Course information

Entry requirements

Course Commencement


24 Months Full Time


20-35 years of age

Course Highlights

  • Individual mentoring
  • Experimentation and independent thinking
  • Faculty comprising the best in the field
  • Learning essential filmmaking tools:
    Direction, Cinematography, Editing, Sound

The times we live in ask us to urgently recall basic human values again, to remember and reinforce the ethical in various spheres of existence and expression.

The Creative Documentary Course (CDC) works with a fluid intersectionality between the arts in addressing the content and form of Cinema. The course, by design, is committed to nurturing every individual participant and their unique voice by fostering experimentation and independent thinking. Over the two years, students learn essential filmmaking tools- direction, cinematography, editing and sound, and are mentored rigorously by curated faculty from within and outside India.

Participants apply with a film idea (to be based in Delhi/ NCR). Details in the Admission Requirements section below.


Initiated in 2013, the Creative Documentary Course (CDC) is designed for participants from diverse backgrounds and is a first of its kind in India. Taught by some of the most eminent names in documentary filmmaking from within and outside the country, over two years our students undergo an intensive creative process of learning through consistent exposure to screenings, discussions, lectures and workshops. Individual mentoring and personal sessions with faculty at each stage are a vital aspect of the course.

Since 2017, CDC has been collaborating with Goethe - Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan (a cultural organization, active across the world, working in collaboration with local partners on a wide spectrum of cultural, artistic and reflexive programs and projects) and Thinking Film.
Thinking Film is committed to pedagogy, non-fiction cinema, ideas around representation and relationships contained within cinematic articulation. It values the interaction between the ethics and aesthetics as an impetus for finding form, and supports inquiries into diverse forms of image-making.


Student intake is kept low to facilitate individual attention.
CDC welcomes participants who are restlessly curious, keen to search, question and work intensively to expand their perception and learn, above all.

The course requires complete and full time commitment.

No prior knowledge of filmmaking is strictly necessary.

Participants apply with a film idea. (Details in the Admission Requirements section below)

We invite a range of explorations, some of which could include:

  • The arts – dance, music, literature, theatre, the visual and aural arts, architecture and more
  • The indigenous and the vernacular within the arts
  • Socio-cultural ecologies of caste, class, religion, race, colour, power, and the creation and perpetuation of stereotypes.
  • Belongings and migrations
  • History, true and false historical circumstance, and players in history
  • Law, justice
  • The environment with its histories and current predicaments
  • Gender, and many facets of sexuality, sexual orientation, sexual abuse
  • Birth, death, disease and healing
  • The politics of the family and of the nation
  • The micro and macro of the self and the context. The personal becoming political, and vice versa
  • The everyday and the unusual, the tangible and the intangible

No thematic area has a privilege over the other, we welcome all concerns, all genuine enquiries.

At CDC Students Gain

  • An understanding of the politics of representation
  • Mentors (cinema and art practitioners, academicians, concerned citizens, activists and others)
  • Collaborations with researchers
  • Extensive film viewing and discussion, including visits to important film festivals in the city
  • Meticulous learning of the tools of filmmaking – Direction, Cinematography, Sound, Editing
  • Opportunity to undertake study tour/s outside Delhi, over an extended duration of 3-4 weeks

When you make a film at CDC, the work is well researched, informed, and extensively mentored. The work is yours and not driven by templates, another film like this doesn't exist in the world.

Eminent Visiting Faculty

Our students have had the opportunity to interact with and learn from eminent practitioners, artists and scholars from India and abroad, such as:

  • Amar Kanwar, Amit Dutta, Amit Mahanti, Anugyan Nag, Aparna Sanyal, Asheesh Pandya, Avijit Mukul Kishore, Nilita Vachani, Priya Sen, Priyanka Chhabra, R. V. Ramani, Radhamohini Prasad, Rajula Shah, Reena Mohan, Renu Savant, Ruchika Negi, Samreen Farooqui, Shabani Hassanwalia, Sherna Dastur, and Surabhi Sharma.
  • Interdisciplinary inputs from distinguished external faculty include Dilip Simeon, Ira Bhaskar, Maya Krishna Rao and Rustom Bharucha.

Awards, Screenings and Exhibitions


Smaran (Impressions) by Purandhya Sharma

There is so much to say as we live through life. Our experiences become our stories. Over a few afternoons spent with my grand aunt, I get an insight into my roots as I listen to the reminiscences of the older generation who have so much to share.

  • Best Screenplay (Student Documentary), 9th Kolkata Shorts International Film Festival (2020).

Click to view trailer

Did You Do It? by Aditi Bhande

A place that is neither urban nor rural, on the fringes of the capital of India. The film attempts to explore the dynamics between natural resources and human intervention in this place that is my home. Who is responsible- they, you, me- all of us?

  • Best Editing (Student Documentary), 10th Dada Saheb Phalke Film Festival, New Delhi (2020).
  • Best Documentary (Student category), 9th Bangalore Shorts Film Festival (2020).
  • Best Cinematography (Student Documentary), 9th Kolkata Shorts International Film Festival (2020).
  • Top 2nd Short Documentary, 16 International Film Festivals organised by Jaipur International Film Festival Trust (2020).
  • Special Festival Mention (Student Documentary), 9th Delhi Shorts International Film Festival (2020).

