Dolcy D’CruzAs the opening of one of the biggest events of the year in Goa, the 54th International Film Festival of India, nears closer, everyone working in the film fraternity will be rushing to register and collect their cards for the festival. The festival is a great learning experience especially for young students, which makes them think on their feet. One of the biggest benefactors of the festival are the mass communication and journalism students. Right from the first year itself, they are encouraged to put their training to the test by registering for IFFI either as a film student, an intern for a media house or volunteering for the organising committee of the festival.St Xavier’s College, Mapusa, introduced its Mass Communication course in 2004 and since then has motivated its students to be a part of IFFI. However, since the pandemic, the schedule of the college has changed and IFFI in November clashes with the semester end exams. Nitin Volvoikar, assistant professor of journalism, informs “The students won’t be able to attend the festival this year as they are answering their exams from November 14 till December with practical exams. This year, the holidays were also rescheduled for the National Games.” “The students work as volunteers too and take their experience from the class to the real world. Many students attend the masterclasses and watch films. This inspires them to pursue a career in the same field. We have many students who are now acting, writing scripts as well as working in the post production of the film and entertainment industry,” says Nitin optimiscally. Throughout the year, the Film Club at Don Bosco College, Panjim headed by Sonika Lotlikar, faculty of Mass Communication, brings in different experts from the film industry to educate the students which gives them a better understanding of the film industry’s working. But at IFFI, they are offered a plethora of international films that use new styles. To attend the festival this year, the college rescheduled the exams for the students, who are ready to attend the festival. “There will be a group of 35 students who have so far confirmed their registration for the festival. Many get their internship secured prior to the festival. There is a different joy on their face when they return to class after IFFI. They get good exposure from all spheres of the festival,” says Sonika, who also worked for Entertainment Society of Goa before joining the college. Diploma students at the Chowgule College, Margao, have been a part of IFFI for the past 14 years since the inception of their Tiger Studio. Presley Fernandes, coordinator of Tiger studio, says, “IFFI is one of the festivals that we look forward to every year. It is compulsory for the students to attend the festival and we also rescheduled the exams as nearly 25-30 students will be a part of the festival. There are students who are already working in the film industry. Some are working on scripts and some are doing aerial shoots,” says Presley. Some of the noted students include Ramprasad Adpaikar and Amit Raj. Ramprasad has directed films like ‘In Search of Mother’, which was also screened at IFFI and Amit Raj did aerial shooting for films like ‘Junglee’ and ‘Khuda Haafi.’ Gazella Viegas from Parra, an alumni of St Xavier’s College has been working in Mumbai on different productions. It was her first experience at IFFI that opened up her mind about the career opportunities that showcased her talent. After graduation, she immediately pursued her post-graduation in filmmaking at Digital Academy, Mumbai and since then has worked on major projects including films like ‘Dil Bechara,’ ‘Thank you for coming’ and the upcoming film, ‘The Crew’. “IFFI broadened my perspective with an array of films and different styles. It offers international films in feature and non-feature which we usually don’t get to see in cinemas,” says Gazella, who also worked on the recent Pepsi commercial featuring Ranveer Singh, which was shot in Dubai. Chehak Mishra from Marcel is a third year student at St Xavier’s College, Mapusa and has enjoyed her experience at IFFI in the past. “I was interning with a Goan magazine and I had access to the actors. My responsibility was to attend press conferences and masterclasses and interview the film personalities. The same content was handed over to the reporting team which was later uploaded,” says Chehak, who interviewed actors like Kartik Aryan, Randhir Kapoor and Raveena Tandon.
IFFI provides ample opportunities for students to take their training to the next level.