I have been a school teacher since 10 years, so, for me, PhenoMenon Film School is the culmination of those 10 years of working with children. I have also been teaching adults in media schools and colleges, so I thought why not offer both kids and adults all the experience and knowledge I have gained in my career and help them move ahead in the field,” says Anjuna Menon, founder, PhenoMenon Film School, Pune.
Menon is all set to open her second institute in Mumbai in September. PhenoMenon Film School, located in Kalyani Nagar, trains children in the age group of 6 to 16 years in the field of films and direction. She feels films are a great medium for self expression and have the power to change your perception of life.
“When I was a student, filmmaking gave me the freedom to express myself. At a young age, when you are exposed to good cinema, it transforms your perception of life. Filmmaking makes me happy. As a student, I used to watch a lot of movies at NFAI and FTII. Mainstream cinema was never something I liked. I preferred watching art films,” says Menon.
Talking about how her students use this medium to express themselves, she says, “Children these days are very smart and inquisitive. They want to talk about their lives and things they experience. We have children who want to make films on bullying, environmental conservation etc. We give them guidance so that they can find what affects them the most and how to express their concern in the form of films or visual presentation.”
PhenoMenon offers three-and six-month courses. “We teach our children every aspect related to films, starting from script writing to handling equipment and so on. We also teach them to edit, shoot and act in their movies. At the end, we do a screening of their work. We also invite their parents for the screening,” says Menon.
PhenoMenon has students from 6-to 16-year-olds. Making children act or handle things at such a young age sounds like a challenge. But surprisingly, the response she’s received is good. “Six-year-olds are too young for this, most of my students are between 8 and 12 years. But there are a few students who are as young as 6. Those children basically come from a film background. Parents, who have been in the same field, want their children to carry forward the craft. But there are also parents who want their children to learn something new, so they get them here. It’s a friendly environment and interactive too,” says Menon.
Talking about future projects, she says, “We have workshops in schools in Mumbai. Apart from the certificate course, we do a lot of open workshops too. At present, we have partnered with Oberoi International School, Goregaon, Mumbai. The children are really bright and they love the craft and the response is great. We are looking forward for a good response for our new institute as well.”