Click to view trailer

Sudhamayee by Megha Acharya

The film's narrative revolve around a woman whose life is filled with events that happen tediously often, even as she battles a chronic disease. She lives on, drawn along by the nectar of life.

  • Best Director (Student Documentary), 10th Dada Saheb Phalke Film Festival, New Delhi (2020).
  • Special Festival Mention (Student Documentary), 9th Kolkata Shorts International Film Festival (2020).
  • Special Festival Mention (Student Documentary), 9th Delhi Shorts International Film Festival (2020).
  • Toto Funds the Arts (TFA) Award for Best Short Film (2021).

Click to view trailer

Teesri Khwaish by Purandhya Sharma, Rustam Mazumdar & Shuchi Prasad

Whether the fog settles on the tracks tonight or not, a cloud of enigma consumes New Delhi Railway Station. Whether the train arrives at platform number 5 or not, we are promised a journey. What happens to the passengers who fall victim to the menacing station, who rely partly on the bookseller and entirely upon fate to reach home safely? Will a third wish be granted? These stories are absurd and precarious in their unfolding, unimaginable yet common, and thus those at the station inevitably become puppets at the hands of God.

  • Best Direction (Student category), in 8th Kolkata Shorts International Film Festival (2019).

Click to view film stills

Chai Darbari by Prateek Shekhar

A search for ‘truth’ stumbles upon varied textures of conversations. Conversations carrying echoes from print, electronic, social media; redolent with the local atmosphere and the context of the city’s past. Since 1992 Ayodhya has been a crucial ground for electoral politics and debates. Unverified and politically motivated videos, circulated on an ever growing WhatsApp web, have complicated the issue a little more. These videos are one-way dialogic conversations, encoded with an ‘us versus them’ subtext. Parallel to this, all arguments around Ayodhya overlook multiple lived realities of the residents. While these realities transmute into endless conversations over chai (tea) in Ayodhya, the nature of the discourse is significantly different in the cities. ‘Chai Darbari’ is a small tapestry of a few such conversations. Chai Darbari was made as a part of 6-month filmmaking program, 'Moving Image: Open Form' (MIC) that ran in SACAC from January to June 2018.

  • Best Short Documentary, International Documentary & Short Film Festival of Kerala (IDSFFK) (2019).

Click to view film stills

Jamnapaar by Abhinava Bhattacharyya

The film lurks on the river's edge seeking to explore how the inhabitants of the Jamuna relate to its degraded presence, the fragile nostalgia of an unknowable past and the horror of its unthinkable future.

  • Best Documentary (Golden Owl Award), Cut.In Students’ Film Festival, Mumbai (2017).
  • Excellence in Sound Design (Silver Owl Award) Cut.In Students’ Film Festival, Mumbai (2017).
  • Best Documentary, National Documentary & Short Film Festival, Thrissur (2018).
  • Best Editor, National Documentary & Short Film Festival, Thrissur (2018).
  • Best International Short Documentary, DFK New Wave Festival, Kolkata (2018).
  • Best Cinematographer Award, DFK New Wave Festival, Kolkata (2018).
  • Second Best Short Documentary, International Documentary & Short Film Festival of Kerala (IDSFFK) (2018).
  • Toto Funds the Arts (TFA) Award for Best Short Film (2019).

Click to view trailer

After Word by Mallika Visvanathan

The film is an attempt to explore the world of objects and their relationship to time, value and memory. Set in Daryaganj, the film imagines the stories that are hidden, forgotten or left behind.

  • Best Documentary Award (National Competition), Filmsaaz, Aligarh Muslim University (2018).
  • Special Jury Mention, Alpavirama Asian Short & Documentary Film Festival, National Institute of Design (NID), India (2018).

Click to view trailer

A Distant Song by Anuradha Bansal

Nostalgia, banalities, expectations, the old and the new – A Distant Song explores life, hope and failure weaved through the stories of individuals set on the journey of music.

  • Honorable Jury Mention (Documentary section) at the 8th Dada Saheb Phalke Film Festival (2018).

Click to view trailer

Maine Dilli Nahi Dekha (I Am Yet To See Delhi) by Humaira Bilkis

The film is a subjective journey, exploring a new city. The filmmaker discovers the soul of the city not in its museums, mausoleums and architecture but in her relationship with its people. The process of looking at the urban space offers the filmmaker a chance to relook at her own space, identity and cultural moorings.

  • Special Mention Award, Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival, Japan (2015).

Click to view trailer

Saatvin Khwahish (The Seventh Wish) by Varun Trikha

Jinns/Genies are the spirits made of smokeless fire. They live longer than humans and thus, can elongate and preserve historical memory. But are they real? Rekhti poetry, written from the early 18th to late 19th century in Islamic cities of Lucknow and Delhi, explicitly talked about the desires of women (including lesbian desires). Were those desires real? The film looks at the denounced Rekhti poetry through its survivors- Jinns and desires.

