Liberty Film School Chitwan
Bikalpa – an Alternative in collaboration with Smart Startup & Presidency College of Management Science and with the support from Atlas Networks, Samriddhi Foundation & Accountability Lab hosted two weeks nonresidential “Liberty Film School Workshop” from 24th of March to 4th of April 2019 (10-21 Chaitra 2075) in Presidency Business Incubation Center, Chitwan.
The workshop was structured in three phases. First phase was indoor class-based film-making workshop that lasted 5 days (24-28 March 2019) featuring several key film-making concepts delivered in different sessions from various resource persons. In the second phase (29th March –3rd April), participants were divided into 4 groups after the training to complete their final film-making project based on the ideas pitched by the participants during the training. In the third phase (4th of April 2019) of the training, 4 videos prepared by the participants were screened in front of a large audience. The participants were selected on open basis and Bikalpa had opened applications for the program 1 month in advance.
Core objectives of Liberty Film Making Workshop:
- To enhance participant’s understanding of film-making and help develop a holistic approach to film making i.e. identifying issues, developing concepts, pre-production, production and post-production.
- To enhance the participant’s understanding of public policy issues and equip them with skills required for sensitizing targeted stakeholders and general people.
- To make the participants realize the true potential of visual media in fostering progressive change.
Overview about the Workshop
During this Liberty film workshop in Chitwan, 22 aspiring participants from diverse organization like Perfect media, D40 youth, Better Chitwan, Nepal diaries, Mero Kinmel, and other individuals, working on the different issues joined the workshop. The opening remarks was graced by Mr. Ujjwal Marahatta who handover the floor to Mr. Bishal Bhattarai, founder of Smart Start Up. In his welcome speech Mr. Bhattarai mentioned about the need and importance of bringing film making workshop in his home town. He also stressed on how video making tool could help in transformation of the society. In his talk, he also told “Today’s network is tomorrow business” and urged the participants to utilize the weekends wisely. After welcoming the participants, Mr. Basanta Adhikari shared the objectives and overview of the training, detailing the idea behind the process of how it started, key issues behind it, why it was important and how it was all made possible to bring this training to Chitwan, outside Biratnagar. He also presented a briefing on “Bikalpa an Alternative”. Following this, the remainder of the workshop was facilitated by Bikalpa’s team members and few other facilitators.
Over the 5 days, participants were engaged and learned different aspects of film making in these sessions. The program comprised of the following topics.
- Introduction to Movie making and key concepts of film making
- The key elements of camera: Exposure, Focal Length and Composition
- Cinematography: Using Camera works and Photography artistically
- Public Policy: To provide a brief introduction to public policy
- Script Writing & Screenplay
- Advocacy: Effectives tools for advocacy
- Introduction to Public Policy issues
- Light handling and Sound Art Direction
- Editing: Compiling video, audio and image into a compelling work of art.
- Acting class
- Leadership and Team Building
- Director’s Job, The Making- Challenges
- Idea Pitching,
- Group Formation & movie making on the site
Summary of the Session
Following the speaker session during training. The first speaker of the session, Punam Giri, Member of Bikalpa, took session on Introduction of filmmaking, key concepts of film making and also Light handling and Sound. During his session he stressed on the topic what cinema is, history of cinema, how moving pictures cinema evolved. He also highlighted on historic view of South Asian cinema and “Talkies” which further clarifies the participants to understand about film making history. While talking about lightening he said Lighting is one of the most important aspects of creating a video because it allows setting the mood of the video. He talked most commonly-used techniques for lighting like: Key Lighting, Fill Lighting, Back lighting and explained practically during the session. It was interactive session where Participants also expressed their concerns about the film making techniques.
Madan Krishna Pradhan
The session moderated by Madan Krishna Pradhan was photography which included basics like handling the camera, exposure setting and compositions. He began with handling of the camera and basic settings required to set up a camera. He also explained the various modes, automatic and manual controls in a DSLR setup. After that, he shared the three basic elements of exposure, namely; Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO which are used in various combinations to get the desired exposure. He also stressed on the importance of composition, which set the mood for the photographs. “More than possessing fancy gear, a photograph needs to be able to communicate the emotions to the viewers, and that is possible through a proper composition.” he added. He explained photography to be an art of learning by trying; one needs to have a passion and patience to get the best shot. Mr. Pradhan also used various photographs to illustrate the various science involved in composition including the use of rule of third, symmetry and contrast. At the end he also talked about Mobile photography and how to use it effectively. He talked about how to use the various rules of compositions in mobile phone. He also talked about moving closer to the subject rather than zooming and shaking the phone.
