Day-3 of 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, focused on the exchange of ideas on creativity, theoretical underpinnings and challenges of film making by scholars and filmmakers from India and Australia on December 17.
On the day, two Panel discussions and a special session with the Jury of the festival took place and 36 films from documentary and fiction categories were screened on the official website of CIFFI.
The first session was the panel discussion on ‘Cross-cultural activity working between and within India and Australia’ where panelists across India and Australia deliberated on Creativity as a concept and cultural and traditional roots playing an important role in film making. It was moderated by Dr. Ambrish Saxena, Professor and Dean, DME Media School and Festival Director, CIFFI 2021.
While talking about the systematic approach to creativity, Prof. Phillip McIntyre, Professor, Creative Industries, University of Newcastle said that a country’s culture exercises a profound influence on the creativity of that country.
Susan Kerrigan, Associate Professor, Film and Media Practitioner, Australia spoke in detail about how culture, personal background, and societal attributes play a crucial role in the filmmaking process. She talked about the theoretical relevance of domain, agent in the form of gatekeeper, and field society in creativity.
Anjali Bhushan, Creative Director, Viacom 18 Studios, spoke about the need to integrate co-producing laws of various countries and project culture and tradition as a universal phenomenon. “While language is universal, understanding of content is gaining fast among the Indian audience, she added. She also talked about the idea of pan-culture encounters whereby the story has to be created in such a manner that it is understood globally.
Dr. Gauri Chakraborty, Professor, Times School of Media, Bennett University highlighted the fusion of Indian art forms and performances in creativity. “Creativity is the offshoot of respect for one’s culture and tradition. The role and relevance of motif are equally important,” she said.
Dr. Harvinder Mankar, Editor of Mayapuri magazine, India, focussed on understanding each other’s cultural and traditional roots to reach a wider audience. “Content is important. However, mindset is equally relevant,” he pointed out.
Dr. Vikrant Kishore, Festival Director, CIFFI 2021 and Course Director-Film, Television & Animation, School of Communication and Creative Arts, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia summed up the session as, “Creativity is inborn. It is the duty of the filmmakers to realize the implications of the way the culture and tradition are being portrayed,” he pointed out.
Concluding the panel discussion, Dr. Susmita Bala, Festival Associate Director, CIFFI 2021and Head, Media School, DME said that there is a lot to learn from the traditional and cultural heritage of both India and Australia.
The second panel discussion moderated by Dr. Vikrant Kishore, Festival Director, CIFFI 2021 and Course Director-Film, Television & Animation, School of Communication and Creative Arts, Deakin University, Melbourne was on ‘Australian –Indian’s in Australian Media – Challenges and Opportunities’. The panel comprised keynote speaker Kumud Merani, Former Executive Producer of Hindi Programs with SBS Radio. Actor and Theater Director, panelists Girish Makwana, Filmmaker, Satinder Chawla, Actor, Dheepa Awtani, Filmmaker and Kamini Sabherwal, Actor shared their experience and struggle as an Australian – Indian.
While introducing the session, Dr. Ambrish Saxena, Professor and Dean, DME Media School and Festival Director, CIFFI 2021, said that it will be interesting to learn and understand how Indians are shaping the media landscape in Australia.
Kumud Merani, Former Executive Producer Hindi Programs with SBS Radio. Actor and Theater Director and the keynote speaker said that Australia has a richly diverse population. But this diversity is not reflected in the Australian media. “Pandemic has opened up new opportunities to inform, aware, and educate people, and media has definitely played an important role,” she said.
Girish Makwana pointed out that Indians lack maturity as far as cinema is concerned. “The big picture is yet to come. South Indian cinema is popular in Australia because of its intense conceptualization and storyline,” he said. “Hindi cinema needs to be bold and courageous in highlighting issues affecting the weak and women to compete in the world cinema,” he pointed out.
Satinder Chawla, the actor, called his journey in cinema inspirational. Actor, Kamini Sabherwal said that there is a visible demographic change in the Australian media. “One has to get noticed to be able to get the right kind of roles,” she said.
Filmmaker Dheepa Awtani pointed out that Australia provides the opportunity and platform. One needs to have the talent to succeed.
Concluding the panel discussion, Dr. Susmita Bala, Head, Media School, DME, and Festival Associate Director, CIFFI 2021said that moving to another country comes with its own challenges. The experiences shared by panelists are a lesson for the students thus preparing them for the journey ahead.
Day 3 concluded with a special session on ‘Jury Interaction’ moderated by Dr. Ambrish Saxena, Professor and Dean, DME Media School and Festival Director, CIFFI 2021. Pankaj Rakesh, an alumnus of the Mass Communication Research Centre, Jamia Millia Islamia in Delhi, Murtaza Ali Khan, an award-winning Film & TV critic, journalist, and Radio/TV and Sachin Nair, Assistant Professor, Media School, DME and who was involved in the process of collecting and sieving the films for the jury joined the session.
“We as a jury watched almost 40-45 hours of the film screening. During the four days of screening, we lived and breathed films and had some exotic cinema from the world to watch. We were transported to a different kind of experience of culture, language, and ideas of different countries, “ Pankaj Rakesh said
Murtaza Ali Khan appreciated the efforts of the students in providing quality cinema to the jury. “Quality, Consistency, and Ideas were the things we were looking for as a jury member.
We revisited various films, had discussions and negotiations, and came to a consensus. We got a variety of cinemas in terms of innovative ideas, content, and treatment. It was simply impressive,” he said.
Sachin Nair while giving an insight into the whole process of selection of movies, said that film festivals provide the space for ‘other voices’ that are not part of the mainstream cinema.
Summing up the session, Dr. Ambrish Saxena Professor and Dean, DME Media School, and Festival Director, CIFFI 2021, said that such festivals provide experiential moments for those who are part of the festival. “We learn from each festival and come out better prepared for the next,” he said.
Dr. Susmita Bala, Head Media School, DME, and Festival Associate Director, CIFFI 2021 thanked the jury for taking out time to judge the films. “Organising CIFFI for students was a learning experience and will get them industry grounding,” she said.