  • Best Director Award, 3rd National Student Film Awards (NSFA), Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Govt. Of India, Pune (2015).

Click to view trailer

Koi Dekhne Wala Hai? by Shilpi Saluja

This film explores the sense of touch and music in the lives of children in a residential school, looking at the way they connect to each other and the world around them. It invites us to listen to the gentle rhythms of their everyday life as they go about their usual routine.

  • Best Film Award, 12th edition, We Care Film Festival, Delhi (2014).
  • Best Editing Award, 4th Kolkata Shorts International Film Festival (2015).

Click to view trailer

Screenings and Exhibition

Festival Selections and Screenings

  • Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival, Japan
  • Pärnu International Film Festival, Estonia
  • Unishorts Film Festival, Auckland, New Zealand
  • Edinburgh Festival of Indian Films and Documentaries, Scotland
  • International Student Film Festival (ISFF), Pisek, Czech Republic
  • Travelling Film South Asia, Nepal
  • Toto Funds for the Arts (TFA), India
  • Dhaka International Film Festival, Bangladesh
  • Dharamsala International Film Festival, India
  • Experimenta International Festival of Moving Image Art, Bangalore, India
  • Undiplomatic Tales students’ film package at Kochi- Muziris Biennale, India
  • International Association of Women in Radio & Television (IAWRT), Delhi, India
  • Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF), India
  • Women Making Films, a travelling festival across 10 states, India
  • Film Festival, Delhi & Bangalore, India
  • National Student Film Awards (NSFA), Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (Government Of India), Pune, India
  • National Documentary & Short Film Festival, Thrissur, India
  • Urban Lens, Bangalore & Delhi, India
  • ViBGYOR International Film Festival, Thrissur, India
  • Voices from the Water- travelling film festival, India
  • Alpavirama Asian Short & Documentary Film Festival, National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad, India
  • Cut.In Students’ Film Festival, School of Media & Cultural Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, India
  • Filmsaaz, Aligarh Muslim University, India
  • Bangalore International Film Festival, India
  • Delhi International Film Festival, India
  • Delhi Shorts International Film Festival, India
  • Delhi Doc Festival, India
  • International Film Festival of Prayag, India
  • Nashik International Film Festival, India
  • Laadli International Film Festival, India
  • Kolkata Shorts International Film Festival, India
  • Woodpecker International Film Festival, Delhi, India
  • We Care Film Festival, Delhi, India
  • Doosra Chashma- Travelling Campus Film Festival, Mumbai, India
  • Full On Film Festival, M.S. University, Baroda, India
  • Bangalore Queer Film Festival, India
  • South Asian Short Film Festival, Kolkata, India
  • DFK New Wave Festival, Kolkata, India
  • Dada Saheb Phalke Film Festival, India
  • International Documentary and Short Film Festival of Kerala (IDSFFK), India
  • Clapsticks Students International Film Festival, Satyajit Ray Film & Television Institute, Kolkata, India
  • DocumentaMadrid, Spain
  • IAS International Film Festival, Sharjah
  • Leiden International Short Film Experience, Netherlands
  • Signs Film Festival, Thrissur, India
  • Rolling Reels Film Festival, Chennai, India
  • Global University Film Awards, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong
  • Kolkata People’s Film Festival, Kolkata, India
  • One Earth Awards, India
  • Liftoff First-Time Filmmaker Sessions, Global Liftoff Network

Public screenings

  • Wajda Film School, Warsaw, Poland
  • Khoj International Artists’ Association, Delhi, India
  • Goethe-Institut, Max Mueller Bhavan, Delhi, India
  • Film Appreciation Course, Film & Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune, India
  • Department of Sociology, South Asian University, Delhi, India
  • Downstairs @S47, Panchsheel Park, Delhi, India
  • FD Zone, India Habitat Centre, Delhi, India
  • Lok Sabha TV, India


Footnotes on Documentary Practice: The Beginnings of Enquiry

(Image, Text, Sound based exhibition and film screenings at Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan, Delhi, August 2017):

The exhibition was a proposal for Unravelling, Gleaning and Fragmenting as modes of enquiry into documentary practice. The attempt was to fuel collective conversations and questions around seeing, framing, thinking and listening to the world and to ourselves, as practitioners of documentary and non-fiction film.

Spread over two days, the event was an attempt to pose some elementary questions and gestures at the ephemeral processes of making and witnessing in a landscape of wildly fluctuating truths. Do our responses require a new set of ethics as we manoeuvre this complex terrain? And what of our increasingly tenuous relationship to questions around reality and representations of it? The expectations from documentary tropes are shifting and there are few footholds for reinventing and unlearning. The exhibition was therefore an attempt to inhabit this place of difficulty and possible freedom, within this shift.

What is Documentary?

