Do you want to study filmmaking where Imran Khan and Mithun Chakraborty did? All you have to do is pay Rs 1.8 lakh for a month-long course! In yet another attempt to bring Hollywood closer to Bollywood, the New York Film Academy (NYFA) has set up shop in India. The university is organising a month-long diploma in filmmaking in the city, during which they hope to give 70 students a crash course in everything to do with the art. Says Suniti Goshal, director, Yellow Submarine films, NYFA’s authorised agent in India, “When I went to the academy in 2004, about 106 Indian students had applied for the course. Imran Khan and Mithun Chakraborthy's son also studied there. Mumbai is the hub for filmmaking. Statistics of students, who go to New York from here prove that.”
In eight to ten hours a day, during the duration of a month, the course aims to teach the applicants everything from camera work, screenwriting, lighting and editing among other tasks. Not just that, NYFA expects all students to have created 12 to 14 films, based on what they’ve learnt.
Meanwhile, a lot of the breakdown of the whopping Rs 1.8 lakh includes charges to use the equipment that the academy will provide. “Unlike other film schools that have to make do with old and rented film cameras, a lot of the equipment is being shipped in from the US. Also, a group of four to six people will get one camera to experiment on,” says Goshal, justifying the fee.
But the big Bollywood incentive at the end is an internship with director Anurag Basu, whose last film Kites (2010) bombed at the box office. While the program’s screening procedure for applicants has been outsourced, anyone with a class 12 passing certificate can apply. But speaking and writing English is mandatory. Asserts Goshal, “Teaching instructions are in English. So if the student can’t converse in the language, it’ll become very difficult.”
The response to this flagship course, the last date to apply for which is February 15, will play a crucial role in the decision to make this program a regular event. The classes have been scheduled to take place at Podar School in Santacruz.
“I met the gentleman who owns NYFA, and he said to me, ‘If Al Pacino and Steven Spielberg send their family members to me, I must be doing something right’” says Goshal, claiming that 80 per cent of the seats have already been booked.