There was a time when the very idea of seeking a career in the film industry conjured up dramatic images of running after producers for work, apprenticing under veterans in tough conditions and battling poverty for years before one made it big. The fact that even our movies portrayed film aspirants as ultimate prodigal sons doomed to return home disillusioned or, as glamour sellouts who forget their humble beginnings, did not help things either. Young men and women would routinely give up their dreams of becoming actors, filmmakers, cinematographers due to the lack of proper guidance in the field and misguiding information as to where and who to go to for help regarding their first steps in the film industry. Those days of crushing ignorance are now gone. Thanks to the slow and steady efforts of the Government as well as a few dedicated individuals, a career in films is now as accessible as any other.
In case you have been secretly nurturing filmmaking aspirations but have been unable to process all the scattered information that is available online, you are in luck. ACADZONE has compiled not only a list of the best film schools in India, but also the reasons why they are the best, what you should expect from them and, most importantly, what you should do in order to get into them.
1. Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune
Two seats are reserved for NRI/Foreign students in each course
Apart from having made a name in the film industry, what do the likes of Shabana Azmi, Smita Patil, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Subhash Ghai, Naseeruddin Shah and Jaya Bachchan have in common? They are all alumni of the Film and Television Institute of India or the FTII. When the crème de la crème of an industry graduates from a particular school you know it is the best in its field. Started in 1960 by the Government of India, the Institute was initially based in New Delhi. In 1974, land was procured in Pune and the institute was duly shifted. After shifting to Pune, the institute began receiving full funding from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India.
FTII offers three-year postgraduate diplomas in Direction, Editing, Cinematography, Acting and Sound Recording. The Institute also offers two-year post graduate diploma in Art Direction and Production Design, one year course in Feature Film Screenplay Writing and short courses in almost all aspects of television and film making.
Admission to FTII is based on an entrance examination and interview. Admission to FTII is not easy because candidates have to compete with highly qualified aspirants for a limited number of seats. There are only 12 seats per course. The minimum eligibility is a bachelor’s degree. Candidates willing to pursue a course in Audiography and TV Engineering should have studied Physics at 10+2 level besides a bachelor’s degree in any discipline.
Tip: If you are applying to a course in FTII you stand a better chance if you have some work experience, however minimal, in your chosen field. Your examiners would like to see proof of your passion for filmmaking.
2. Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute (SRFTI), Kolkata
A sprawling green campus is one of the highlights of SRFTI
SRFTI is the premier institute in India for film training which stands in line with Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) for its quality of education and reputation in the Indian film industry. The institute was established in 1995 in Kolkata and named after the acclaimed film director, Satyajit Ray. The institute is set in a sprawling campus and is well equipped.
SRFTI offers three-year postgraduate diplomas in Direction, Cinematography, Editing and Sound Recording. The institute has also introduced some short term courses.
Admission to SRFTI is based on entrance examination scores. Final selection is made on the basis of overall performance in written tests, orientation session, viva voce and medical recommendations.
Tip: Brush up on your knowledge of World Cinema, art and culture before you apply to SRFTI. In an institute where students have been known to organize screenings of films from all over the world almost every day, you’d do best to be prepared.
3. AJK Mass Communications Research Centre (MCRC), New Delhi
In AJK Mass Communication Center, equal stress is laid on theoretical as well as practical training
Strictly speaking, MCRC is not a film making institute and they offer no specializations, but they are as good as any other premier film institute in teaching you the nuances of filmmaking. Anwar Jamal Kidwai founded the Mass Communication Research Center (MCRC) in 1983. It was started with funding from the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and with university cooperation between Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi and York University, Toronto, Canada. AJKMCRC has opened up new spaces and horizons in media education. Approximately 400 students have graduated from the college since 1983, comprising an important media work force in the country today. The alumni have received national awards like the Chameli Devi Jain Award and international awards like the prestigious Golden Gate Award in San Francisco, the Mumbai International Short & Documentary Festival Award, the Film South Asia Award (Kathmandu), and other film and television awards.
AJKMCRC primarily offers a two-year M.A. and Ph.D. in Mass Communication. The subjects covered in M.A. range from Still Photography, Radio, Sound for the Media, Visual Communications, Communication Theory and Research, and Traditional Forms of Entertainment in the first year to Media Appreciation; Video and Television and 16 mm Film Production in final year.
Admission to the institute is based on an entrance examination and subsequent interview. 50 marks are allotted to a portfolio that is mandatory for all candidates.
Tip: Brush up on the latest events from around the world and your region as well. Do not embellish your interests and work experience in the portfolio. You may forget about it but your interviewers will not.
4. Whistling Woods International, Mumbai
Whistling Woods International is the perfect place to give you a head start in the Indian film industry
Established by Subhash Ghai, Mukta Arts Ltd & Film City Mumbai, Whistling Woods International is Asia’s largest Film, Television, Animation and Media Arts institute. WWI provides practical training in all technical and creative aspects of filmmaking and television through 2-year, full-time residential programs in 8 specializations – Acting, Animation, Producing, Cinematography, Direction, Editing, Screenwriting and Sound.
Whistling Woods offers graduate and diploma programs in Direction, Cinematography, Animation, Producing, Editing, Screenwriting and Sound. The institute also offers diploma programs in acting, fashion photography, television and broadcast studies.
Admission to Whistling Woods is based on an entrance examination.
Tip: If the glitz and glamour of Bollywood has influenced your career choice, then Whistling Woods is the Institute you should head to.