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This is a review of the Mira Nair Teaches Independent Filmmaking class from MasterClass!
The MasterClass Instructor – Mira Nair
Our first introduction to Mira Nair is in her private study where she introduces her love for sharing her knowledge and her philosophy on independent filmmaking. She says to be successful in filmmaking, you must have the heart of a poet, but the skin of an elephant. She beautifully explains how filmmakers are challenged to create something that speaks to their viewers, allowing each viewer to see themselves in the story but at the same time challenging their way of thinking.
For those who are not familiar with Mira Nair, she is an independent filmmaker who is known for her resourcefulness and determination. She directed Salaam Bombay! (1988), Mississippi Masala (1991), The Perez Family (1995), Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love (1996), Hysterical Blindness (2002), Vanity Fair (2004), The Namesake (2006), Amelia (2009), The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2012), and Queen of Katwe (2016).
Mira Nair was born and raised in Rourkela, India, and went on to study at Delhi and Harvard universities. She began her career as a stage actor in India before moving to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she transitioned to documentary films at 20 years old. Her narrative feature debut, Salaam Bombay! (1988), won the Camera d’Or and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language film.
Mira’s goal for this class is to share her knowledge about the entire filmmaking process, along with an in-depth scene workshop that covers blocking, rehearsing, and the final take. Her class focuses on everything from discovering your unique voice to maximizing your resources when you are on a budget.
Independent Filmmaking – Who is it for?
This class is for anyone who is interested in independent filmmaking! Whether you have experience or are just starting out, Mira Nair’s own experiences and philosophy on filmmaking bring a wonderful approach that is easy to follow and so inspiring. Throughout the class she emphasizes the importance of telling your own story, because if you don’t no one else will.
There is power in the poetry of your own language, your own skin, your own story.
MasterClass Mira Nair – Main Themes
- Tell your story
- Engage with the world
- Identify your creative partnerships
- Be inspired
- Be rigorous
MasterClass Workbook – Mira Nair
The workbook for this class is where the hard work begins. It opens with a letter to the viewers, where Mira introduces herself and shares her reasons for teaching this class. For each chapter, the workbook provides a chapter review, a did you know section, a learn more section, and an assignment section. The did you know section expands on one topic mentioned in the lesson, while the learn more section provides resources that provide more information and guidance. The assignments in the class are key to putting what you learned into practice. The assignments are very detailed and guided so you can easily follow along. By the time you finish all of the lessons and assignments you should have a great start on producing your next film!
MasterClass Independent Filmmaking Key Takeaways
She brings exciting energy to this class and shares how her passion to bring new voices and stories to film has guided her success. This class goes through many different aspects of independent filmmaking, which include finding the story, working with a budget, casting, directing, editing, and sound and music, while also taking the time to focus on how to find your unique voice. Mira also spends a few lessons on blocking, rehearsing, and the final take in a scene workshop where viewers really get to see Mira at work!
The key to making films is to have something to say. Something that is distinctive, never seen before, something that only you can bring to life.
This class not only explores the filmmaking process, but guides viewers on how to share a story that is distinctly theirs. What I found so inspiring and eye opening was how Mira decides if she should take on a project. When asked to produce a film, she says, “Can anyone else make this film?” and if the answer is yes, she says then let them do it. She takes pride in her unique ability to tell a story, and she only takes on projects that she knows she can bring a different point of view to.
Final Thoughts on Mira Nair’s MasterClass
This class was so inspirational and really challenges its viewers! Mira Nair has created an excellent class that combines her own experiences with her knowledge of independent filmmaking. If you are looking for a class that really dives into the process of independent filmmaking, while also inspiring viewers to tell their own distinct story, this is an amazing storytelling adventure!
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