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Newhouse students to travel to Mumbai as part of month-long film class

May 07, 2009

Wendy S. Loughlin
(315) 443-2785

Wendy S. Loughlin

“Slumdog Millionaire” garnered eight Oscars and $365 million in box office receipts, and it upped American interest in Bollywood. “But it is not actually a Bollywood film,” says Tula Goenka, associate professor of television-radio-film in Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.

Goenka will take 10 Newhouse students to India this month to learn about Bollywood—Hindi language films made in Mumbai—as part of the SU Abroad course “WWI Bollywood Snapshots: SU Internships in Mumbai” (TRF 470/670). The month-long internship introduces students to the history, aesthetics, language, business and process of filmmaking in India, and it is the only course of its kind. This is the second year SU has offered the program.

Students will be based at Whistling Woods International Institute for Film, Television, & Media Arts and various other locations in Mumbai from mid-May to mid-June. They will blog about their experience at

Goenka says the course is especially important now. “Hollywood continues to be interested in Bollywood and has started to invest in it, and vice versa,” she says. She envisions students in the course making valuable contacts in India and later serving as liaisons between Hollywood and Bollywood.

Students taking part in the course include Elizabeth Gibson, a sophomore from Bethesda, Md.; Madeline Good, a senior from Flourtown, Pa.; Lucien Jung, a graduate student from Greendale, Wis.; Jillian King, a sophomore from Chevy Chase, Md.; Andrea LaMothe, a junior from Malta, N.Y.; Katelynd LaVallee, a senior from Holland, Mass.; Allison Nast, a junior from Manlius, N.Y.; Aamir Noorani, a sophomore from Carrollton, Texas; Hannah Tice, a junior from Webster, N.Y.; and Nya Wilson, a junior from Newfoundland, Pa. All are television-radio-film majors.

Goenka, who was born and raised in India, has 20 years of experience in the film and television industry. She has worked on such films as “Do the Right Thing,” “Malcolm X,” “Surviving Picasso,” “Salaam Bombay!” and “Mississippi Masala,” as well as award-winning documentaries such as “Unzipped,” the story of fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi, and “Keep The River On Your Right: A Modern Cannibal Tale,” about explorer and writer Tobias Schneebaum. She also produced and edited the award-winning PBS documentary “Dancing On Mother Earth,” which chronicles a year in the life of Oneida Indian singer/songwriter Joanne Shenandoah.

She serves as director of SU’s annual Human Rights Film Festival and is currently writing a book called “Bollywood & Beyond: Conversations with Indian Filmmakers.”

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