The understanding of documentary and the forms it can inhabit has been severely constrained for various reasons, particularly in pedagogy – resulting in a strange anomaly between filmmaking practice (that has an immense range and richness) and the teaching of it. We try to make a small move to rectify this. We look at documentary as being capable of much more than is commonly imagined, and suggest that the constraints just may be of our own making. Our aim is to nurture a re-understanding, a re-interpretation of cinematic practices where the reality around us becomes our ground for creation and expression. How do we engage, as human beings and as filmmakers to our personal, social and political realities? How do we perceive the world? How does our perception influence the perceived? Does our gaze not affect that which is looked at? How do we understand what we see? What are the stories that are thus born?

CDC is a place to learn not just filmmaking, but a little more about who you are. With a strong grounding in all aspects of film craft, we encourage our students to research, sharpen their insights and articulate their own points of view, as a way of searching for their individual voice. We work with the belief that all narratives, themes and subjects have been addressed by someone, somewhere, sometime. True originality lies in the filmmaker’s own perspective, her/his own unique position, reflections and perceptions. It is an exciting time to be a filmmaker as the possibilities are infinite.


The course equips you with skills that are equally useful for documentary, fiction and anything in between or beyond. The pedagogic requirements are continually reassessed according to the journey of the students, and the curriculum and course structure are kept fluid to allow more intensive mentoring and monitoring. The key features of the curriculum are:

  • Integrated approach- The pedagogical design breaks down the distinction between Content and Form (the What and the How of storytelling), Theory and Practice (what we study and how we realise these concepts) and Creative and Technical. The technical is more than acquiring software and hardware skills. Technique is a carrier of meaning and creates the very aesthetics that shape our films. Students are encouraged to unearth these connections and begin their journey as filmmakers who are open to exploration and experimentation.
  • Holistic filmmaking skills- In-depth and hands-on learning of all facets of filmmaking is a distinctive aspect of our curriculum. Unlike most other film courses in India that offer a specialised learning, at CDC the students are taught all aspects such as camera, sound, editing, ideation, research, script and direction. These are learnt through practical exercises and theoretical engagement. This integrated approach has several advantages:
    • An understanding of all creative and technical aspects of the art is conducive to the production of better cinema
    • Professionally, students are enabled to pursue the skill they want-sound, editing, camera and/or direction
    • Students are technically equipped to multitask, a skill that is often a vital asset in documentary filming
    • Integrated learning permits working in a small team or even alone, allowing freedom, inconspicuousness and intimacy. These can be critical for some documentary work
  • Intensive mentoring- The schedule contains individual and group mentoring sessions in addition to collective classes. The course emphasises one-on-one mentoring across various projects, and this becomes critical to the learning curve of the student. The mentors support and guide the student’s voice in finding its unique expression.
  • Practical knowledge- From the first semester onwards, students undertake short individual and group filmmaking exercises and projects that address various stages of filmmaking- conceptualisation, research, pre-production and post-production. Through interactive, hands-on modules/ workshops with experienced filmmakers, participants evolve their understanding of framing, sound, narrative devices and representational frameworks.
  • Student Productions- The course is a balance between collective and individual learning, as both these aspects are key to documentary practice. Filmmaking involves team work and therefore the students work in groups, so that they can contribute in varied ways to their peers’ efforts and internalise the ethos of working together to realise an idea that is the film. Alongside, each student directs and edits her/his own film in the last semester of the course- an original short documentary based on a subject in or near Delhi.
  • Written self appraisal by students- Students reflect on their work, looking at their experiences, strengths and weaknesses so as to gain more from the course and develop an insight into their own learning curve. The process of writing brings to the fore problems, challenges, and how they were met.
  • Wide exposure to the world of cinema- Film screenings, discussions, conversations and talks which feature directors, writers, editors, cinematographers, sound recordists, sound designers, other artists and scholars are integral to the course and key to the learning process at the CDC. The students also attend a minimum of 3 film festivals each year, with emphasis on film review and interview/written exercises, in order to hone their cinematic understanding.
  • Preparing for the future- The learning methodology addresses the practical, professional scenario of documentary filmmaking, where more often than not, limited budgets and/or intimate shooting situations do not allow for large shooting crews. CDC students are trained in all filmmaking aspects so that they can be self-reliant in their professional lives as filmmakers.
  • Study tour/s outside Delhi- Students have the opportunity to undertake study tour/s outside Delhi for a duration of 3-4 weeks, with course-specific modules and workshops.

Course Structure

A balanced mix of theory and practice, the course is divided into four semesters. The last semester is an extended one where all individual students work on their Postgraduate Diploma film project. The semesters include-

Exposure and sensitisation to various facets of life, art and politics through site visits to screenings, film festivals, performances and exhibitions permeates the time spent in the course.

