Vikram ChannaDiscovery Networks Asia-Pacific Vice President of Production and Development, Vikram Channa serves as Associate Dean of the Anaheim University Akira Kurosawa School of Film. Vikram, who in addition to having a Masters in Film and Television Production and a Masters in History, earned his MBA from the University of Chicago and brings strategic thinking to the film set and innovation to the classroom. At Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific, he is responsible for the production of all original Discovery content out of Asia-Pacific. Based in Singapore, he works closely with Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific’s (DNAP) senior management and country heads to provide editorial direction. Vikram and his team produce approximately 100 hours of programming every year across DNAP’s portfolio of eight channel brands. Vikram first joined Discovery in 1995. He has taken on various roles within the company from on-air promotions to programming and production. Together with his team, he executive produced over 500 documentaries, several of which garnered accolades at events such as the Asia Television Awards, New York Festival, Omni Intermedia, and the Academy Awards. Vikram began his working career in India as an independent producer of short films.

Recently we contacted him regarding the upcoming launch of the MFA program this September and asked him his thoughts about the program and the current direction of the filmmaking industry.  

The MFA program is scheduled to commence this coming fall. Do you have any advice for our incoming students who are just commencing their MFA?

It's an exciting time! The media, like many other industries, is changing around us. As you step into this program it's critical to ask the right questions with regard to ongoing changes and ask what they mean for you from a professional perspective.

Can you tell us about one of your favorite projects you have worked on?

I am currently working on creating the definitive series on Traditional Chinese Medicine. It's a real window into a deep understanding of Chinese culture.

What makes a great documentary?Vikram Channa on talk

Balance between providing great insight and perspective in a way that is both visually and emotionally compelling.

Can you tell us some of your thoughts regarding Akira Kurosawa?

Akira Kurosawa was the ultimate globalist before 'globalisation' became the norm.  He defied convention and made a mark as a universalist visual storyteller. Which is why a number of his movies have inspired Hollywood remake versions even during his career.  

How is the art of film expanding in a global context?

It's an interesting time. If you observe what is happening, cinematic values and storytelling have taken over Television. It's like a golden era driven by UHD Smart TV sets where viewers watch this amazing high quality content whenever they want to, unlike in the past when this technology was unavailable. Yet at the same time it's Hollywood film that is moving into the mold of classic TV series/multi episode mode with X-men, Spider-Man, Guardians of the Galaxy, Star Trek, Star War Reboots.  At the same time, both globalization and the Internet together have created unique possibilities for niches from other cultures to find audiences and coexist with the mainstream media more than ever before.

What do you hope Anaheim University’s MFA graduates will gain from the program?

I think I would go back to the thought expressed in Question 1: It's an exciting time. Success now depends so much on the clarity with which one can see opportunity in these times of tremendous change. You can define the pathway to success, but you also need to be plugged into the changes in the industry.