Day five of the world’s first Hybrid International Film Festival by educational institutions of two countries organized by DME Media School of Delhi Metropolitan Education, Noida, India in association with the School of Communications and Creative Arts, Deakin University, Australia, saw the experts coming together to discuss and deliberate children cinema and opportunities in the visual effects and gaming industry. Not to miss the review of the making of the Geeta documentary by the team members on December 19.
The day witnessed one special session and two-panel discussions. Eighty-six films in the category of short films, Covid 19 lockdown diaries, and ad films were also screened on the official website of CIFFI.
The first-panel discussion of the day was ‘Geeta Documentary – A Panel discussion’ with the film team highlighting the travails of acid attack survivors. Geeta is a special feature-length documentary set in the backstreets of Agra’s slums and follows one woman’s journey who is fighting for a better life for her three daughters who suffered an acid attack from her husband. Geeta represents Neetu’s struggle to overcome her fear and trauma of being an acid attack victim and ostracisation by society. The documentary is wildly courageous and a stunning reminder of the power of love to create real and lasting change.
The panel moderated by Dr. Vikrant Kishore, Festival Director, CIFFI 2021 and Course Director-Film, Television & Animation, School of Communication and Creative Arts, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia, included Emma Macey-Storch Director/producer, Nayana Bhandari co-producer and Neetu, activist and co-founder, Sheroes Hangout.
Introducing the discussion, Dr. Ambrish Saxena, Professor and Dean, DME Media School and Festival Director, CIFFI 2021, pointed out that CIFFI 2021 is truly international as it has experts across the world discussing the issues which are in forefront of cinema and society at large.
Setting the tone of the panel discussion, Dr. Vikrant Kishore, Festival Director, CIFFI 2021 said that story of Geeta is based on a sensitive subject and can be distressing also. Yet the subject is relevant in the context of creating awareness and bringing social change. “The real struggle for a victim begins after the acid attack,” he added.
According to Emma Macey-Storch, director/producer of the documentary, Neetu’s experience sets the narrative of the documentary. “The struggle faced by Neetu and her family to overcome the trauma of acid attack inspired me to make the film. Violence against women is a universal issue. We can have innumerable laws but the change has to start from the family,” she said.
Nayana Bhandari co-producer of the documentary Geeta said that the issue of gender violence is just not confined to India. It is a global issue. “Need of the hour is to reach out to the victims of violence and discrimination,” she said.
Neetu, the activist said that more and more people should watch the film. “Change can come from anywhere and anyone with inner strength can bring out a change in the mindset of the people,” she pointed out.
Dr. Susmita Bala, Professor and Head, DME Media School and Festival Associate Director, CIFFI 2021 concluded the session by saluting the women of courage who have been fighting against violence and discrimination. She exhorted the younger generation to bring a change in society.
The panel discussion was followed by a special session on ‘Wonders of Creativity Leap (Careers in Visual Effects and Gaming) with Dr. Ashish S Kulkarni, Chairman of FICCI for Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming, and Comics and founder of Punnaryug Artvision Pvt Ltd & Screenyug Creations Pvt Ltd and Mr. Sathish Narayanan, Co-founder & CEO, Nectar Pixels Media and founder-director of Design Media and Edutainment Solutions Pvt Ltd,
While introducing the session, Dr. Ambrish Saxena, Professor and Dean, DME Media School and Festival Director, CIFFI 2021, said that session will prove fruitful for the students who are interested in making a career in visual effects and gaming.
Initiating the discussion, Dr. Kulkarni spoke about the effect of visual effects on the OTT industry. The gaming and the visual effect industries have a plethora of opportunities for interested students. “Pandemic gave a boost to the gaming industry in particular as everyone was hooked to some of the other games during the lockdown,” he maintained.
Mr. Sathish Narayanan pointed out that the basis of VFX lies in fine arts, applied arts, and performing arts. “Film Bahubali created a trend in the visual effects industry in India and led the people to believe that investing in the VFX industry was worth the penny,” he said.
Discussing the kind of opportunities the industry can provide, Mr. Narayanan pointed out that students with fine arts backgrounds do have an edge but those who have creative acumen have equal opportunities in the gaming and VFX industry. Unique artistry skills are much in demand. “Every character begins with a paper and the pencil. Ideas are drawn on the paper before they are used as an animation,” he said.
Concluding the special session, Dr. Susmita Bala, Professor and Head, DME Media School and Festival Associate Director said, that today’s creativity through visual effects or gaming brings the characters live on the screen. Animation is the latest trend where creativity meets technology.
The third session was a panel discussion on ‘Children’s films on global movement- opportunities and challenges with experts participating across the globe. The expert panel included Sannette Naeyé, Consultant and Producer, Netherland, Sean Cisterna award-winning director from Canada, Azadeh Shakourirad animation scriptwriter, and director from Iran, Theodora Malliarou researcher and filmmaker from Greece, Paméla Bisson artist, producer, and filmmaker from Canada and Alexandre Juruena, director and curator of the Anim! Arte, Brazil. The panel discussion was moderated by Praveen Nagda festival director Kidz Cinema and Culture cinema India.
Introducing the session, Dr. Ambrish Saxena, Professor and Dean, DME Media School and Festival Director, CIFFI 2021 said, “We at CIFFI try to bring a diversity of issues. Children’s cinema is an upcoming industry in India. It can do really well if it gets the right audience for it,”
Azadeh Shakourirad animation scriptwriter and director from Iran said that cinema in Iran is government-controlled. Yet people love to make movies.
Consultant and Producer, Netherland spoke about meaningful cinema. “Quality content and distribution are areas of concern,” she said.
Theodora Malliarou researcher and filmmaker from Greece emphasized the role of parents and the community in making films for children.
Alexandre Juruena, director and curator of the Anim!Arte, Brazil said that children’s cinema should take into consideration their feelings, fantasies, and dreams.
Sean Cisterna award-winning director from Canada spoke about cross-border partnerships in cinema. “Cross border opportunities will lead to the advent diverse content and wider market for the local cinema,” he pointed out.
Summing up the session, Praveen Nagda festival director Kidz Cinema and Culture cinema India pointed out that children’s cinema needs encouragement from the government as well as from cinema enthusiasts for it to become a global affair.
Concluding the panel discussion, Dr. Susmita Bala, Professor and Head, DME Media School and Festival Associate Director said that efforts should be made by the cinema fraternity to produce more films on children and children should also be guided in creating rich content.
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