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Fowzia Fathima, Shalini Agarwal conduct workshop on practicals of handling camera, sound recording

The camera and sound workshop began on 4 March with an orientation on aesthetics and techniques of cinematography and sound design by Fathima and Agarwal.

Shalini Agarwal (right) with a participant at the workshop.

Prateek Rawat

A four-day workshop on camera and sound was organized at the 14th Asian Women’s Film Festival from 4-7 March. The workshop was conducted by veteran cinematographer Fowzia Fathima and acclaimed sound designer Shalini Agarwal. It was attended by two groups — undergraduate media students from the Amity School of Communication and postgraduate media students from the GD Goenka University’s School of Communication.

Fathima is one of India’s notable women cinematographers. She studied cinematography at India’s leading film institute FTII, Pune and has taught for several years at SRFTI, Kolkata. Fowzia debuted as an independent cameraperson in 2002 with the film Mitr: My Friend, directed by Revathy, with an all-female technical crew. She is the tour de force behind the formation and recognition of the Indian Women Cinematographers’ Collective (IWCC) in 2017, an initiative which she began in 2015 as a Facebook group for communicating with other women cinematographers working in the Indian film industry.

Agarwal studied sound design at FTII, Pune. She has worked as production sound mixer and sound designer in Hindi cinema, as well as Hollywood. Her filmography includes titles such as Slumdog Millionaire (2008), Ghajini (2008), The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011), Ra.One (2011), Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011), Life Of Pi (2012), Jobs (2013) and Highway (2014). Apart from feature films, Agarwal has worked on commercials, documentary films, music videos, corporate films and television.

The camera and sound workshop began on 4 March with an orientation on aesthetics and techniques of cinematography and sound design by Fathima and Agarwal. Over the next three days, the media students set out to cover the festival under the supervision of the two professionals. The aim was to train the students in the specificities of camera and sound recording in a practical environment, and to develop a sense of artistic commitment and dedication to the exercise as the consequent footage on the festival is to be curated into films and published on IAWRT India’s channels as an official record of the festival, with due credit to all the contributors.

Sound mixer and designer Shalini Agarwal: Good sound design begins from the script

Commenting on the conceptualization of the workshop for the festival, Fathima said, “I do orientations, film appreciation sessions, and workshops for different events. When this was suggested, I was quite excited because IAWRT’s Asia Women’s Film Festival is growing bigger in such an ambitious way. It is high time that this kind of energy went on record. Given the festival’s need to grow, that it needs to come on the map, I recommended a certain set of events for the workshop. I suggested that both an audio and a video workshop were organized as they are crucial elements in documentary filmmaking. I suggested involving students in activities of the festival by documenting it so as to build a perspective in their views about the festival. The participants of the workshop, the audience, filmmakers get to interact with all the stakeholders of the festival.”

Agarwal appreciated the students of the workshop. “It’s nice to have these guys. They are genuinely interested and are keeping up. It’s all a little new and overwhelming for them, but it would have been the same for me if I were in their place.

The feedback on the workshop has been quite positive. Gaurav and Nitish who attended the workshop from GD Goenka found the module of the workshop quite comprehensive and enjoyable. They remarked that as postgraduate media students their group was thrilled to have learnt the technical aspects of handling camera, shot framing and use of lens at the workshop. Lakshay and Gatik from the undergraduate media programme at Amity were glad that they had received this hands-on practical training from such experienced industry professionals.

Talking about the results of the workshop, Agarwal says, “It’s really nice to get called into a space like this and as somebody who has been working for so long, to share and give back to the society and industry is quite important. Since I have some experience with the practical aspects of film, I want to contribute. Hopefully, some day when they are applying the concepts I have told them, it’ll be great to know that I have contributed to that skill set.”

Evaluating her participation in organizing the workshop, Fathima says, “I hope that at the end of the day we will have many small clips. I wanted these clips to serve as a record and that everyone has ownership of the material. You get a treasure of memories that goes on record and you create a milestone for the festival.”
The 14th Asian Women’s Film Festival was held from 5-7 March at the India International Centre, Delhi. The festival showcased 73 films from 20 countries, along with seminars, workshop and Filmy Adda.

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IAWRT Asian Women's Film Festival