The Indian animation industry, though at a nascent stage, is raring to go. An effort in the direction of giving the industry its due saw Anifest 2005, a festival which celebrated animation, which was organised by TASI and ASIFA India. This is probably for the first time that two neutral bodies, representing animation in India, got together to host an event.
Anifest, sponsored by Rhythm & Hues India, Maya Entertainment Ltd (MEL), Maac, Studio Systems and Animation Magazine, was held on 16 April in Mumbai. The event was done in association with Indiantelevision.com’s Animation ‘xpress.
The evening started with a welcome note by ASIFA India president Bill Dennis and was followed by a panel discussion which had animators (rather than management) on the panel. The panel comprised Rhythm and Hues, LA lighting and art director Debbie Pashkoff, Future Thought art director Neelesh Gore, ISKCON Bangalore concept designer and art director for “India heritage theme park project” Prashant Kadkol, Maya creative director Priyam Chatterjee, Geetanjali Rao, Jai Natarajan and Sameer Kulavoor.
The panel discussion was followed by the screening of short animation films from various professionals. More than 35 original works of animation (short films) were submitted for the screening.
A JAM (Just a Minute) session and live performance by a rock and roll band lead by animators. Besides this, various corners dedicated to doodling, caricature and scrap books and also a display section to showcase animation art sent in by enthusiasts were displayed at the venue.
The panelist tackled the various issues that the Indian animation industry and its professionals were facing. Issues ranging from human relationship (HR) practices, job security, training schools etc were dwelt upon.
TASI president Ram Mohan said, “Anifest is a significant step forward for Indian animation professionals who wish to make their presence felt and their voices heard. The enthusiastic support and sponsorship received by TASI and ASIFA so far gives us reason to believe that this is the first of many more such events in the coming years.”
Dennis, on the other hand, said it was really the artists and animators who came up with the idea of the festive format. “At last year’s International Animation Day even in Mumbai, several artists came to me and said that they would like a forum or an event where they could express their own views and discuss their ideas instead of always listening to the views and concerns of the management and production executives. So that’s what we’ve tried to do with Anifest, which is an event by and for the artists,” he said.
Indiantelevision.com founder, CEO and editor-in-chief Anil Wanvari said, “The business of animation is growing by leaps and bounds globally. While my company and I are partners with MIPTV, MIPCOM (in Cannes, France) and ATF in Singapore and other seminars that deal with the business of television production and animation; Anifest provides Animation ‘xpress with the opportunity to associate with a purist event that celebrates the wonderful art of animation. We are proud to be associated with Anifest 2005.”
While the kids channel space in the country is burgeoning, with new entrants like the Disney channels apart from the existing Cartoon Network, Pogo, Animax and Hungama TV, the animation industry is sure to receive a boost in the coming years. Anifest ’05, has no doubt come at the most opportune time.