In all walks of life, as with cinematography, the difference between knowledge and wisdom is very simple.
Knowledge is acquired over years of late nights and early mornings spent thinking through an eyepiece that will unlock a million imaginations. That same knowledge however, when it is passed on to a new generation, becomes wisdom.
Fresh young eyes and minds use this pedestal of past wisdom to discover and make newer mistakes to learn from, reach higher and fall even harder, but always getting up, stronger and wiser.
Here at the ISC, we believe a true mentorship programme for young, brave, aspiring cinematographers is the need of the hour. It is time for all our accumulated knowledge to be passed on as wisdom and in the process enrich our own vision, through the perspective of younger thought.
Please find the programme details, submission FAQs, submission requirements and submission guidelines mentioned below. Please go through each of the sections properly before applying.
1) Who is the programme open to?
- You can apply to this programme if you have been working in the industry for at least 2 years or more
- If you have just passed-out-of or finished film school.
If you haven’t passed-out-of or finished film school yet, please DO NOT APPLY to this programme. If you do so, then we’ll have to reject your application. The programme will be held annually and you will get your chance to apply and be in it once you pass out.
2) I have been working in the industry, but not as part of the camera or lighting department, can I still apply?
If you’ve been working in the film industry for some time and dream of being a cinematographer, but work in another department on-set, you can still apply. All you need to do so is a showreel with your work or a still photography portfolio and a statement of purpose that would tell us why we should take you in and convince us to have you as part of the programme. Again, this is not a programme for you to just try out. It’s one where an ISC member will seriously be making time to be with you and answer all your questions. So if you’re not serious about taking up cinematography as a career, please do not apply.
3) How long will it last?
The programme will officially last for 3 months.
But, we believe that a good mentorship can last an entire lifetime. Whether or not the mentorship can be carried forward is solely the mentor’s decision.
4) How many candidates will be selected?
Between 10-12 candidates will be selected.
5) What is the programme and what do the mentees get?
It’s mainly a one-on-one mentorship.
Each mentee will be assigned a mentor and will have 3 months of an almost no-holds- barred access to your mentor. During this period, the mentee can ask whatever questions or doubts that they might have.
Apart from this, from time to time we’ll have some curated sessions with ISC members and other prominent industry professionals, not necessarily cinematographers, where we will discuss the many different aspects of filmmaking on the whole. These are mainly to provide you with a holistic view of our profession and industry and help you navigate your way through it. These sessions are only for the mentees and there’ll be no other ISC member or filmmaker present except the ones conducting the session.
6) Is it a physical program or is it online?
Depends on where you and your mentor are located. If you’re in the same city, then you can definitely meet physically and discuss the questions that you might have. If not, then the same can be done online. We believe that it isn’t necessary for both the mentor and the mentee to be physically present in the same city in order for the mentorship to go well.
7) Can I look at it as an assistantship/internship?
This is NOT an Assistantship or an Internship. It’s for working professionals / cinematographers who have questions and a curiosity to tap into the experience of more seasoned DPs.
This is also NOT a networking platform. So it is important to have your priorities clear when interacting with your Mentors.
8) Can I expect to be on-set with my mentors all the time?
It’s totally your mentor’s decision on when and how many times you could visit their set. If their production allows them to, then they would definitely invite you to set. Just remember, if you do get called to set, then you’re just a visitor and not the cinematographer’s assistant. So just be a fly on the wall and soak all the information in while you can.
9) What language would the programme be conducted in? Is it necessary that I know English?
Language isn’t a barrier in the programme. It is ok if you cannot speak in English, but a basic requirement is that you at least understand the English language since the common sessions will be conducted in English.
Your conversations with your mentor however, can be in Hindi or whatever language the two of you are comfortable speaking in.
1) Is there a fee for the application?
2) If I am working/studying outside India, can I apply?
3) Is this program open for students who are in their final year of film school or is there a specific criterion for application?
You have to have passed-out-of or finished film school or you should have been working in the film industry for at-least 2 years or more, in order to be able to apply for this programme.
