Safar, a short narrative film depicting the thoughts of a college student about different problems in Mumbai and made by college students was among the 25 films showcased at 'Dimensions Mumbai', a short film competition for filmmakers below 25 years at the 14th Mumbai Film Festival organized by Mumbai Academy of Moving Images (MAMI) on Sunday.
For the director of Safar, Vaibhav Sorte who is a final year mass media student at Hinduja College, Charni Road, 'work and learn' is the most viable option when it comes to filmmaking. "Engineers have IIT (Indian Institute of Technology), medical students have AIIMS (All India Institute of Medical Sciences), but filmmakers have to depend on private institutes that do not follow merit based selection," said Sorte.
From shooting films to writing reviews, students across city colleges keen to develop their filmmaking skills are a part of MAMI this year. In addition to attending and appreciating films, students are playing the role of critics.
"Although I have been attending MAMI since five years, this is my first year as a critic. When we write reviews, we act as influencers. So we cannot be too technical in our review and have to keep personal biases aside," said Ishita Dave, one of the critics. Dave, a post graduate student at Xavier’s Institute of Communications is among the 20 young critics of the 350 selected to attend and review films at MAMI. "Films have an universal language. However in India, except Hindi, English and some French films, international cinema does not get enough exposure, " said Dave.
A number of students attending MAMI also aspire to take up filmmaking as a career. "I adore films, my goal is to tell stories so I am not sure whether I need to wait till I join a course or just begin making films with what I already know", said Mon Pal, a student of St. Andrews College who has been attending the film festival since 2011.
With no formal film making training in colleges; and private institutes being expensive, Ajay Singh, final year mass media student of Siddharth College at Fort learned film editing skills via online tutorials. “I started editing on Womble, a basic editing software during my first year and soon moved on to Final Cut Pro, the most widely used editing software in the industry,” said Singh who edited ‘Safar’.
“There was a two-day workshop that taught us how to review movies. Since most of us haven't been part of a film festival before, attending MAMI gives us experience that will be useful in subsequent international festivals that we might attend,” said Dave.