The keystrokes of the semesters are-

Semester I: Looking afresh. The beginning of practice
Finding new orientations- an introduction to all aspects of filmmaking: ideation, camera, sound, editing.
  • Study of critical ethical and aesthetic concepts related to documentary.
  • The appreciation of world cinema with a historical perspective.
  • The first attempts to understand the language of cinema through one’s own practice.
  • Regular film screenings with contextual discussion.
  • Developing critical and analytical skills through conversations, presentations and written exercises.
  • Attendance at film festival.
  • Further practice – camera, editing, sound.
  • An introduction to experimental cinema.
  • Examining the most commonly used element of documentary – the Interview.
Semester II: Developing perspective and skill. Exercises, projects, presentations
  • Camera & Decoupage Exercises.
  • Understanding cinema, with particular reference to the history of Indian documentary.
  • Attendance at film festival.
  • Analysing and deconstructing messaging from the various media around us.
  • Unfolding Our Context – a research and presentation project.
  • The Location Film project- a short film made by student teams, exploring a location in order to unravel various tangible and intangible facets of a familiar or unfamiliar space.
  • Discussion around the diverse uses and abuses of the Voice Over.
Semester III: Expanding further. Understanding one’s own relationship to filmmaking 
  • Intensive workshops by guest faculty on specific aspects of filmmaking.
  • Relooking at the technical and aesthetic understanding of camera, editing, sound.
  • Film festival attendance, exposure to a diverse range of national and international fiction and non-fiction cinema.
  • Possible travel to a new environment for a series of advanced exercises and workshops.
  • The commencement of Diploma projects (ideation and shoot) with intensive mentoring on:
    • Idea development.
    • Primary and secondary research.
    • Conceptualisation of script.
    • Shooting techniques.
  • What does recce (reconnaissance) mean? How critical is this before the shoot and what experiences are to be had in the process, which would directly affect the filming.
Semester IV (extended semester): Taking stock. Working on one’s own film and beyond 
  • Intensive individual mentoring discussions on:
    • How to view and relate to film rushes. Learning to hear what the material is saying to you.
    • Narrative modes. What are the possible structures that can emerge? What is true to the material, what is false and imposed.
    • Edit scripts. How to work on an edit script, and to modify/reject it if new insights occur. The value of abandoning preconceived ideas.
  • Intensive individual mentoring through the edit of the Diploma film with specialised inputs on structure, sound and story telling devices.
  • What constitutes a narrative? How many kinds of stories are possible with the same material?
  • What is the role of text in a film? How many meanings can textual interventions have?
  • The intricacies of the text element, and how it can work best for your film.
  • How to make a film trailer. International norms and how we work with them.
  • Familiarisation with sources and modes of funding.
  • How to pitch and propose your film for professional project funding.
  • Student film screenings with discussion. The outgoing students will have the opportunity to screen their final films in an auditorium to an invited audience with wide publicity.
  • Post screening classroom learning. The experience of screening and discussion will be taken to another level that students can carry forward into their imminent professional forays.
  • Attendance at a film festival with an opportunity to interact with and interview eminent documentary filmmakers.
  • Typically, students are given the detailed schedules (in most cases) a week in advance for each module.

Mandatory Course Regulations
The course is full time and requires complete commitment. This should be considered before you apply. It is mandatory to follow the rules enlisted below to continue onto the next semester and earn your final Postgraduate Diploma certificate.

  • It is obligatory for students to attend all classes and participate in all course work, which includes practical work, readings, primary research, submissions and all other requirements as will be given to them on an ongoing basis.
  • Students should be seated in the classroom at least fifteen minutes before the commencement of any class, film screening, lecture, meeting, discussion or seminar. Students will be exempted from class if they are not punctual.
  • A student needs to have a minimum of 75% (YTD) attendance to be eligible for the diploma at the end of the course.
  • If absent due to a serious illness, the student should submit or get a representative to submit an application immediately along with a medical certificate and medical bills to the Director. A fake certificate/bills will invite strict disciplinary action.
  • Failure to submit assignments on time will result in exemption from the entire project/module/semester/course. This will be at the discretion of the authorities.


Sameera Jain, Course Director: Sameera has been a director and editor for over 30 years. She has edited numerous award-winning documentaries and also fiction feature films. Her directorial ventures have been recognised for cinematic excellence at many national and international film festivals. She mentors film students and filmmakers on diverse platforms and has taught filmmaking at various institutions, including her alma mater, the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII). Participation in film juries and curriculum formulation have been part of her engagement.

Click to view Visiting Faculty

Academic Council

Amar Kanwar is a filmmaker and a visual artist. Recent solo exhibitions have been held at the Tate Modern, London and Minneapolis Institute of Art (2017-18), Goethe Institut Mumbai (2016) and the Assam State Museum in collaboration with KNMA, Delhi and NEN, Guwahati (2015). In 2012 and 2014 at the Art Institute of Chicago, USA; Yorkshire Sculpture Park, U.K.; TBA2 , Vienna and the Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland. Kanwar has also participated in Documenta 11, 12,13 and 14 in Kassel, Germany (2002, 2007, 2012, 2017). He is the recipient of the 2017 Prince Claus Award, the Edvard Munch Award for Contemporary Art, Norway and an Honorary Doctorate in Fine Arts, Maine College of Art, USA. His films have received several awards like the Golden Gate Award, San Francisco International Film Festival, the Golden Conch, Mumbai International Film Festival, and Jury’s Award, Film South Asia, Nepal.

