US University, AISFM agree on exchange programme

Hyderabad, March 31 (IANS) The US's Northwestern University's School of Communication and Annapurna International School of Film and Media (AISFM) have joined hands for a student and faculty exchange programme.

As a first step towards building a relationship, a group of students from Northwestern spent a week here at AISFM for Indian cinema seminar.

Excited over the first visit under the student and cultural exchange programme, 27 students and faculty from the Northwestern University's School of Communication campuses at Evanston (US) and Doha (Qatar) produced five films at AISFM at Annapurna Studio, owned by the family of veteran Telugu actor Akkineni Nageswara Rao.

Barbara O'Keefe, dean, School of Communication, said they wanted to be in India as Indian cinema is a "completely global cinema". She believes there is great opportunity for them as they are the first American university to have any association with an Indian film school.

"We understand Indian cinema is a completely global cinema. It is something all other cinema are coming to and are learning from. People are beginning to take and apply their artistic vocabulary in really exciting way," she said.

O'Keefe said their goal of the school, which has presence in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, was to have significant presence in every important media capital in the world. The school also has a campus in Doha.

Terming Hyderabad a beautiful and exciting city, she compared it to Chicago.

She noted that the Indian School of Business (ISB) here is already affiliated to Kellogg Graduate School of Management of the Northwestern University. The engineering school of the university is also in talks with various technical institutes in India.

Popular Telugu actor and AISFM president Akkineni Nagarjuna is excited over the association with one of the leading and oldest communication schools in the world.

"The fact that they came all the way to Hyderabad is itself an achievement for us," said Nagarjuna, adding the visit was a first step to know each other.

"Culturally, their script is different from our. We can't expect to learn much but technically it is the same craft with little variation," Nagarjuna told IANS.

The actor said the student and faculty exchange programme would facilitate exchange of ideas. "They will learn how to put a creative idea on the screen," he said.

On whether Northwestern University's School of Communication would certify the courses offered by AISFM, Nagarjuna hoped this could be the first step towards that.

"Nothing has been decided yet. We are having a handshake and we will see how well we get along," he added.

Launched in 2011, AISFM is said to be the only private, non-profit film and media institute in India. With an 22-acre campus, it is also claimed to be the largest film school in Asia.

It is offering world-class education to aspiring students to provide highly trained talent to the entire media industry.

The institute currently has 60 students under various short and full-fledged degree courses.

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