Less than a year since CEFM-the Hermitage, Kaumun University, initiated a filmmaking course, the faculty and first batch of fourteen students has organised what was supposed to be a tiny (and first-of-its-kind) campus film festival. Atop the Himalayas. Within the city of lakes. Naintal. Uttarakand. It immediately attracted the attention of film professionals and theater artistes, and received support from local residents and business houses as well as from the state administration. Thus, in the very next edition, the festival has ambitions of going international and competitive. Speaking on the occasion, Bhupendra Kainthola (director of FTII) said that it is probable that FTII-Pune could open a full-time diploma course in this region. Film Critics Circle of India (FCCI) too has pledged support.
In the pic above: Rajesh Shah, festival director/co-founder, faculty, and veteran Hindi film cinematographer lights the sacred lamp. On the extreme left is Shalini Shah, artistic director/co-founder, faculty, and National-Award-winning filmmaker.
From pre-festival day, I saw dear Rajesh and Shalini running from one edge of the campus to the other, covering around 5 km a day, guiding students, discussing about the festival, lifting properties from one side to the other, making arrangements for delegates who had arrived at Nainital, talking to sponsors, and what not… I think they have created history.
The campus is on a heritage site and this Bombay heart slowed down its beats to a calm, Zen-like pace for those two days. Seeing how stretched their resources are and the enthusiasm and enterprise that they displayed, I came up with an idea to help this department get the benefit of the rich experience of not just the FTII alumni but also other professionals. Here is a way that we can be Guest lecturers for a day, or two, for the students at the campus.
Most of us travel towards Delhi on some work, for which Production probably pays. The next time any of us feel like taking a break and also earning some Good Karma (time permitting!), lets ask the Production to book our return a couple or so days later. There are trains and Volvos that go to Kathgodam and Nainital, respectively, costing less than Rs. 500/- one way. A taxi will take you from Kathgodam to Nainital for very little. And once there, your hospitality will be Kaku and Shalini’s responsibility.
The students are eager and friendly and its a lovely feeling talking to this generation of film lovers on the threshold of their vocation. I promise, you will return refreshed, with that additional feeling of having given something back to the fraternity to which you belong…! 🙂 And of course, if you are lucky, the Himalayas may just gift you a new story…