Animation Masters Summit 2021 to honour filmmaker Ketan Mehta and Prof. Nina Sabnani

Animation Masters Summit (AMS) organisers have announced to be honouring renowned filmmaker, media entrepreneur and a pioneer for the Indian animation industry Ketan Mehta and pathbreaking artist, film-maker and art academic Prof. Nina Sabnani at the 2021 edition of the event. 

Organised by Toonz Media Group, the virtual Summit will be held from 4 to 8 May, 2021, via Zoom.

Sabnani, who teaches at the IDC School of Design, at IIT Bombay, is one of the first women artists to foray into the field of animation in India. A brilliant visual story-teller and recipient of several national and international awards, she received the National Award for Best Animation Film for her film Hum Chitra Banate Hai

Nina Sabnani

A Fulbright Fellow, Sabnani has also done extensive research in the areas of Folklore, Visual Ethnography, Participatory Film-making and learning pedagogies of traditional artists, among others. Author of several books on traditional art and design, she has been acclaimed for her documentaries and short-films including The Stitches Speak (Tanko Bole Chhe), Baat Wahi Hai (It’s the Same Story) and Mukand and Riaz. In 2018 she received the lifetime achievement award (BLBA) for Illustration from Tata Trusts at the Tata Lit Live Festival at Mumbai. Her works have been showcased in exhibitions across the country, including the permanent exhibition ‘Discovery of India’ at the Nehru Centre, Mumbai. For her invaluable contributions to animation and other visual art forms, spanning over a career of more than two decades, she will be awarded the Legend of Indian Animation Award at AMS 2021. 

Overwhelmed at this, Sabnani told AnimationXpress, “I am honoured and happy to receive this award and thank AMS and the Jury for this prestigious recognition. Teaching is a reward in itself and I am proud of my students who are out there taking the industry forward and defining it in new ways. I am blessed to be a part of the larger community of  Indian animation and consider this award as a  recognition of all the collective efforts of educational institutions and the industry in India.”

Alongside her, internationally acclaimed filmmaker Ketan Mehta, best known for award-winning films like Bhavni Bhavai (Gujarati), Mirch Masala, Maya Memsab, Mangal Pandey, Holi and Sardar (all Hindi) will also be bestowed with an honour. Mehta is also the founder of Maya Academy of Advanced Cinematics, a leading visual arts academy in India, and Cosmos-Maya Studios, one of the top and biggest animation studios in the country best known for popular animation IPs such as Motu Patlu, Kisna, Vir- the robot boy, Eena Meena Deeka, and many more. Mehta is a recipient of the French Government’s ‘The officer of the realm of Arts and Literature’ award. He will be awarded the Special Contribution to Indian Animation Industry Award for his overall contributions to the industry. Both the awards will be presented at the inaugural session of the Summit on 4 May. 

Ketan Mehta

Commenting on the announcements, Toonz Media Group CEO P Jayakumar stated, “Every year at Animation Masters Summit we give away the Legend Award to a legendary animation master in recognition of their life-long contribution to Indian Animation. Prof Sabnani is one of the most revered figures in Indian animation today. She is like a guru to all of us in the fraternity. As a pioneering woman animator, she is also an inspiration for hundreds of young women who aspire to join this industry. Mr. Mehta, who is being awarded the Special Contribution Award, has helped put the Indian animation community on the global map by founding one of the most successful animation studios in India. He also played a significant role in fostering new talent by establishing the Maya Academy.”

P Jayakumar

The five-day Animation Masters Summit will include sessions by a galaxy of stalwarts from diverse fields of media and entertainment across the world. Legendary Indian filmmaker Subhash Ghai will deliver the keynote address at the inaugural session of the summit. Master sessions in the following days will be led by renowned artists and creators including legendary ad guru Rahul daCunha, best known for spearheading the Amul ad campaign, one of the longest running ad campaigns in the country. Academy Award-winning screenwriter Meg LeFauve (Inside Out, Captain Marvel, My Father’s Dragon); licensing and merchandising master and founder of brand management company ‘Dream Theatre’ Jiggy George, award-winning Hollywood music composer Vidjay Beerpoot (Anibo, The Little Vampire 3D, Triple Trouble) and noted animation director and producer Saraswathi Balgam who led the team of VFX and animation artists for projects like Life of Pi and The Chronicles of Narnia are the other masters leading sessions this time.

The theme for this edition of the Summit is Embracing Diversity: Finding beauty in our differences. The Summit will also have two panel discussions – one on the scope of animation in Education Technology (EdTech) and the another curated by Animation World Network (AWN) focussing on diversity in the kids entertainment industry.

Delegates can register for the event for free by logging on to