Documenting for Change - The Impact of Art

Films and Photography
Workshops / Masterclass
Saturday, 24th June 2023
From 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM (IST)


Gain a fresh perspective on impact created by documentaries through a masterclass presented by Avid Learning in collaboration with The Impact Collective. Documentary films convey powerful, often unknown stories and bring awareness to a larger audience, and are some of the best resources for information, inspiration, and entertainment. The journey of Indian documentary films has come a long way from the first short film on wrestlers by Harishchandra Bhatwadekar in the late 1800s to the recent 2023 Oscar-winning The Elephant Whisperers.

Documentaries stimulate a sense of emotion and connection with the audience provoking a fresh direction of thoughts, and allowing them to leave with distinctive memories of the character and mood of the film. The stories through an immersive experience further inform, inspire and motivate the viewers. This session will be an exciting opportunity for aspiring filmmakers, cinephiles, media, and social work students to delve deeper and understand the impact created by the use of storytelling through documentaries.

Join us in the change-making future!

Masterclass Highlights:

- Understand the power of storytelling
- Strategic application of storytelling in films
- Introduction to Impact and its Importance in documentary filmmaking
- Impact case studies provided by Doc Society UK

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Anupama Mandloi

Anupama Mandloi

Producer and Independent Consultant

Anupama Mandloi has been a veteran television professional and storyteller with an overall perspective on content creation and business for almost three decades. She has worked as a senior executive at some of the leading broadcast companies like Sony, SAB and STAR in India. Before she opted to go solo, she was the MD of a production company, Fremantle India. She is currently working as an independent consultant and helping to run writer rooms for specific web projects and media companies. Anupama made her debut as a producer under her banner ‘A Boy and A Dog Productions’ with her independently produced, award-winning documentary, ‘Aunty Sudha Aunty Radha’. She is the co-founder of the Coral Woman Impact Project which highlights the need for marine conservation and coral rehabilitation. She is an alum of the Senior Executive Leadership Program at Harvard Business School.

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Maya Rao

Maya Rao

Head of Content, Manor Rama Pictures

Maya Rao has done her post-graduation in Film Direction from the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune in 1987 and has since then been working in the Media Industry in Mumbai. She started her career in advertising and then moved to television with several shows on mainstream entertainment channels. She was the Creative Director India of Pogo Channel, Turner International. One of her flagship shows MAD on Pogo has won several awards. She has also made several documentaries & is currently developing shows for a digital platform. She is also the visiting faculty at SIMC, Seamedu, and Global Skills Academy among others and has been on the panel of judging student films and on the ITA television shows.

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Evolution of Documentary Film Making

The early films of the 1900s were single shots captured in a film. These short films were popular as “actuality” films; the term “documentary” was not coined until 1926. One of the most legendary first films ever made is ‘A Train Arrives at Ciotat Station’, produced by the Lumiere brothers best known for their Cinématographe motion picture system during the 1890s.
Documentary filmmaking came to light in Russia, in the 1920s with a young poet and film editor Kino-eye Dziga Vertov’s newsreels during the Russian Revolution. During the years 1939-1945, government-sponsored documentaries focused on filming the consequences of massive warfare.Post-1950s technology led to new advancements in documentary filmmaking beginning with great innovations like the Eclair self-blimped camera and solutions provided by Ricky Leacock and Robert Drew group.

History of Indian Documentaries

The first recorded documentary film in India dates back to 1888. Filmmakers D.G Tendulkar and K.S Hirelekar studied studio motion pictures and culture films internationally respectively. They brought the latest concepts of documentary film and laid the foundation of the documentary movement in India in the 1930s. The Films Division was formed in April 1948, they regularly distributed newsreels and documentaries dubbed in five languages including English, Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, and Telegu. It eventually became one of the most significant sources of public information, and it tried to reach out to people in the remotest corners of India. Some of the earliest popular documentary films in India include National Film Festival award winner S.N.S. Sastry's I Am 20, Fali Bilimoria's The House That Ananda Built which was nominated for Academy Awards in 1968, Sukhdev's National Film Award Winner India 1967, and M.F. Husain's Through the Eyes of a Painter that won at the Berlin and Melbourn International Film Festivals.

The Art of Storytelling in Documentaries

A key component that may either make or break a documentary's effect is the skill of storytelling. It requires picking the correct story to tell and creating a compelling narrative that holds the audience's attention from start to finish. To direct the storytelling choices and guarantee a coherent narrative, a central topic should be established. Relatable characters and personal tales can establish an emotional connection with the audience, while visual and aural components can provoke feelings and immerse viewers in the story. Delivering accurate information in an interesting and approachable way requires striking a balance between information and enjoyment.

Documentaries as Drivers of Change

They are effective educational and awareness-raising tools that shed light on pressing problems and encourage people to understand them better. Documentaries have the power to question widely held notions, stimulate critical thought, and affect public opinion and policy. For instance, the ground-breaking film Blackfish exposed the mistreatment of orca whales kept in captivity and sparked a public outrage that resulted in changes to legislation. Similar to how Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth brought climate change to the forefront of international debates, inspiring action and legislative changes. These instances demonstrate the significant social impact that documentaries may have, acting as agents of transformation.

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