Daniel Smith at the workshop at British Council.
Picture by Pabitra Das
lFilm I: A fantasy film about a lone elderly woman unaware of her son’s death till she spots his shadow in an old house.
Film II: A drama revolving around a bunch of close college friends who get into a misunderstanding and then overcome the mess through realisation.
Film III: A documentary about an immigrant in therapy after he is framed for peddling drugs.
Film IV: A thriller about a girl/boy in a library being watched by a mystery figure who becomes his guide till he realises it was just his imagination.
This isn’t the schedule for the next film festival in town but a glimpse into the creative minds of boys and girls taking part in a two-day workshop conducted by Daniel Smith, a film-making expert from the UK.
The workshop presented by British Council, in association with the UK-based First Light and city-based Skill Factory, as part of British Council’s film education programme for schools in India will have around 20 students aged 12 to 18 writing, directing and editing their own short films using mobile phones or hand-held cameras.
Daniel, who lives in Birmingham and manages First Light, an organisation that uses film and media production to develop skills in youngsters, started off with an introduction to filmmaking with a focus on developing a good story. “We’ll be looking at genres, themes and films that they watch so that when they write their script, the characters are more alive,” explained Daniel who co-hosted the workshop with Anandi Ghose of Skill Factory.
Day One was about learning the basics. The participants were divided into four groups with each group given a 10-shot challenge of two minutes each and two hours to shoot their film.
On Wednesday, the students will shoot their films and edit the footage before they are screened. “It’s a good way to work out how you put together a story using shots and frames,” said Daniel, who works with youth offending teams in the UK. “We get fantastic results from kids who have been in trouble with police or fallen out of school because of bad behaviour but are intelligent and creative and after these workshops have gone back to school.”
Somak Nandi, 12, is a budding “cinematographer” armed with a Sanyo camera. “I’m crazy about photos. I like clicking animals and decided to participate in the workshop to learn more about video making and how to dub sound with images,” said the St. James’ boy.
Megha, Natasha and William from classes VI, VII and VIII at Calcutta International School gushed, “We like photographing nature, wildlife and things that we see around us. We want to learn the art of doing it more creatively and professionally.”
Riddhi Sen, 16, who played Andrea in Anjan Dutt’s play Galileo was also a part of the young group. “I’ve grown a lot of interest in direction. I’ve been watching films by great directors and reading their biographies. I’m quite excited that I’m getting to learn about storyboard, handling a camera, things that we don’t get to learn in school,” said Riddhi, son of actor and theatre director Koushik Sen.
After Bangalore and Calcutta Daniel is headed to Bangladesh with the project.