The institute aims to benchmark quality, inspire innovation, encourage creativity, and mold minds, by leading from the front.
Whistling Woods International (WWI) is Asia’s premier Film, Communication & Creative Arts institute located in Mumbai, India. Despite being home to the world’s largest film industry, India was in need of better-equipped film institutes until a few years ago. Realising this need, veteran filmmaker Subhash Ghai launched Whistling Woods International, located on 5.5 acres within Mumbai’s Filmcity complex.
WWI’s advisory board includes acclaimed Director Shyam Benegal, Executive Chairman of Mahindra Group, Anand Mahindra, Head of International Outreach for Dreamworks Animation-Shelley Page, Director-Shekhar Kapur, Music Director & Composer-A.R. Rahman, Academy-Award winning Producer-Lord David Puttnam, Veteran Actor-Shabana Azmi, Chairman & MD, WalkWater – Manmohan Shetty, Screenwriter & Lyricist-Javed Akhtar, Veteran Actor-Hema Malini, and Filmmaker – Karan Johar, among others.
Exceptional Infrastructural Facilities
The institute’s infrastructure has been designed and developed considering every aspect of creative nurturing. Their technical facilities are at par with international standards, coaching students at every step. Students graduate from WWI as skilled technicians and artists, being productive right off the mark.
The institution also provides facilities like YouTube Space, WWI Jio Virtual Reality Lab, Foxconn Lab & Sony Media Technology Centre, amongst many more, which are accessible to the students. WWI has more than twenty-five technology partners, which keep the students trained and up-to-date with the industry standards.
Stellar Educational Services
Whistling Woods International has seven schools under its umbrella. These schools offer degree and diploma courses in film & TV, acting, music, animation, fashion, visual communication design and media & communication. The institute offers degree and diploma courses accredited by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS). Keeping in mind that India is going to be one of the largest consumers of VR technology (come 2019-2020), WWI also has a state-of-the-art academic VR lab set up in association with Reliance Jio.
Prominent Faculties and Accomplished Alumnus
WWI’s faculty body consists of major leaders of the industry and instructors from renowned film schools. The institute is also graced by some highly renowned guest faculty including:
- Chief Mentor (Acting & Music) – Subhash Ghai
- Dean – Ravi Gupta
- Head of Academics – Rahul Puri
- Chief Mentor (Fashion) – Neeta Lulla
- Outreach and Affiliations (Director) –Somnath Sen
- Cinematography HOD –Ashwini Kaul
- Editing HOD –Prashant Naik
- Direction HOD –Binitesh Baruri
- Producing HOD –Rabiya Nazki
- Production Design HOD –Sabyasachi Bose
- Culture Studies HOD –Salim Arif
- Screenwriting HOD –Anjum Rajabali
- Sound Recording & Design HOD –Sudipta Basu
- Media & Communication HOD –Laili Dutta
- Animation, VFX, Gaming & Comics HOD –Yusuf Mehta
- Fashion HOD –Nisha Chanda
- Actors’ Studio HOD –Arvind Pandey
- Music HOD –Sangeeta Shankar
- Visual Communication Design HOD –Milindo Taid
When it comes to the students, the institute has presented talented individuals to the industry. Starting from the very first batch, the students of WWI have always made a mark in the industry. Not only in cinema, but also their alumni are successfully working with visual, print, and online media. They are engaged with the biggest names in animation, graphics, and VFX. The institute is collaborating with leading fashion houses, designers, and brands.
Director Shashank Khaitan, who has delivered back to back hits like ‘Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania’, ‘Badrinath Ki Dulhania’, and ‘Dhadak’ is an alumnus of WWI. Actors such as Aahana Kumra (Actor – ‘Lipstick Under My Burkha’ fame), Rajshri Deshpande (Angry Indian Goddesses, Sacred Games), Sohel Sanwari (Leading Sound Designer), Aarambhh Singh (Director), and many more are continuously mesmerising the audience with their talent and the industry with their professionalism and stellar attitude.