Sarwagya Raj Pandey
Sarwagya’s session included tips on how to convert a story into a plot and how to market issues by converting them into a compelling story. His other sessions included familiarizing the participants about the various phases of film making and the challenges that came with it. He also talked about the role of the director and how they determine the entire genre of the film He also summarized the entire film making process from a director’s point of view and also talked about the difficulties involved in film making process. He also moderated a session in which the participants prepared a one minute film silent film as well. The sessions included power point presentations, videos and short skit as tools to explain his topics.
Ratna Jyoti Shakya
The sessions moderated by Ratna was Cinematography and Editing. In his session, he talked about The Elements of Cinematography, what a cinematographer does, shot sizes: Telling what they see, camera Angles: the art of manipulation and camera moves. He also played small scene of different movies to make understand the participants during the session. In his editing session, he talked about the basic step of editing, what to do to be a film editor and ESSENTIAL CUTS of editing in movie making. In his own words, He said “Editors are called the third storytellers of a movie because, after the writer and director, the editor will construct the narrative and truly define the story that audience will see”. So, it also important for editors to have some cinematic knowledge of the movie. Participant were delighted to know these techniques and had good conversation related to topics.
He took two Sessions on “Introduction to Public Policy Issues” and “Why visual advocacy?” Speaking at this session, He said, we rarely speak about public policy issues that is hindering our life. It is important to see the issues through public policy angle and need to act on it. In his presentation he highlighted the public policy issues and gave numerous examples to clarify the participants. During the session he also shared about having a lot of opportunity here in Nepal. He continuously raised questions on topics like why are we still poor and economically backward, what kind of policies should be adopted, and so on. Since the objective of the session was to help the participants identify new approaches to understand policy problems and developing solutions. This session allowed participants to dive deeper in policy issues.
In his second session He talked about “Advocacy” and “Importance of visual Advocacy”. He said Lobbying is a form of advocacy where a direct approach is made to legislators on an issue which plays a significant role in modern politics. Both lobby and advocacy increase the scope of influence to improve policies and achieve structural change. He further shared Issue for Advocacy, Advocacy and Lobby-Planning stages, issues of concern, collaborative learning by designing campaigns. During this session we also showed Advocacy video made by Bikalpa and told participant to identify such issue for making movie after workshop. He also shared how Bikalpa started visual media tool for Advocacy and sensitize the public in different issues.
In this session of leadership and Team work, the main focus was on team-building among the participants and to enhance their leadership potentials during field work. Here, facilitator used games to build conceptual understanding of team work. He also shared the importance of teamwork and how Film making is all about team work. Throughout the conversations in session the participants delved into various unique perspectives and looked at how each individual has their own definition of leadership.
In this session the facilitator used different mode of practical artistic way to make understand the participants about acting. He shared about the difference between acting for theatre and in front of the camera. Mr. Shrestha gave practical demonstration for those. He also made the participants participate in acting by making them experience acting. The participants were made to enact various scenes which were analyzed by the entire participants. He also made them experience the mirror exercise, in which two participants each were made to enact each other as if they were looking at the mirror. He also gave drama “Sutra”/tips for acting. These exercise and tips helped the students understand the nuances of acting and helped them in guiding their actors during film-making.
During the workshop hours , participants were constantly made to think about the issues that they think were needed to be addressed. This made to help the participant to focus on the idea of their own stories. In the idea pitch, all the respected participants presented their idea stories regarding the public policy issued they were concerned about and out of them 4 idea stories were selected on a short film was to be made by the participants on these issues. Also, on this final day of the workshop, the participants were divided in to 4 groups where they had to work as a team for their presentation of movies?
Throughout the all-session facilitators used participatory tools like games, exercises, individual reflection, group work, interactive discussions, films, role plays and other creative modes in the workshop. Sessions were kept, interactive and had open conversations during the workshop. For the participants, the workshop was not only about the knowledge and skills they learnt, but also the relationships they had made. It was a splendid journey for them to meet and explore themselves with diverse identities together.
