“When we talk of film production in Mauritius, we take examples from two major entertainment industries: Bollywood and Hollywood. However, both industries cannot function as role models for Mauritius. The industry that Mauritius should be emulating is that of the ‘South Korean film industry’. This is a small country that has exceled in cinema with limited resources. This small place with lots of creativity is what Mauritius should look upon as a model industry. The conditions in which they started the film industry is very similar of today’s Mauritius.”
This informative viewpoint was expressed by Ashutosh Deshmukh on the first day of a 3-day workshop on Film Production at Rabindranath Tagore Institute (RTI), D’Epinay. The workshop started on 2nd April to inspire students to become trained and skilled in the area of film production as well as helping those who are already working in film production but want to excel.
Around 130 participants registered for this workshop from all around Mauritius.
The inaugural ceremony of this workshop was done by Ankush Kapoor, from the Indian High Commission. In his opening remarks, Kapoor said more film projects are coming to Mauritius from foreign countries, and more projects mean more jobs. So the students should keep themselves trained and skilled for the jobs that are coming their way with these projects.
Mrs S. Gayan, Director-General, MGI-RTI, wished all the participants the very best for their careers in Film Production. She asked the participants to give their feedback after the workshop, so that the Institute can know what they had gained from the workshop and what they expect next; in this way, the Institute will be able to lay the right foundation for the future. She also shared her vision of how the RTI can collaborate with the University and other bodies to produce films based on research and other data available so that they may be able to create some social impacts with the movies.
A short film, “The School Trip” based on the social issue of aging, was also released on the occasion. The film was produced by the students of RTI Film Production course.
Dr. Pavitranand Ramhota, officer-in-charge at RTI shared that RTI is the only Institute that is offering a Bachelor of Arts degree in Film Production in collaboration with the University of Mauritius. He declared that “It has been two years since we started the course, so the first batch of successful students will graduate next year. For the first two years, we had a total of 15 students but this year, we received around 100 applications to register for this course. That’s a huge jump and we appreciate that students are becoming aware of this course and the career options they have in this field. We have invested more than Rs 2 million on instruments so that we can give all the practical training to the enrolled students and make them market ready.”
The first day of the workshop started with a morning session conducted by Ashutosh Deshmukh, the international faculty member at RTI. He said he has seen a drastic change in the film production industry in Mauritius. “Initially, when any production house comes for shooting, they have to bring their own equipment and a large number of their own crew members, but now skilled talent is available in various departments of production along with the required equipment. So nowadays, the production houses can bring less crew and they will hire more locals for a project; it will cut down their production cost and this will also benefit our local film Industry. It is getting better day by day.” Regarding the artists, he said most of the artists are theater trained, which is a very different medium from feature films. He emphasized on the need of having workshops with the artists who want to work in movies, where they will be given the required training and tips on working on big screen.
In the session “Films an Interesting Journey,” Deshmukh explained the process of a feature film in detail, from writer and director to the release of the movie on big screen. He explained how various departments are created and allotted a budget, how the locations and logistics are finalized. The session explained everything about preproduction, shooting of the movie and post production aspects of a feature film in details. After every session, students got the opportunity to ask questions.
Sanjay Joshi, guest speaker from Mumbai, explained the aspect of story writing. He gave tips about how to transform an idea into a story. He said a story should have ups and downs, a story like a straight line is like a lifeless story, same as heartbeats are shown in EKG machine. He explained the different parts of story writing by taking the example of a famous Bollywood film ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’. He stated that a good story is the base of every successful movie. That is why it is said ‘content is the king.’
He further asserts that all writers in Mauritius can look towards India for a career break. Since they can write both in English and French languages, they should also try to sell their scripts to the French film industry, as well as Hollywood directors. There are scopes everywhere; you just have to find out which one is best for you.