“The Golden era of entertainment is ahead”
Says Actor Rajpal Yadav
Day-4 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, deliberated on issues like rejuvenation of cinema post-pandemic, the making of Aiyai – Wrathful Soul and the concept of sound design through three-panel discussions.
Day 4 of CIFFI 2021 saw the screening of 116 films including two CIFFI award-winning films from the Covid 19 Lock Down Diary section on the official CIFFI website.
The first session was a panel discussion on the film: Aiyai- Wrathful Soul, a supernatural thriller feature film with international broad-spectrum appeal designed to cater to global markets. The film, produced by Kanesh Mohana Sundaram was released in Australia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Qatar, UAE, Bahrain, and Oman in March of 2020. Aiyai received critical acclaim from multiple International Film Festivals on various continents with over 24 Official selections, including 14 award wins.
The Panel comprising lead star cast and the technical team of the Aiyai – Wrathful Soul including Kabir Singh, the lead actor, Pennyanne Lace, the female lead actress, Alan Arumugam writer-director, Damien Beebe, director of photography, and Kanesh Mohana Sundaram, the producer of the film discussed the finer nuances of the making of the film, the trials, and travails, the experience of the star cast and the technicalities involved in the making of a film of the horror genre. The session was 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
Introducing the session, Dr. Ambrish Saxena, Professor and Dean, DME Media School and Festival Director, CIFFI 2021, said that CIFFI provides a suitable platform for budding directors and producers.
Kabir Singh the lead actor of the film said that the making of Aiyai was a soulful journey. The film revolves around the experience of Indian students coming to Australia. “Australia is a land of dreams. It gives opportunities. However, one needs to work hard to become successful in a different country,” he said.
According to Alan Arumugam writer-director of the film, the objective of the film was to connect the supernatural with reality. “We wanted to make a psychological thriller by adding different flavors and tastes,” he maintained.
Pennyanne Lace, the female lead actress of the film shared her experience of working in a horror film. “It is important to get into the right frame of mind to bring the character alive. In a horror movie, it is difficult to look beautiful. But in this film, I was actually looking beautiful,” she commented.
Damien Beebe, director of photography gave the credit to the team effort for the success of the film. “Team effort and collaboration is the key to film production,” he said. “The success of the film lies in the audience identifying with the character,” he added.
The producer Kanesh Mohana Sundaram said that a good script makes all the difference.
Concluding the panel discussion, Dr. Susmita Bala, Festival Associate Director, CIFFI 2021and Head, Media School, DME said that horror is an interesting genre, and directors and producers have a difficult task of bringing horror to live before the audience.
The second-panel discussion on Rebirth and rejuvenation of cinema in the digital era –A pandemic fallout was moderated by Professor Ujjwal K Chowdhry, former Pro Vice-Chancellor (Branding, International Relations, Corporate Relations, CSR).
The panel discussion had eminent personalities from the world of cinema including renowned actor and comedian Rajpal Yadav, Director and former RJ Saptak Niyogi, marketing professional Sanjay Narayanan Pisharody, Filmmaking and cinematographer Piyanka Tanwar, Aftab Asghar a US-based independent filmmaker, and Dr. Ambrish Saxena Professor and Dean, DME Media School and Festival Director, CIFFI 2021.
Initiating the discussion, Prof Ujjwal K Chowdhry, former Pro-Vice-Chancellor said that cinema is undergoing a transition phase. Both in terms of content, theme, production, and marketing, OTT is having a free run.
Marketing professional Sanjay Narayanan Pisharody spoke about the challenges faced by the film industry in India from the marketing perspective. “India continues to be an ‘under-screen’ market. The ratio is skewed towards blockbuster films to be released in theatres. Independent filmmakers are still struggling to find theatres for their films. They have now shifted to OTT platforms. Pandemic has accelerated the shift,” he said. “However, the experience of theatre cannot be minimized despite challenges and threats posed by streaming platforms.,” he added.
The renowned actor and comedian Rajpal Yadav called post-pandemic a golden era of entertainment and talent. “Film making is relatively easy but releasing it into theatre is a difficult task.,” he said. “World can still forget covid but it cannot forget the experience of 70mm,” he added.
US-based independent filmmaker Aftab Asghar, while narrating the trials and travails of releasing a film for an international audience pointed out that people’s attention span has reduced drastically, and to make them glued to a three-hour cinema is not easy. “They want interesting and short content and streaming platforms are easily accessible,” he said.
Filmmaking and cinematographer Piyanka Tanwar spoke in detail about making short budget films and how OTT has given a boost to short film directors to release their content.
Director and former RJ Saptak Niyogi said that although OTT has provided a lot of scope for experiments, the thrill of 70 mm remains.
Dr. Ambrish Saxena Professor and Dean, DME Media School and Festival Director, CIFFI 2021, said that the budding talents have to be nurtured and given the platform to showcase their talent.
Concluding the session, Dr. Susmita Bala, Festival Associate Director, CIFFI 2021and Head, Media School, DME said that talent is like a seed and it has to be nurtured into a tree.
Day 4 of the CIFFI 2021 concluded with a panel discussion on a very pertinent subject of cinema i.e sound. Titled Sound Design in Film: Aesthetics and Technology, the discussion highlighted the concept of sound and its relevance in bringing an idea alive. Moderated by Dr. Gauri D Chakraborty, Professor, Times School of Media, Bonnette University, the eminent panelists included Pankaj Rakesh, veteran filmmaker; Gissy Michael, sound designer (FTII
Alumni); Sudeep Chakravarty, Sound designer and musician (SRFTII alumni), and Dr. Moina Khan, Academician, Bennett University.
Introducing the session, Dr. Ambrish Saxena, Professor and Dean, DME Media School and Festival Director, CIFFI 2021, said sound effects are the most underrated yet extremely crucial aspect of cinema. “We cannot image films without sound today,” he said.
Dr. Gauri Chakraborty Professor, Bennette University initiated the discussion by speaking in detail on the relevance of sound effects on content. She highlighted the role of sound in the concept of storytelling. “Cinema is the harmony of visuals and sound,” she said.
Pankaj Rakesh, a veteran filmmaker said that visuals come alive with the help of sound.
Gissy Michael, a sound designer, spoke about location sound and its use becoming a common practice these days. “A sound designer works closely with the director from the inception of an idea till the last stages of production, “ she said.” Watching and listening has changed now with OTT streamings,” she added.
Talking about the engagement of the sound, Dr. Moina from Bennett University said, “sound can be used as an effective tool of communication. One just has to develop sensitivity towards it.”.
Sudeep Chakravarty pointed out that sound forms a medium through which production is judged.
In the end, Dr. Susmita Bala Festival Associate Director, CIFFI 2021and Head, Media School, DME said the session was unique for it discussed and deliberated a subject most ignored yet extremely important in cinema.
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