Participant’s Review regarding the Program
I was skeptical about the event because I have known graduates who had completed a 5-year filmmaking course from Oscars film Academy and hadn’t made a short film. Even I had studied filmmaking for a year and have stayed idle since then. And here they were claiming to teach us film making in 5 days! I put my ego aside and decided to give it a try. Who knows, I could learn something that I hadn’t learned in that 1 year. Despite my age, the organizers allowed me to be a participant. Every day, I put my ego aside and went to the training empty-headed believing I knew nothing. I kept quiet and used observation as a means of learning. I just kept quiet and observed even during our fieldwork. Frankly, I found the presentation on the history of cinema boring, but Mr. Punam’s presentation was impactful nonetheless. Mr. Sarwagya’s class was superb. He included various topics ranging from story & plot, 3 act structure and characterization among other topics in a short span of time fluently. He must have been aware that it was not possible to include all of those topics in such a short span of time, but whatever he included was wonderful. Mr. Ratna’s class was superb as well. I would have loved him to speak a little louder. But his class was perfect nonetheless. Types of shots, color pallet, psychology and emotions, light and so on. There were a lot of examples and explanations and the three of them did a wonderful job. I salute those three. I was spellbound by Mr. Suman’s session on teamwork. It was exceptionally effective. Loved it. The biggest take away from it was that whether it was a minute or an hour-long movie, it is impossible without teamwork. I don’t think I need to say anything about Mr. Basanta. He was a constant source of inspiration. In the end, I have to admit, I got a chance to learn a lot.
I would like to thank team Bikalpa. In the beginning, I didn’t find anything new, as I have been into media for some time now. And it was extremely difficult to arrange a time for the workshop. At times, I used to question as to why I was in the workshop. But once we went to the field to make our own movie, I began getting things that I was expecting. I began to understand what I had been lacking in our videos, like characterizations, an arrangement of props and various angles. Also, how simply we could make movies from stories around us. I was elated to notice all these while making movie and I am sure I will use these techniques in our upcoming videos.
This more of a confession than a testimonial. Those 5 days of theoretical sessions initially felt uneventful and I was beginning to feel that I was wasting my time. But once we went to the field, the entire process of shooting, editing and screening made me realize that had I skipped this workshop, I would have missed out on a major event of my life.
One of biggest challenge for us an organizer was to commit 2 weeks of time outside Biratnagar.
The other challenge for the organizer that to keep track of all the participants after the group division to make a video. Some of the participants didn’t show in the shooting session while making the video.
Final Screening Day
The 3rd and Final phase of Liberty films workshop, “Movie Screening- Premier Show” was held at the Presidency College Hall on April 4, 2019. During the screening, 4 movies made by the graduates during the workshop were showcased. The short movies were based on themes of individual freedom, Personal choice, Livelihood issues and Power of social Media. The program saw more than 130 attendees during the program.
After showcasing of each movie, the members introduce themselves and shared their experience during the making. The program was hosted by Mr. Basanta Adhikari and guest of the program were Sushil Bhattarai (Academic Director at Presidency College of Management Sciences), Ujjwal Marahatta (Business Development Director at Presidency College of Management Sciences) and Bishal Bhattarai (Co-founder Smart Start up). In the meantime, Mr. Marahatta said that these types of workshop were integral component for empowerment of today’s youths. It could be a great opportunity for those who wanted to incline their career towards visual media as an entrepreneur. He also mentioned that the college faculty were always happy to collaborate in such program to foster entrepreneurship and thanked Bikalpa for the extraordinary event. Different local media personalities were also attendee of the program.
After screening, the graduates and artists involved in the movie were presented with certificates and token of love from the guests of the program. The local and national media present in the program also interviewed the artists and our graduates about their experiences. The program was also covered by various local and national media.
Media Mentions of the program:
A to Z Samachar: https://a2zsamachar.com/56073
Sauraha Online: https://bit.ly/2Gfs8KT
Narayani Online: https://bit.ly/2Z1Dg6x
Narayani Online: https://bit.ly/2Gc5WlH
Better Chitwan: https://bit.ly/2KlC76j
Avaas Telivision: https://bit.ly/2Gd0rU6
Kantipur National Daily: https://bit.ly/2U4IJWw