NCPA – Whistling Woods Film Appreciation Course

NCPA is organizing a film appreciation course which commences on the 7th of  August. The course is being run by Whistling Woods Academy. The fee is Rs 5000 for students for eight sessions, that will include course material and a participation certificate. Pre-registration would be good, and it is better for the participants if they attend all sessions, but if they miss one, it is not a problem.

Details are as follows
(*Each session will be illustrated with film clippings.)

1st Session: 7th Aug, Sat,  2pm to 6pm – The Landscape of Cinema:
Though certain kinds of cinemas have greater visibility than others, there is a vast diversity in the films made around the world. The general character of Hollywood cinema, ‘Bollywood’ and its relationship with ‘Indian Cinema’ and concepts such as ‘independent’, ‘parallel’, ‘regional’ and ‘world’ cinemas would be understood as stepping-stones for celebrating cinema in relation to the cultures and contexts from which they emerge.

2nd Session: 8th Aug, Sun,  2pm to 6pm – Visual Storytelling: Time and Space in Cinema:
What is it in cinema that makes it unique from other forms? Is it a language with a   certain grammar which we learn innately? Perhaps the better films are those that  use this grammar more effectively by telling their stories visually rather than through words. If cinema fragments time and space and then brings them together, how does it manage to give us a coherent vision of an imaginary world seen through the window of the film screen?

3rd  Session: 14th Aug, Sat,  2pm to 6pm – Evolution of Film Language and the Early Comedies:
From its embryonic form in the closing years of the 19th century, we trace the emergence of cinema through the early 20th century until it grows into a dominant cultural form, both as art and industry. Some of the great filmmakers of the early years were comedians, many of whom have now been sadly forgotten. Films that we once saw as just hilarious are now perceived as works of great artists who explored and expanded the expressive power of cinema.

4th  Session: 15th  Aug, Sat,  2pm to 6pm – Understanding Story Structure in Films:
What makes some stories more compelling than others?  What dramatic devices do films often use to give ‘structure’ to a human experience that transforms character?  There seem to be some general principles that work for films across cultures and these conventional notions of structure are referred as ‘classical’. However, wherever there are rules, there are exceptions. Is there any specifically ‘Indian’ way of telling stories? How does the Indian popular cinema draw upon the storytelling traditions in India?

5th  Session: 21st Aug, Sun,  2pm to 6pm – American Cinema: Hollywood and the ‘indie’ film:
Though film language was creatively explored in France, it was in USA that the cinema developed into a huge industry as early as 1919. While a few big corporations monopolised filmmaking and developed their own signature styles and dominated the world, the studio system gradually declined and took a different form. In resistance to the studio-system, there developed in America an off-Hollywood independent cinema tradition that subverts the mainstream and yet, it is from this alternative cinema that Hollywood continues to draw its fresh blood.

6th  Session: 22nd Aug, Sat,  2pm to 6pm – Major European Film Movements:
While in USA, cinema was primarily seen as an industry and films as a consumer commodity, in Europe it has often been perceived as an art form and an expression of culture and history. Thus films often grew out of vibrant social, political and artistic movements that explored new avenues and deepened cinema’s engagement with the world. These pioneering movements had tremendous impact not only on Hollywood cinema but on cinemas around the world, including India.

7th Session: 23rd Aug, Sun,  2pm to 6pm – Mise-en-scène and  Film Styles:
Mise-en-scène refers to the articulation of cinematic space and defines the style of individual filmmakers. It involves almost everything that goes into the making of a shot: composition, movement of camera and characters, lighting, set design and sound design.  Some films drive the story forward with every element in the frame contributing to that end while others invite viewers to pause and reflect on the compositional spaces of the narrative.

8th  Session: 30th September, Sat, 2pm to 6pm – Concepts of genre and auteur:
The idea of genre has defined Hollywood film production to a large extent where films are targeted at specific audiences who have certain expectations.  Indian popular cinema, however, addresses its audience differently though it is increasingly embracing the concept. While the supremacy of genre obliges filmmakers to work within certain conventions, master filmmakers (auteurs) manage to transcend them and leave their signatures in terms of style and content on every film they make.

All the lectures will be delivered by Indranil Chakravarty.
INDRANIL CHAKRAVARTY is Professor of Film Appreciation at Whistling Woods International in Mumbai’s Film City. He graduated in Film Direction from  International School of Film & TV(EICTV) in Havana (Cuba) where he studied under the Nobel Laureate, Gabriel García Márquez. He was screenplay consultant for the European Union Cross-Cultural Programme. He has taught screenplay-writing and Film Appreciation at several universities and institutes in India and abroad.  His book on Latin American cinema is now a reference text at several universities. He has also published a study of the Indian film industry and several essays in English, Spanish and Bengali. He was Manager of the Osians’ Film Archive and Convenor of the First All-India Screenwriters’ Conference held at FTII, Pune and has been on the jury of film festivals in Brazil, Mexico, Cuba and Spain. He is also the director of a foundation called ILACI (Indo-Latin American Cultural Initiative)  which has exclusive collaborative arrangements with UNESCO and IberMedia and is currently producing a documentary series.


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