The School of Media and Communication, Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE) organised its 5th Manipal International Media Research Conference (MIMRC) on 10th April 2018 at the campus. The conference broke tradition both in its look-and-feel and the way its proceedings were articulated.
Indian actor Gulshan Devaiah, cinematographer Kamaljeet Negi, special effects supervisor Ragui Hanna, film historian Anil Zankar and media academician Nilufer Pembecioglu graced the conference sharing their experiences on how new ways of storytelling have changed the face of media and its landscape.
The theme, ‘Emerging trends in storytelling’ elicited several interesting responses from speakers who represented the world of cinema, advertising, public relations and academia. They all agreed that narrative has changed over the years and yet compelling storytelling remains a lure.
This year’s theme was chosen keeping in mind the stories shared by the speakers ‘will help sharpen reason and develop our critical voice’, said Percy Fernandez, chairperson of School of Media and Communication.
Kevin Hasler, managing director, BPG Cohn & Wolf argued that content will always remain king to bolster the fact that stories are an integral and important tool in influencing people’s decision in choosing a product or a service. As a filmmaker and historian of cinema, Anil Zankar underscored the interplay of literature and painting in cinema and how cinema over the years has benefited from other arts.
A primetime Emmy award nominee for visual special effects, Ragui Hanna delighted the audience with stories of visual effects in cinema over the years. He explained the process of creating that something that’s not real to make it look like one. What value does visual effects add to my story, Can I achieve it without special effects are some the questions he said we should ask before considering getting into using special effects.
My name is Christopher Nolan, said actor Gulshan Deviah drawing chuckles and laughter from the audience. Gulshan was funny, witty and clever. I wanted to be a gangster, said Gulshan after watching Satya that spawned the gangster genre in Bollywood. Apart from narrating his own journey in Indian cinema, he traced the evolution of Bollywood and talked about the challenges that face filmmaking currently. Gulshan was optimistic that whatever the crisis, long format movies are here to stay.
Research paper presentations punctuated the afternoon with three parallel sessions- popular culture and cinema; Literature society and culture and Technology and New Media. The participants belonged to several universities from India and the UAE.
The conference came to a close with a panel discussion moderated by the Hub Editor of Gulf News, Chiranjib Sengupta. Ehtesham Shahid, Managing Editor, Al Arabiya English, Mohammed Almazel, Managing Editor of Gulf News, Sajit Ansar, CEO Idea Spice and Dr. Padma Rani, Director, School of Communication, Manipal India were the panellists. The panel discussion proved to be lively, engaging and fruitful. Panellists discussed Disruption in the Age of storytelling. The managing editor of Gulf News made it clear that storytelling in journalism will never change and that it has to abide by the very principles on which it was founded. We ensure the story is factually right, verified, unbiased and ethical, said Mohammed. Irrespective of the platform, compelling news stories will continue to define what we do in Gulf News, he added.
Ehtesham Shahid laid out the challenges facing online journalism. Quick multimedia content from a dizzying variety of sources makes it harder for editors and reporters to keep audiences engaged, he said. He also spoke of the digital fatigue that has widened the chasm between people, by creating opposing camps on social media on a variety of issues. Sajith Ansar described how the disruption has impacted businesses and customers. Ansar added consumers earlier used to be like a bullseye which businesses could aim at, but now they are like a fast-moving arrow.
While some arguments did not favour the ‘disruption’ caused by the propagation of digital media, Padma Rani said that despite the negatives, this change also needs to be viewed from a positive perspective citing that new innovative apps and digital media have made accessibility to information easier than before.
The conference was planned, orchestrated and executed by the final year Masters students of the School of Media and Communication. The conference showcased original storytelling through slam poetry, Claymation and a play entirely orchestrated by the Bachelor’s students.
Zoe Hurley from the College of Communication and Media Sciences, Zayed University won the best Paper award for her research paper ‘Get Girls Reading: Stories of Social Networking Sites to Promote Reading Networks and Resources’
The one-day event was sponsored by SNTTA, Al Falah Advertising L.L.C, DLC Technical Solutions, Shure and NMK Electronics