The application form for the Mentorship Programme will ask you to submit the following:
Telephone number (Mobile preferable)
Resume / CV
Film School and year of Passing - yes / no
Letter of Recommendation (not mandatory, but would help strengthen your application)
Showreel (ONE link only - not more than 2.5 minutes long)*
Still Photography Portfolio (‘Still Photography PDF upload’ or ‘Still Photography Link Upload’. Use one of the tabs)**
Statement of Purpose***
Please read the following submission guidelines carefully, and fill up your application in accordance with them. Failure to do so could result in the rejection of your application.
The core focus of the review of the application will be on your showreel and your statement of purpose.
Please submit your best work as far as possible.
* For your video showreel, please supply ONLY ONE LINK.
Links to websites, website portfolios, Vimeo homepages, Youtube homepages, YouTube playlists and any such collections of videos will not be entertained and your application will be rejected immediately.
Please show a variety of your work in your showreel, with regards to lighting, camera operating, mood and tone.
Please keep your showreel short. Anything longer than 2.5 minutes in length will not be accepted.
Your video showreel does not need to have many different clips. Remember - quality matters not quantity. Lesser the clips, the better. One single clip would also do. If you have do not have a video showreel as such, but have only ONE clip, it could be anything - short film, trailer, music video, tvc, digital film, etc., it’s ok. Just edit it so that the length doesn’t exceed 2.5 minutes.
** If you do not have a video showreel at all, but only have a Still photography portfolio instead, you can still apply. Just make sure to put NOT MORE THAN 10 IMAGES that you have made, together in a single pdf and upload it to any of the cloud based servers like Google Drive, One Drive, Dropbox, etc., and provide us with the link to the same.
The Still Photography Portfolio section is an additional section, apart from your cinematography work.
Please do not attach screenshots of your cinematography work in this section. Do so ONLY if you have any unreleased work that you have permission for and want to show us, or have only a Still Photography portfolio that you would like to show us.
The ‘Still Photography PDF upload’ and ‘Still Photography Link Upload’ are two separate ways that you can upload your still photography portfolio. You DO NOT NEED TO submit your work to both sections. Please feel free to use whichever option works best for you.
If your submission does not meet the criteria mentioned above, then your application WILL NOT BE considered for the Mentorship Programme.
Your showreel needs to show your prowess in composition and lighting mainly (natural and artificial both) and your image making skills in general and not your editing skills. A faster, crazier edit might impress us but won’t get you into the programme.
Please submit a High Definition showreel. 1080p is preferred, and strongly encouraged. 720p showreels can be considered. Showreels lesser than 720p (480p, 360p etc) will not be considered.
Links to Instagram videos will not be considered, as the video quality on Instagram is not High Definition.
It is in the best interest of applicants who have applied to previous Mentorship Programmes to submit up-to-date work. If you upload the same work as before, the result of your application is unlikely to change.
This is a mentorship programme for Cinematographers and upcoming cinematographers. Colourist showreels, VFX showreels, Assistant Camera showreels, Assistant Cinematographer showreels and Camera Operator showreels will not be accepted. Please showcase only your own cinematography / photography work.
Any work where the applicant is co-cinematographer, and where there is no clear indication of what the applicant’s work is, will not be accepted.
Please provide unrestricted access to the Google Drive links you provide. That means, in the sharing permissions section, please set it to “anyone with the link”, so that we do not have to ask you for access to the links when reviewing your application. If we do need to do so, then your application will be rejected.
*** Your Statement of Purpose needs to mention the following:
Who are you as a person?
Why do you want to get into this programme?
What kind of work are you doing now and what kind of work would you like to do in the future?
Who are the cinematographers, Indian and International, whose work/s you admire and why?
**** The Introductory video is just a small clip that we need so we get to know you a little better before you start the programme.
If you have any more questions other than the ones here, then please feel free to write in to us at email@example.com and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
The selection process for Batch 03 of the ISC Mentorship Programme is completed and the selected candidates will be contacted personally.
To all those who couldn't make it to this batch, please don't be disappointed as you can apply for the next batch in 2024.
Thanks and good luck!