Avijit Mukul Kishore is a filmmaker and cinematographer based in Mumbai, working in documentary and inter-disciplinary moving-image practices. He is involved in cinema pedagogy as a lecturer at film and media schools across India and as a curator of film programmes at institutions including Films Division India, Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum Mumbai and MAMI. His films as director include 'Snapshots from a Family Album', 'Vertical City', 'To Let the World In', 'Electric Shadows' and 'Nostalgia for the Future'. Many of these have been part of festivals and art fora such as Documenta, Berlinale, IDSFFK etc. His films as cinematographer include An Old Dog's Diary, Seven Islands and a Metro, John and Jane, Kali Salwaar, Made in India and Kumar Talkies.

Bina Paul graduated from the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) with a specialisation in editing. She has edited over 40 feature films and has worked with illustrious directors like G Aravindan, John Abraham and P N Menon. She is a recipient of two National Awards and numerous State Awards for editing. She was the Artistic Director of the International Film Festival of Kerala for fourteen years and has been instrumental in shaping it into an important international event. She has served on the juries of various international film festivals including those held in Locarno, Durban, Morocco and Berlin. She is currently the Joint President of NETPAC & Artistic Director of the International Film Festival of Kerala.

Gargi Sen is a filmmaker, curator, exhibitor, distributor and producer. She recently completed a Fulbright Fellowship for Academic and Professional Excellence at the UC Davis, California, USA. In 2011 she was awarded the Clore International Fellowship for Arts Leadership in UK. She is the co-founder of two arts organisations, Magic Lantern Foundation (est. 1989) and Magic Lantern Movies LLP (est. 2011) that she led. She has conceptualized, curates and executes different editions of the film festival Persistence Resistance in India and the world that explores new ways for audiences, filmmakers and cinema to engage. She is also a non-executive director of 4Cs, a London based arts charity.

Ira Bhaskar is Professor of Cinema Studies at the School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India. She has critical interests in “historical poetics”, cinema and modern subjectivities, literature and film, film music, screen melodrama and historical trauma, violence, memory and representation. She has co-authored Islamicate Cultures of Bombay Cinema, and is currently working on a co-edited volume of essays, Bollywoods’s Islamicate Idioms, Cultures and Histories. She is also editing a volume of Ritwik Ghatak’s screenplays – Ghatak’s Partition Quartet and is working on her book on Trauma, Memory and Representation in Indian cinema.

Maya Rao is a theatre artist who has worked on and off stage for the last thirty-five years. She is particularly known for her solo performances that have a distinctive form and style. She collaborates with other artists to create multi media shows that she directs and performs in herself. She creates comedy built on current political events and popular issues. Maya’s shows have travelled to different parts of the world and she has been commissioned by well known theatre organisations to create new works. For several years Maya taught Acting in the National School of Drama, Delhi. Till recently she was professor at Shiv Nadar University where she designed and taught a Diploma programme – TEST - Theatre for Education and Social Transformation – a first in any institution of higher education in India.

Sherna Dastur is a graphic designer and filmmaker from the National Institute of Design where she has also been visiting faculty. Her film Manjuben Truck Driver was screened at various festivals and institutions including The Museum of Modern Art, New York. She has worked on a wide range of design projects for social campaigns, exhibitions, publications and films. She also makes handmade paper and has collaborated in the making of The Sovereign Forest by Amar Kanwar. Along with Samina Mishra, she is the co-author of My Sweet Home: Childhood Stories from a Corner of the City. She has designed several large format books on artists including Nilima Sheikh, multimedia projects like Cinema City and cultural spaces like The Freedom Theatre in Palestine, receiving Publishing Next awards in 2014 and 2017.

Student Work

Diploma Films

Location Films

Student Intellectual Property Law Policy

All students at Sri Aurobindo Centre for Arts and Communication (SACAC) are requested to carefully read and adhere to the following policy pertaining to intellectual property:

I. The primary purpose of any ‘Student work’ i.e. any work which has been conceived/ created/made/prepared/ produced by the students of SACAC as a part of their class coursework/assignments/ projects or as individual projects irrespective of the fact whether the same was made on the premises of SACAC or elsewhere, whether with or without use of equipment available with SACAC or whether the same was made with or without extra funds, is only educational.

II. A ‘Student work’ so conceived and created may have some commercial value. However, such commercial or market value of the ‘Student work’ is the secondary purpose of the work.

III. The paramount objective of SACAC is to protect the interest of all the students as well as SACAC as a whole and therefore each ‘Student work’ would be subject to certain restrictions till the student(s) have completed his/ her coursework.

IV. The restrictions, which are being imposed, are solely to ensure that the educational experience of any student is not hindered. If students were to license, distribute, market or in any way exploit the ‘Student work’ they have created before the said work has served its educational purpose for which it was created, it would not only deprive the other students of working on the said work but would also obstruct the internal and external faculty at SACAC in giving proper guidance and supervision.

V. SACAC’s interest in the ‘Student work’ is limited only till the completion of the student(s) coursework and completion of the educational experience associated with such work until its usefulness as an educational tool is realized by SACAC. It is further clarified that this would not mean that the work be completed as there may be a scenario where the ‘Student work’ is incomplete but may have satisfied the educational purpose for which it was created.

