-cum-film festival organised at Jadavpur University.

The fest, beginning October 1, saw students pouring into the aisles for a glimpse of films directed and produced by the post-graduate students of film studies as well as discussions by industry professionals. After inaugurating the event, Bhattacharjee promised the department a grant so students could have more hands-on experience in film production. The department’s current budgetary allocation is Rs 30,000 for each of the two films it makes a year.

“Even a 10-minute film can be good, but the budget is an important factor,” he observed before an audience of students and university officials. Watching two of the student films — made under considerable constraints and completed in 10 days — he said he would recommend that the government match the budgeted amount for future batches.

More than 15 films made between 1996 and 2002 by the host department were screened, begining with Smriti, an eight-minute film on “memory and disillusionment”, marked by evocative and lyrical imagery. Cinemafesto, a film of “witty and comic investigations” into the nature of images, followed.

Shorts like Do They Have a Choice, Legacy, Khela Jokhon Child’s Play and Apartment (based on a short story by Alberto Moravio) shared the screen with a music video entitled Stabdhatar Gaan. Telephone, Toy (based on a short story by Nabarun Bhattacharya), Ujjan, E Shomoy and Writing A Letter To You were some of the others on the list. Rendezvous, a youthful critique of the claustrophobia caused by conventional education, was a must-see, as was Lobby, a film that explored various issues related to the “counter-culture”.

There were encouraging signs of experimentation — with language, narrative and camera. Novelty of treatment and taut editing kept the viewers glued to the onscreen action. “The students have really come up with some interesting productions,” enthused Arnab Roy, a PG I student.

The festival has been organised with a view to starting a dialogue between future filmmakers and young professionals, to open up avenues for cooperation and exchange of ideas and opinions.

With this end in mind, A seminar on ‘Short Films In India: Trends and Issues’, followed by a panel discussion was held on October 3.

This session, featuring Ashok Dasgupta, Debashish Guha, Indranil Bhattacharya and Prabuddha Bhattacharya as speakers, was designed to provide insights into film-related activities by government and non-governmental bodies. Making of short films, the new technology available and marketing and distribution strategies were discussed. Production for mainstream television channels was also taken up.

A screening of Laden Is Not My Friend, a 30-minute film, directed by ex-student Bikramjit Gupta, followed, as well as an interactive session between academicians, filmmakers and students, “to bridge the gap between industry and academia”.

The student verdict' All for the fest. It has become an integral part of the JU film studies calendar, they feel, presenting a chance to prove their awareness, ability and creativity. With growing industry participation, they have greater chances of creating an early mark in films and media. Moreover, it’s encouraging for budding film-makers to see cine buffs turn up for experimental films by unknown names, and not just high adrenalin thrills.

— Anisha Baksi,

Jadavpur University

 

Text case

Textbooks for the students. Nothing new there. But textbooks by the students'

For four years, the boys at St James’ have been working on a unique project. They have been creating English textbooks for Classes VI, VII and VIII, as conceived by librarian Sumita Banerjea, who has edited the books written and illustrated by the students.

The series was recently launched at a creative writing workshop, attended by 50 teachers from various city schools, where excerpts were read from various texts and a play was enacted. Chapters have been divided into sections like ‘Nature’, ‘Science Fiction’, ‘Growing Pains’, ‘Short Stories’ and even ‘Ghost Stories’. Each has sections on comprehension, language studies and composition. Three formal grammar workbooks have also been devised to provide a complete package for the teacher.

St James’ is already using the books in classrooms. The series, published by Evergreen Publications, speaks through the student voice, with all its mischief and wonder shining through.

 

Out of syllabus

The 100th episode celebrations of a popular school show, Syllabusse Nei, was held on October 1 at Nazrul Mancha. Students from Beltala girls, Bhabani Girls, Basanti Devi College, Carmel and Modern High School took part in the event, which kicked off with a collage of flashbacks from previous episodes. This was followed by a performance by Pratik Choudhury belting out pop hits like Lift Karadey and golden oldies like Jibone ki Pabona. Students of B.D. Memorial presented caricatures that had the auditorium in peals of laughter. Students showed off their skills, with Sayan Guha playing the octopad and Annie of St Thomas’ School opting to sing. The highlight of the evening was a show by Bangla band Paras Pather, which sang some of their hit numbers like Bondhu and Bhalobasha. The event came to an end with an appearance from singer Nachiketa.

— Vineeta Nair

Class XII, Modern High School

 

Just for kicks

Diorama, the annual Interact Club fest of St Johns Diocesan Higher Secondary School, was held on October 1 and 2, with schools such as Carmel, St Thomas Church School, Ballygunge Shiksha Sadan and Future Foundation fielding teams for the competitive events.

Off-stage ties were scheduled on Day I — Diotussle (Tug-Of-War), DioScribe (writing), Diopainting (face painting). DioParle (JAM or Just a Minute) and a medley DioMix. St Paul’s won the two-round DioMix, which included a special round (where you had to gulp a glass of cola, some rosogollas and kick your partner, all in 60 seconds) and a round of dumb-charades.

Diophony, the music competition, was judged by Krosswindz lead singer Neil Adhikary and Shayok Banerjee of Lakkhichhara. Teams had to sing an original composition, besides pop titles. Future Foundation topped the charts while National High and Apeejay came second and third, respectively. Up next was the dance, where the hostesses won the laurels.

Parnab Mukherjee hosted the crowd favourite Pentathlon where students had to dance, sing, act, and speak for a minute each, and then answer at least two questions from the audience. A sample: Act like Mamata Banerjee, who after years of hard work has learnt English, and writes an English letter to Jyoti Basu. DioShiki or Fashion Show was the last event, where the Pujas featured as a theme.

Rohan Ghosh of Apeejay School was declared Mr Diorama while Subhalaxmi of St John’s Diocesan was crowned Miss Diorama. Finally, Shayne Hyrapiet entertained the crowd with his sizzling numbers.

— Sangeet Shirodkar

Apeejay School

 

Brush with charity

To harness kids’ creativity in a constructive way, the students and teachers of Lakshmipat Singhania Academy organised Srishti, an arts exhibition on October 5 and 6, the proceeds from which went to charities.

Over 200 works were selected from each class, including watercolours and oil paintings, sketches and lino prints. Around 500 people dropped by every day for the sale, signing a huge canvas with their views about Srishti 2002. More than a third of the paintings were sold, a satisfactory outcome for a maiden venture.

Shashank Chiripal

Class IX, Lakshmipat Singhania Academy

 

Festive fun

King-size entertainment was what Kaleidoscope 2002 had to offer. Concluding on October 1, the fest saw three days of fun at the Lady Brabourne campus.

With events like debate, creative writing and eastern and western music taking place last Saturday and Monday, Tuesday was the final day of festivities. Calcutta University law students kept their mouths shut for the Dumb Charades, bagging the top honours. After South City College won the Antakshari, St Xavier’s College stole the choreography trophy. A fashion show, presented by Westside, and a performance by Utpalendu Chowdhury capped off the fest.

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