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    With short films getting them recognition do first time film makers need film schools and mentors?

    short filmsA� today are the go-to launchpad for filmmakers. Aided by the affordability of DSLR cameras, portable edit suites, and a willing YouTube forum, for the right visibility, filmmakers have a quick pass to the big screen. An example is Imtiaz Ali, who used to direct short films for Zee TVa��s Rishtey before directing his full-length feature. The Tamil industry has several such directorsa��like Karthik Subbaraj, who got his lucky break with the short film Kaatchipizhai (which got noticed at Vijay TVa��s Naalaya Iyankunar). But does this mean film schools and apprenticeships with directors are going out of favour? New-age directors and a few mentors get talking.

    Balaji Mohan
    a�?Shorts, the final lessona�?
    Mohan quit engineering to do a one-year course in editing and sound at LVR Prasad Academy. He then used short films to perfect his art. a�?Having only assisted one director till date, I think directing short films is useful as it shows producers and actors what theya��re in for,a�? says the director who helmed five short films for Vijay TVa��s Naalaya Iyankunar. a�?My film Kadhalil Sudhapuvadhu Yeppadi was noticedA� by cinematographer Nirav Shah and actor Siddharth who agreed to produce its full-length feature. I also used YouTube to market my short films,a�? says 28-year-old, whose Dhanush-starrer, Maari, is playing in theatres now.

    a�?Technical know-how, a musta�?
    After working for a couple of years as an assistant for films like Parthiban Kanavu, Manikandan joined Mindscreen Institute to master cinematography. a�?Though I knew how the industry works, I needed to master a technical skilla��be it sound, editing or cinematography, which is a must for any film maker. Film schools not only expose you to a multitude of films, they also channelise your creativity and help you develop a point of view,a�? he says, adding that the Mindscreen stint helped him put together his first short film, Wind. a�?It is my visiting card, showing my credentials to the industry, which is how Kaaka Muttai happened,a�? he says.

    Rajeev Menon
    a�?Students confident, seek knowledgea�?
    According to Menon, until just a few years ago, aspirants had to work under a director, which ended in a case of a�?hero worshipa�?. a�?This endangers the possibility of having onea��s own style. But nowadays we have more students making their own films, with their own money. And film schools only help them gain the knowledge and technical finesse they require,a�? he says. In 2006, when Menon started Mindscreen in a 3,000 sq ft space in Mylapore, people had questioned how he would compete with an LV Prasad or FTII. a�?But 18 batches later, I can proudly say it is not the size of the building, but that one student (the likes of Manikandan and Sidhartha Nuni) whoa��s done a breakthrough film, that defines the institutea��s success,a�? he says.

    Radha Mohan
    a�?Production lessons on the seta�?
    a�?When I was assisting R Udaikumar, I remember an assistant telling him he wanted to get into films because hea��d failed school and couldna��t get a job. Back then, filmmaking was the last option, but now it is a qualified profession,a�? says Mohan. However he believes that the production aspects of film makinga��like how notA� to exceed a call sheeta��can only be learnt if you assist in a film or two. a�?The new crop of directors have a point of view so strong that they break through the clutter with their short films itself. Seeing Manikandana��s Wind, I knew hea��d make it,a�? he concludes.

    Niranjana Hariharanandanan


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