VI. SACAC has no right, title or interest in the marketing or financial income derived from such ‘Student work’ once the student(s) has completed his/her coursework in all respects. The understanding and assessment of the `Student work’ being complete in all respects is to be done by SACAC authorities and is binding on all.

Therefore, all ‘Student works’ are subject to the following ownership conditions: 1. The student is the owner of the work that she/he has created.

2. All income/benefit from dissemination and distribution of any such ‘Student work’ after the realization of its educational purpose by SACAC shall belong to the student(s) who created the work.

3. The students who have worked on the ‘Student work’ are to be jointly and severally responsible for it. The onus is on them to ensure that it is an original work, which has not violated copyright or any other intellectual property rights of any other person/company. The students also undertake and ensure that they have formally obtained all permissions/approvals for use of any copyrighted material that is included in the ‘Student work’. The Students are also responsible to ensure that the ‘Student work’ is not inappropriate, defamatory, libelous or in contravention to the right of privacy or any other law.

4. The student(s) agree that any mentorship/help/counsel given by the faculty member(s) of SACAC in relation to the ‘Student work’ or in discharge of their normal course duties shall not be construed as: (a) creating any right in favour of the SACAC faculty member(s) in the said ‘Student work’ (b) hold SACAC or any of its faculty member(s) as the co-owner (c) creating any obligation or liability on SACAC or any of its faculty member(s).

5. Each student agrees to indemnify and hold SACAC harmless from and against any and all third party claims, actions or proceedings of any kind and from any and all damages, liabilities, costs, and expenses relating to or arising due to the breach of this policy by the student.

6. The student(s) who have created the ‘Student work’ undertake not to exploit the work in any manner including but not limited to sell, transfer, assign, license, distribute, market etc. except for entering such work into film festivals or such forums till each of the student(s) who have created or contributed to the ‘Student work’ has completed in all respects their coursework at SACAC. The Director Ms. Daljeet Wadhwa, of SACAC may use sole discretionary powers to waive these restrictions for any reasons considered appropriate by her. The students(s) also commit that that they will make the ‘Student work’ accessible to other students/ SACAC faculty or staff, with reference to their educational experience and coursework at SACAC.

7. The student(s) agrees to provide SACAC prints or other copies of such ‘Student work’ whenever requested by SACAC for any use by SACAC.

8. The student(s) agrees to grant SACAC the right to reproduce, display, or communicate to the public prints or other copies of such ‘Student work’ on any mode or medium, including but not limited to promotional activities of SACAC. Such right to reproduce would be without payment of any royalty or consideration of any kind to the student(s). SACAC undertakes not to license such prints or copies.

9. The student(s) also agrees not make any contract or commitment regarding the ‘Student work’ contrary to this policy or in derogation of the rights granted to the SACAC under this policy. The student(s) further agree to sign any document reasonably requested by the SACAC to confirm or enforce any of the rights granted to SACAC under this policy.

10. It is at the discretion of SACAC whether or not to put its name on any ‘Student work’.

News and Events Archive

In the eight years since the commencement of CDC, our students' films have been selected as India's entry to the Oscars, won several awards and have been screened at more than thirty prestigious film festivals, globally and in India.

Click to view our news and events archive.

Student Experience

Admission Requirements


  • Minimum age- 20 years. Upper age limit- 35 years.
  • Graduation preferred. (Graduates in any discipline, including those awaiting their final year result/equivalent qualifications/working professionals)
  • We particularly encourage individuals who have a keen interest in the arts. Formal training/certification in creative arts is not mandatory
  • Since the course is extremely rigorous, a student admitted into this course will not be allowed to pursue any other course, job or activity that is not directly related to the course


Film Idea

This can be written in English or Hindi. (400-500 words)
A student enters the course with a film idea (to be based in Delhi/ NCR) and will be nurtured towards realising this. However, the concept is likely to undergo several transformations as the participant goes through a rigorous mentoring and learning process. Therefore, the submissions will not be considered firmed up ideas but rather as serious, fleshed out intentions.

This submission should have:

  1. Logline: A brief idea about the film, in two or three lines.
  2. Statement of Intent (300-400 words): State clearly your reasons for wanting to make this film.
  3. Status of working idea: In the event that the film idea has been worked upon to some extent, please state if any of the following have already reached some stage:
    • Research and reconnaissance
    • Footage shot
    • Edited footage if any

The above does not imply that the development of these stages puts the candidate at an advantage, but is a means to assess the proposed project.


  1. Camera Specifications: Participants are required to have their own cameras for the entire duration of the course. Applicants are to submit their camera model details. The admission process will be taken forward once this has been ratified. DSLR camera with a full frame, APS-C or Micro Four Thirds sensor, with zoom lens, or a set of zoom or prime lenses.

    Memory-card based video camera with 1/4 inch, 1/3 inch, or 1/2 inch sensor. Students will be entirely responsible for the safety and maintenance of their cameras, as well as the buying/rental of all accessories that they may use, such as cards, batteries, lenses or any other.

