News from South Asia
26 September 2013
The first of the workshops took place in India…..
21 young people in Bangalore took part in filmmaking workshops, delivered by First Light and Shai Heredia and Kunal Deshpande of Experimenta. Some of the young people already had experience of making films whilst for others, it was an opportunity to try something new and creative.
The workshops started with a discussion around themes and genres and the types of films that the young people enjoy. Once young people started talking about the films they love and why they love them, they moved easily into discussing film ideas for their own films.
After exploring character development and the three part story structure, the young people were introduced to different camera angles, shots and movements and how to use them effectively in their film. Each group then prepared a script and storyboard incorporating camera angles, shots and movements as well as location and dialogue.
Day 2 of the Bangalore workshops involved the shoot. Time was short and a great deal of improvisation took place. The final challenge was editing. Most of the young people had never used editing software before so after a demonstration of the key functions of iMovie, each group set off to start building their rough cuts into their finished film.
The finished films were all fantastic and hopefully, we’ll be featuring them on the First Light website soon.
The film workshops, held at the British Council offices were attended by 20 young people aged 12-18 who came from a mix of backgrounds and with different levels of experience of filmmaking.
Split into four groups, the young people spent the first day developing ideas for the film they would shoot on day 2. Starting with themes and genres, each group quickly had a story idea that they wanted to develop.
Like the young people in Bangalore, the young people in Kolkata have an unlimited imagination so came up with some fantastic ideas.
A four shot challenge was a great success and an enjoyable exercise for the participants. Many of the young people were not aware of the different camera shots, angles and movements and how to use them effectively so this exercise helped them plan detailed storyboards and practice for the shoot on day two.
After deciding on the production roles for each group member, the groups set off with their first shots. As often happens in workshops, there were a few challenges on the second day – mainly around the editing.
Eventually, the team managed to complete the films -just in time for the arrival of parents and special guests for the screening event.
The films went down a storm with the guests who enjoyed the interesting stories and effective use of technical shots and techniques to make the films look sophisticated.
On to Bangladesh
After some time in Dhaka, the First Light and British Council team set off for Cox’s Bazar, located in the South of Bangladesh.
The area boasts the world’s longest natural sandy beach and the team describe the location – the Mermaid Beach Resort – as ‘Paradise’. Even more impressive is the location of the workshops: inside a giant cosmic turtle sculpture!
The participants involved in the workshops have all made their own films, which have won awards at the International Children’s Film Festival of Bangladesh. They bring a lot of expertise with them and so the focus of the workshops is less about teaching them how to make films and more about how to enhance the skills they already have to make them even better filmmakers.
Freelance filmmaker Nina Jones has joined the team in Bangladesh and is leading the sessions on behalf of First Light. Having worked with First Light on a number of successful FLIC projects and being an excellent trainer, Nina was the obvious choice to deliver the workshops.
The participants were split into four production companies and for the rest of the week, work together to plan, develop, discuss, shoot and edit their own short films.
The first task for each group was to discuss film concepts and genres and to brainstorm possible film ideas. The participants are not short of inspiration.
Away from the hustle and bustle of city life that they are used to, this tranquil beach setting has helped the young people to explore different ways to tell stories and to tackle stories and genres that they wouldn’t normally approach.
Mermaid Productions are exploring a story about a man who wakes up only to discover he is stranded on a desert island. This drama centres around his inner struggles to cope with his situation and to fight for his own survival.
Ninja Turtle Productions are creating a thriller about a lone tourist who, whilst taking photographs at the beach discovers a strange man is following her.
Pirates of Bengal Productions are developing a horror story centred around a young male who has visions of a young girl in a red sari but he doesn’t know if these visions are real or imaginary.
Lighthouse Productions have developed a film about a depressed man and his relationship with nature to help him understand his own mortality and place in the world.
We are very excited that there are four very different films and in a market where drama rules and there is little place for horror, it is encouraging to see the young people pushing boundaries here and trying something new.