In September 2015, the UT Austin South Asia Institute (SAI), in collaboration with Department of Radio-Television-Film (RTF) in the Moody College of Communication, received a grant of nearly $1 million from the US Department of State/United States Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, to establish a University Partnership with the National College of Arts (NCA) in Lahore, Pakistan.
The three-year partnership (Fall 2015–Spring 2018) focuses on building the creative capacity of NCA teachers and students by enhancing skills in script writing, cinematography, 3D animation, direction, visual effects, audio production, sound design, and editing along with all other aspects of documentary and narrative film making.
RTF faculty members and affiliates working under the program will travel to Pakistan four times to conduct intensive courses on filmmaking techniques and to coordinate on collaborative film projects. Over the duration of the partnership, a total of 16 scholars from NCA will also visit UT to work with RTF faculty members and students. SAI will facilitate the exchange of scholars as well as a series of lectures, training sessions, and collaborative film projects planned under the program.
The project will culminate in a feature-length film, developed jointly between NCA and RTF. The film is expected to screen at international film festivals in both the United States and Pakistan.
The NCA, previously The Mayo School of Arts, was established in 1875—the last of four art schools in India to be founded during British colonial rule. The Film & Television Department is the most recent addition to the college and offers a 4-year Bachelor Degree program. This department was the first of its kind in the country to provide formal training and education in the medium of Film and Television Productions when it was launched in 2004. The Department aims to produce media practitioners in the fast expanding local and international media market.
Administered through (SAI), the grant’s Principal Investigator is SAI Director, Kamran Ali. Associate Professor Shanti Kumar serves as a consultant and the faculty coordinator from RTF.