  2. Participants should own a personal laptop, which they would require for work that they do in their own time, including completion of assignments.
  3. Participants should have their own 1 TB hard drive with a USB3 port.

SACAC will provide tripods, sound and editing equipment during the entire duration of the course.

Study Tours

Travel, lodging & boarding expenses for study tours, if any, would have to be borne by the student. The facilities provided would be basic, clean and reasonable.

Admission Process

SACAC believes in a holistic method of assessment. The selection process is therefore based not only on a candidate’s academic record, test scores and intelligence, but also his or her level of awareness, commitment and willingness to learn.

Predicted Course Timeline
August 2023 to July 2025 (24 months)

Check website and for application deadlines.

The admission process is as follows:-

  1. Submit duly filled Application Form with all relevant documents and applicable fee. Individual applicants will be informed about Entrance Examination and Interview dates after their applications have been ratified.
  2. Appear for Entrance Exam, which comprises a mix of questions that gauge your socio-cultural and political awareness, along with your aesthetic interests and aptitude.
  3. Appear for Interview.


  1. Statement of Purpose (600 words. Can be written in English or Hindi)
    A film career is often self-made and structured very differently from many other careers. In this context, please write a statement of purpose giving strong reasons for choosing this field, and for wanting to join this particular course at SACAC.
  2. Film Idea (to be based in Delhi/NCR; 400-500 words; Can be written in English or Hindi)
    A student enters the course with an idea around a film that s/he wishes to make, and will be nurtured towards realising this. However, the proposal is likely to undergo several transformations as the participant goes through a rigorous mentoring and learning process. Therefore, the submissions will not be considered firmed up ideas but rather as serious, fleshed out intentions.
    This submission should have:
    • Logline: A brief idea about the film, in two or three lines.
    • Statement of Intent (300-400 words): State clearly your reasons for wanting to make this film.
    • Status of the film idea: In the event that the film idea has been worked upon to some extent, please state if any of the following have already reached some stage:
      • Research and reconnaissance
      • Footage shot
      • Edited footage if any

    The above does not imply that the development of these stages puts the candidate at an advantage, but is a means to assess the proposed project.

  3. Send copies of any creative work that you might have done (can be photographs, scripts, poetry, plays, lyrics, music and/or short film or any other) in print/CD/DVD/URL along with the form. Additionally, please note that the online links/URLS need to be emailed to


  • A processing fee of Rs. 10000/- for Creative Documentary Course is as below:
    • Rs. 4,000 is a non-refundable application registration fee deducted by the institute. Rs. 6,000 is the application processing fee (3 rounds of interview)
    • If you receive an offer of admission and accept it, Rs. 6,000 will be adjusted in the course fees
    • If your application is declined, Rs. 6,000 will revert to your bank account within 7 working days
    • If you choose to decline the admission offer, there will be no refund of application processing fee
  • 1 recent passport size photograph.
  • Self attested photocopy of mark sheets for 10th, 12th and graduation. Admit Card / Examination Ticket, if you are appearing for your final year graduation examination.
  • Filled out Application Form, with details of your camera model.
  • Statement of Purpose.
  • Film Idea.
  • Portfolio/CD/DVD in safe folders/pouches and online links/URLS to your work to be emailed to (as specified in the Course-specific Requirements section above).
  • Updated copy of your resume that should include academic qualifications, work experience (if any), languages known, softwares and extra curricular activities.


  • SACAC reserves the right to change timelines in unforeseen circumstances.
  • An application form once sold/issued in the name of candidate cannot be returned and/ or transferred
  • The application form should be complete in all respects
  • SACAC reserves the right to call applicants for interview
  • Fees, once paid, are non- refundable and non- transferrable
  • Rights to admission are reserved with SACAC
  • All disputes are subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of Delhi Courts


 Duration & Tuition Fees
Creative Documentary Annual INR 2,60,000/-

Applicable GST additional

Payment Structure (annually)
The course fee is to be paid in three instalments.
At the time of admission 1st Installment 40%
After completion of 3 months 2nd Installment 30%
After completion of 6 months 3rd Installment 30%
Terms & Conditions
  • SACAC reserves the right to change timelines in unforeseen circumstances.
  • Students need to pay an additional refundable caution deposit of Rs. 10,000/-
  • In case an amount is deducted from this deposit due to property or equipment damage, the student will be required to reimburse the amount and maintain a Rs. 10,000/- deposit till the time they graduate.
  • Fees, once paid, are non-refundable and non-transferable.
  • A fine of Rs. 50/- per day will be charged for the first 30 days, post which the student may be barred from attending classes.
  • Students failing to clear their dues will not be allowed to participate in final diploma project.
  • Creative Documentary  students need to have a Camera, laptop and HDD of 1 TB (minimum) with a USB 3 port.
  • The courses require the students to go on study tours, film festivals, exhibitions, etc. The students are expected to bear the expenses of necessary travel, transport, lodging and boarding.

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