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Whistling Woods director on why PIFF will always feature student films

The audience is mostly youngsters, filmmakers and students who come to watch these films. They come to watch and get a fairly good idea of creative elements, cultural nuances, film-making styles and different animation styles. These are the future film-makers of the country, says Ravi Gupta, dean and director of Whistling Woods International.

pune Updated: Jan 14, 2018 15:18 IST
Prachi Bari 
Prachi Bari 
Hindustan Times, Pune
Whistling Woods,PUNE,PIFF
Ravi Gupta, dean and director of Whistling Woods International.(HT PHOTO)

Ravi Gupta, dean and director of Whistling Woods International and secretary of Pune Film Foundation, one of the key organisers of the Pune International Film Festival (PIFF), spoke to Prachi Bari on the student section of the event.

PIFF has youth as a theme this year? How has it helped the student section of the event?

The greatest wealth and strength of any nation is its youth. The entire world is seeing India as a source of skilled young and energetic manpower and the country is hailed as a youth-centric country. Films could be the best medium to motivate the masses and create awareness about it. PIFF, being renowned for providing a responsible platform for such initiatives, will contribute towards encouragement through creativity.

How was the response from film students?

We have received a wonderful response from film students. We have been curating and organising the student section for quite some time now. Earlier, it was competitive, but this year, we have made it non-competitive. We invite entries from students from film schools across the world. The response has been phenomenal every year. We also closely work with Cilect, a Paris-based organisation, (the three members from India are FTII, Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute (SRFTII) and Whistling Woods), which has 200 film schools as members. And we also get entries from other Indian film schools as well.

How many entries did PIFF get this year?

This year, we had 234 entries from 93 film schools across the world. These were divided into two categories – animation and fiction. Preliminary scrutiny is done by our internal jury members, following which they are given to PIFF for screening. This year, there are nine films in the fiction category and 14 films in the animation category. The animation category receives a great response and the screenings are always jam-packed. This year, in the student section, we have one film from FTII, one from SRFTII, two from Whistling Woods and many others from across the world. Students are always eager to watch what the other students are doing and how other schools are doing.

What attracts the audience to these films?

The audience is mostly youngsters, filmmakers and students who come to watch these films. They come to watch and get a fairly good idea of creative elements, cultural nuances, film-making styles and different animation styles. A lot of students can learn from watching these films. These are the future film-makers of the country.

Why is it a non-competitive festival this year?

We had a tie up with Volkswagen as a sponsor until last year for the student competition. We were trying to tie up with some other sponsors this year as well but couldn’t find one and hence the decision. But we certainly need sponsors for such categories and are hoping to make the student section a competitive one next year. In most cases, students films are funded by their schools, but there are schools where students are required to raise the funds for their films. It is not easy but the students try their best and we are also trying our best to find a sponsor to promote and encourage them.

First Published: Jan 14, 2018 14:59 IST