After doing a hard day’s work everyone seeks some form of entertainment. And film is one of the popular forms of entertainment. A good film can make its audience laugh and cry along its characters, and film is one of the best mediums to educate or inspire people in society.
It has been a decade that Tribhuvan University (TU) has launched Bachelor’s in Film Studies (BFS), and Oscar International College (College of Film Studies), Sukhedhara affiliated to TU is the one offering a three-year BFS. And as a subject, Film has been introduced in BA IInd Year of Major English as Drama and Film, while Kathmandu University (KU), School of Arts also has the subject Film Studies with three credits in Bachelor’s of Media Studies in IIIrd Year.
About the course
The course Film Studies is about changing the perception of watching a film and generating ideas and knowing the entire process of filmmaking linking it to society, according to Prakash Jung Karki, faculty member, Direction and Scriptwriting at Oscar. “The course Film Studies is an interdisciplinary academic course having theoretical, historical and critical approaches to films. The course helps one in making films aimed towards a supportive output. It is a course aimed to gain critical understanding about life, culture, tradition, society and more along with studying about the use of creativity and technology to produce concrete subject matter,” he explained.
Without understanding/knowing the ingredients and the amounts needed to make a certain dish, those who try to make that dish will fail. Likewise, the Bachelor’s level course of Film Studies is about moulding a student into a skilled and able professional in the field of films where a student gets to specialise in Direction, Acting, Cinematography, Audiography or Editing in his/her BFS IIIrd Year and has to do a project work related to the specialisation course. Students have to study different subjects under the specialised course in BFS IIIrd Year. For example, in Direction the subjects are Story Analysis (BFS 3021), Techniques of Screen Play Writing (BFS 3022), Art of Adaptation (BFS 3023), Directing Shot by Shot and Directing by actor (BFS 3024).
However, for those who aspire to pursue higher levels of studies in Film Studies, there is no Master’s level provision in Nepal.
About including Drama and Film in BA IInd Year of Major English, Lecturer of Central Department of English, TU/visiting faculty at St Xavier’s College Keshab Sigdel explained, “The course Drama and Film does not make a literature student a film professional but enhances the student’s ability to participate in discourses about films as the course’s objective is to have critical perception about any literary text. These days even painting and performance are counted as text. So, the course helps them to have dimension about film.”
Anyone who has cleared +2/PCL or any equivalent examinations in any discipline (Science, Management, Humanities, and Education) recognised by TU with a minimum of second division is eligible to take entrance examination of total marks 50 for BFS, as per Nawa Nidhi Dahal, Senior Administrator of Oscar. “Those who have scored over or up to 25 marks in the entrance exam need not face the interview, while those who have below 25 marks need to face the interview to get admission in BFS,” added Dahal.
Importance of Film Studies academically
There are many institutes that help one learn the technical parts of making a film in short-term courses. However, Karki claimed, “Those who seek short-term courses and be in the work force cannot meet the aim of film that inspires a society. Those who have studied Film Studies have indepth knowledge about film making and are capable to meet its aim.”
Agreeing with Karki, Dahal emphasised that BFS programme is designed to broaden the intellectual horizon where the course helps to expose students to a wide range of films, developing skills of observation, critical analysis and personal reflection. He added, “The programme improves the technical skills of students and encourages them to strive for the aesthetics of film as art.”
The programme has incorporated subjects like Literature, Sociology, Psychology to understand films as a major art form. Shishir Bishankhe, a student of BFS IInd Year at Oscar explained, “After finishing BFS you get to work in the field of films and you also get an academic degree. And studying BFS has helped me meet likeminded people and an environment to nurture my passion for films. Moreover, you get to learn the basics that are the grammar and syntax of a film, which is necessary for your future if you want to be successful.”
Scope and challenges
As the course is designed with specialisation, one has the choice to become either a film director, actor, editor, cinematographer or audiographer. Meanwhile, one can work with various fields like advertising agency, project works, et cetera. However, there are many challenges for students as well as the institution where Karki shared, “There is lack of students who want an academic degree in films, and films have not been able make its presence as an industry due to weak policies on films in the country. And after completing one’s course it is not assured that all students will get employment opportunities in the film fraternity as it depends on the students themselves.”
Meanwhile, technology is always advancing and one has to keep up with new technology to sustain in the market. And Ashma Pokharel, a student of BFS III Year at Oscar and who aspires to be an editor said, “The basic of all the technology is the same and students who have the basic knowledge can always help themselves with new technology.”