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Film Connection apprentice Nelson Kelkar learns documentary filmmaking on location—IN THE PHILIPPINES!

When you’re learning filmmaking on-the-job, you never know where it will take you. Nelson Kelkar recently learned this firsthand when he had the opportunity to go to the Philippines to shoot a documentary film with his mentors!

Based in Los Angeles, husband-wife directing duo Bayou Bennett and Daniel Lir (who call themselves the “Dream Team”) bring their apprentices aboard a wide range of projects, from local productions and music videos to location documentary shoots. Nelson signed on with the Film Connection just as the “Dream Team” were preparing to shoot overseas. Since that’s where the action was happening—Nelson went along!

The film was a documentary covering the work of a medical missions non-profit group called Hope For the World, which meant the film crew had to get into scrubs and surgical gear to shoot footage. Nelson, a native of India who has also done mission work, was no stranger to international travel or to the hardships of the mission field, but he was still quite moved by the experience. “When you see people’s faces… you know, the sacrifices the doctors are making and the people…[seeing that] everything is fine for them and their family—on their faces, when you see their smiles, all tiredness is gone,” he says.

Even while experiencing all this, Nelson was learning filmmaking. A lot. While the filming was going on, his mentors had him shoot footage, go and analyze it, look for ways to improve, and shoot some more. While Bayou taught him interview techniques, Daniel was teaching him the technical aspects of color, white balance and framing. “We taught him everything,” says Bayou. “I think he learned a lot.”

Now that the shoot is over, Nelson’s education continues, as the Dream Team are involving him heavily in the editing and post-production processes for the film. But Nelson suggests a lasting connection has been made from his experience with his mentors, and there are even plans in the works to shoot another documentary with them in India after he graduates!

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