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Teaching the nuances: Sam Kumar giving inputs during his class on direction. | Special Arrangement

Hard work, heartbreaks, some successes, many failures and compromises: the cinema field probably has more sad stories than happy ones, but surprisingly its glamour and charm are still intact, with many striving to make it big in the mind boggling showbiz industry. In this movie-crazy nation, cinema is a passion, a dream that turns into reality not very often. Sometimes this passion dies a silent death with no outlet for expression. It is for such people with love for cinema that Mirage Institute of Film Making in Kodambakkam offers an opportunity to bring out their creativity and give free reign to their imagination.

Started by Sam Kumar, an IT professional-turned film maker, the institute gives training in the art of making movies.

“I always had a passion for films, but it took me 15 years of working in an IT firm to enter the directing field. At the institute the focus is not on mainstream cinema, but on individual short-films and documentary.”

Part-time courses

The institute offers five-week-long part-time certificate courses on script writing, short-film and documentary making, directing, editing, and cinematography. Classes can be scheduled according to student’s convenience on weekdays and weekends. Students come from varied backgrounds such as Viscom, engineering, art stream and some are working professionals as well. Though not a limitation in itself, Sam says engineering and Viscom students find film-making easier because they are comfortable with computer programmes and are tech-savvy.

“Journalists can make best script-writers because of their flair in writing, but we let the students choose their line of study according to their interest.”

Age no bar

Started in February 2012, the institute has trained 200 students till now. There is no age limit for joining the course. “Our oldest student is 65 years old and youngest is 13 years old. The only criterion we look for is students’ passion for films. No prior experience is required to join,” says Sam.

Renu Sekar, a freelance journalist and an English teacher by profession, has always loved writing scripts and stories, but needed to fine tune her work. She says that the institute allowed her to channelise her ideas and write a director-friendly script. “I found the course to be student-centric and I have learnt the nuances of writing from the institute.” At present, Renu is working on a script for Sam.

Student speaks

Mr. Kulasekaran, a retired Government officer, says he has completed his first screen play for a Tamil feature film within two months of the Script Writing course. “Using methods thought in the class, I was able to bring my imagination and life experience into my script.  I plan to start my second screen play soon.”

Talking about his job, Sam says that he teaches film making to professionals and students who are not looking to change their line of work. “I ask my students to look at film-making as a mode of expression and not a profession which they can enter full-time after the course. People can look at it as a recreational activity, an inexpensive hobby and a break from mundane lifestyle. Many have a false notion that once they finish their course they can become big directors or producers. Students should join for their self-satisfaction and to find a creative outlet for their ideas.”

Stating that mainstream film making is not for everyone as it takes time, money and experience to climb the success ladder, he says:

“The institute wants the students to explore the big, yet-unexplored world of individual film-making. Students need not worry about their hard work going waste as they can send their movies to international film festivals and numerous online festivals. The institute helps them fill application forms for the same.”


Fees for the courses range from Rs. 8,000 to Rs. 12,000. Instruction is in English and Tamil.  New batch for Screen Writing and Documentary Film making courses will start on December 1 and Short Film Making, Film Direction and Film and Video Editing courses start on December 2. Only eight students per class will be admitted on first-come-first-served basis. 

For registration and other details, call 4212 2002 / 99520 99040.

The institute is located at No. 41, Second Main Road, Trust Puram, Kodambakkam.

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