Director Kopal Naithani on Why Film is Her First Choice

Published on website: August 09, 2013
Categories: 35mm , The StoryBoard Blog
Kopal Naithani

Kopal Naithani, a director at Rising Sun Films in Mumbai, found her passion in directing television commercials. She began her career with television news channels, such as Jain TV and Network 18, and then attended the first Cinemaya Film Festival with director Nagesh Kukunoor, where his film RockFerd was being screened. She discovered her true calling in the arts. To this day, she loves watching movies endlessly; on a day off, Kopal begins watching movies at dawn and ends at dusk!

Recently, Kopal directed a film for CRY. The project was about children’s education, an intense subject. It required careful treatment. The story followed a group of construction workers' children, who were playing hide and seek, and one child errs in counting. The piece was shot on Kodak Super 16mm film. The film went on to win a Silver Award for Best in Public Service by the Indian Documentaries Producers Association.

Kodak sat down with Kopal to chat about her love of filmmaking.

"Film is my favorite medium of capture for television commercials," she said. “Even though the industry is being flooded with the world’s best alternative capture medium that accommodates convenience and budgets, I still prefer film over anything else. When I get questioned about using film for TV commercials and not adapting to newer technologies, I tell them the future is what you make of it. The visual quality of the films I create need to support and elevate the story I’m trying to tell.

“The cinematographers I work with are happy to shoot on film. They are so happy when they see an ARRI 435. Moreover, there is a sense of discipline on set. The actors are conscious of their performance. I can even be liberal in the colors chosen for props. The sound of the camera rolling is enough to create the required emotions by actors.”

Kopal cites television commercials for Sunfeast and Classmate ITC as two spots where her complete vision translated to the screen. Both campaigns were shot on KODAK VISION3 Color Negative Film 5219. She also recalls a promotional film for the TV series Byaah Hamari Bahoo Ka, which she shot on the same KODAK VISION3 35mm stock. She notes that although she had to make a case for using film on that promo project, the final results were brilliant, and appreciated by all.

Kopal also got the opportunity to direct a music video for the 2012 Common Wealth Games that were held in Delhi, India. The video was screened to 72 sports ministers of participating countries and during the closing ceremony. She shot with more than 50 kids in a day—all non-actors. This time, she chose to paint with Kodak 16 mm film.

“In a TV commercial, the most important element is a good story, but all other segments equally complement one another,” Kopal opines. “You can get a bad story and you can make it look good, but it will not be a great commercial. Sometimes, the story is good, but the TV commercials look bad as the images tend to be too sharp. Our responsibility as filmmakers is to create good images.”

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