Friday, June 06, 2008

Sleeping with the Emigré: Teaching Film in a Design School

Emigré: Someone who leaves one country to settle in another.

I have been teaching filmmaking in a design school for the last 12 years. Our 'mission statement' is to create design informed short filmmakers. But often we end up unwittingly creating film informed designers. In less polite words, many of the alumni (especially the undergraduates) flirt with moving image a little, but eventually gravitate to a conveniently indeterminate (and seemingly more profitable and peer-endorsed) domain called communication design.

I see this as a clear lack of pride in their chosen profession and a waste of our energies. This problem is less visible in the postgraduates though, as they apply directly for the specialisation, and hence their passion for cinema is a given (in most cases).

I can never understand (or appreciate) a 18-year old who does not have clarity about what he/she wants to do as a profession, at least for that moment. I always had clarity - at any given point of time - regarding my chosen profession. I was going to be a space scientist once (like most children); then roads and railroads interested me a lot; then I was going to top the IIT entrance; later I was going to be a journalist; then an IAS/IFS officer; and finally a filmmaker. I remember getting FTII prospectuses for years together, every year, even before I was eligible to apply.

The first time I gave the FTII entrance test in Kolkata, I was supremely confident and was looking around in the examination hall for 'who else' will qualify along with me. Of course I did not make it that year, to my surprise !

No comments: