Producer G Dhananjayan has setup a film school in Kodambakkam for those wishing to learn the craft. Blue Ocean Film and Television Academy (BOFTA) will have eminent movie personalities on its faculty, and has begun inviting applications from potential candidates. “It’s been my vision to establish an academy. I’m glad it’s taken shape,” said Dhananjayan who recently released a book titled Pride of Tamil Cinema.
‘BOFTA for practical knowledge’
Dhananjayan, who has been teaching screenplay writing at various institutes, opined that while students acquire theoretical knowledge at the existing film institutes in the country, they are also keen to learn the practical side of cinema, “which is more important”.
“A lot of retired filmmakers and technicians teach at these institutes. Although they have immense amount of experience, they are not updated about the recent developments in filmmaking,” he observed, adding, “BOFTA would teach all practical aspects involved.”
Learning from veterans
There is an absence of “guru-sishya system” in Kollywood, Dhananjayan further observed.
“We have noticed that the assistants of directors like K Balachander, Shankar, and AR Murugadoss have fared well. However, it is impossible for talented directors to nurture many assistants. So, I thought, why not institute an academy where students could learn from the masters?”
That was when Dhananjayan met director Mahendran. “Mahendran sir was elated when I explained the concept behind BOFTA. He was in talks with folks in Sri Lanka to set up an academy there. He told me he would like to join the team.”
Mahendran, along with many other filmmakers, will conduct classes on direction at BOFTA while director Bhagrayaj is set to offer sessions on screenplay writing. The National Award winning cinematographer, Madhu Ambat, has also agreed to conduct classes. Apart from veterans in the field, youngsters like Karthik Subbaraj, Venkat Prabhu, Vishnuvardhan, and director Vijay will visit BOFTA on a regular basis, too. This aside, several filmmakers have also agreed to recruit assistant directors from the institute.
Dhananjayan also wanted a versatile artiste on the faculty, so Nasser was approached. Interestingly, the actor had been considering setting up an acting school with Rohini, Rajesh, and Thalaivasal Vijay on board.
“I suggested that we merge the effort and set up BOFTA. In an hour, we got a folder of material on acting from him. He was that prepared.”
The academy had reportedly received an application from a 48-year-old man, who said that he wanted to learn acting under the tutelage of Nasser.
The facility, situated at Kodambakkam, will be inaugurated by Kamal Haasan on March 4.
Qualifications: Higher secondary education is must. Also, to encourage the participation of more women filmmakers, 25 per cent seats have been set aside for women. Seats will be awarded on merit.