About the Leader
The person leading WWI from the front is Meghna Ghai Puri, the President of the institute. An educationist and change catalyst, she has been the driving force behind WWI and has helped shape it into the fine institute that it is today. She also holds respectable positions in many other organizations including:
- Director – Whistling Woods International Limited
- Director – Adlabs Entertainment Limited
- Director – Laqshya Media Limited
- Advisory Board Member – KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival
Meghna has been instrumental in setting up WWI. She has been associated with key businesses in the Indian entertainment industry through prominent projects such as Cinema 100 (organized by the NFDC, India). She has also been at the forefront of Business Development & International Alliances as Director, Business Development – Mukta Arts Ltd. Moreover, she has been involved in international sales and film festivals in the US and Europe. Meghna has also been associated with many prominent projects including ‘Taal’, ‘Pardes’, and ‘Yaadein’. In a span of twelve years, Meghna has spearheaded the launch of seven schools under the umbrella of Whistling Woods International.
Throughout its glorious journey, WWI has made many landmark achievements. In 2015, Foxconn – the world’s largest electronics manufacturer, partnered with WWI to set up the Foxconn Media Lab to promote content creation for digital platforms.
The Sony Media Technology Center, set up jointly by Sony & WWI, is located at the WWI campus in Mumbai. Sony recognized WWI as a leader in the media and entertainment sector globally and chose to partner with the institute to focus on new and emerging technology in the field of digital cinematography and 3D stereoscopic filmmaking. They have also entered into a partnership with Google under which the Institute hosts Asia’s second and India’s first ‘YouTube Space’. Further, WWI runs Asia’s only ‘YouTube Educator Lab’ for teaching courses in content creation for digital platforms.
WWI has even partnered with Reliance Jio to set up the WWI Jio Virtual Reality Lab designed to focus on Cinematic VR – education, academic research, industry training and content creation in 360-degree virtual reality.
By partnering with the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, one of India’s most reputed universities; WWI is able to ratify all its three and four year courses with B.Sc, BA, BBA, and PGD degrees. The Hollywood Reporter rated Whistling Woods International as one of the Ten Best Film Schools in the world in their July 2014, August 2013, and July 2010 issues, respectively. WWI has also been rated among the ‘Top Institutes of Influence’ globally, in 2015 by Forbes India. Almost every establishment scouting for talent in the Media & Entertainment industry in India turns to WWI for answers.
Promoting Education and Empowerment
Whistling Woods International’s School of Vocational Education offers short term courses in media education, filmmaking, and related subjects. These courses can be pursued in part-time formats by film aspirants and professionals. They are run in collaboration with the Tata Institute of Social Sciences. The classes are held either thrice a week or on weekends, depending on the structure and duration of the courses offered. It offers TISS SVE award certifications for all courses to all students at the time of their successful course completion.
Career Opportunities and Exposures
The career resource center at WWI has a very strong industry connect and reaches out to fetch opportunities for the students. The students, during their academic sessions at WWI, also have an opportunity to work on various live projects, events, and other avenues in different capacities. They work on festivals and events like MAMI, Comic Con, Jagran, FICCI Frames, Big Boys Toys, and many others. Students of filmmaking work on their projects and also make a short 10-15 minutes diploma film in their final year, which is promoted at various national and international film festivals.
The School of Media and Communication at WWI offers an eight-week summer internship programme to students as a part of their BBA and PGD curriculum. The internships are in areas of PR, advertising and brand management, events, journalism, audio visual production, marketing, social media, brand services, and so on. Students get hands-on industry knowledge in relevant areas before their final placements. The institute also helps organise and execute the student marketing events at the institute.
The institute provides the students an opportunity to work in all areas of the media and film business and collaborate with students/alumni from all the schools on various projects.
They are a one-stop shop for recruiters to source talent. Graduates from WWI are the most sought after simply because of the intensive training they have gone through while studying at the esteemed institute.