The Pench Tiger Reserve is home to the famous Royal Bengal Tiger. This large cat has come to receive much attention and conservation efforts focus on the recovery of the numbers of this majestic specie. With the tiger at the fore, changes in the reserve take the form of changing rural landscapes, social fabrics and tourism revolving around the tiger.
Through our identity exploration and film making workshop, we wished to shift focus from the tigers of Pench and see what lies beyond!
Our students, rightly the ‘sava shers’ of Pench, learnt about video shooting, editing, voiceovers and everything that comes with film making. However, this was no ordinary film making workshop; the five days of the workshop entailed digging deeper and exploring the relationship of ‘jungle, mein aur gaav’ and, in the words of Ankit, ‘demystifying the camera’.
We began with a letter writing activity to help students describe their village and forest to explore their equation with their immediate environment. This is turn was to be our fodder for the film.
Next came a lesson on the basics of film making. ‘Focus’ came to be known as ‘screen saaf karna’ and ‘zoom’ became ‘andar aur bahar’. Five days in the E-Base were all about tripods, DSLRs, camera bags, different lenses, filming locations, scripts, voiceovers and more!
Students broke up into groups to go into the villages and buffer zones to capture the best shots to express through a film their relationship with the tiger dominated landscape.
In the buffers, students for the first time, stopped to observe Giant wood Spiders weaving their webs, and captured it all on camera. The thrill of doing so was uncontainable! The students suddenly looked at everything as a subject of filming. Baronets and common grass butterflies made the majority of the footage in the process. The trees too make up a huge part of the students’ daily lives. Shots of the trees were a must for the film!
Another group went into one of the village to speak with the elders about the time when Pench wasn’t a tiger reserve. These interviews proved to be very interesting for the students to know the state of affairs before Pench officially became tiger land.
The last of the three groups preferred to film village life in Pench. A village abutting a forest has a rhythm and pace of its own and the students were excited to capture it on camera.
On the last day, the groups met again to review each other’s footage and the students were introduced to ‘editing’ and ‘scripting’ on this last day. Going back to our letters written on the first day of the workshop, the students began the process of recording the voiceovers. By the time we completed our scripting, we found ourselves outside a village in complete darkness by our jeep, recording voiceovers!
After a hectic five days, the students not only defined their relationship with the forest but also found the film makers in themselves. Here is a look at the work of our students: Sava Sher
And, to give you a glimpse of the fun behind the scenes, here are a few more photos of the workshop.