Known for creating fiction entertainment content that provokes social change, Mumbai-based Civic Studios has teamed up with Red Cigarette Media and Dissidenz Films in the role of an executive producer for Indian filmmaker Ishan Shukla’s debut feature length animation titled Schirkoa.
Replete with political and philosophical themes, Schirkoa is an Indo-French co-production between Red Cigarette Media, Ishan Shukla’s Vadodara-based animation studio, and Paris-based production company Dissidenz Films, in partnership with German production and distribution company Rapid Eye Movies. This animated feature film is based on Shukla’s award-winning short film –the first Indian animated short ever longlisted for the Oscars in 2017.
Schirkoa tells the story of a sophisticated, near-perfect society where citizens live with paper bags on their heads to dissolve differences. Tensions rise when the whispers of a mythical land without paper bags start to float, and a fresh council member sparks an accidental revolution.
The animated feature’s soundtrack is composed by Sneha Khanwalkar of the Gangs of Wasseypur fame and features international voiceover talents including Golshifteh Farahani, Asia Argento, SoKo, Arish Ahmad Khan, Denzil Smith, Shahbaz Sarwar and Tibu Fortes, among others, as well as guest stars Lav Diaz, Shekhar Kapur, Anurag Kashyap, Piyush Mishra and Gaspar Noe. Developed with the support of French and German funds, the film uses an innovative pipeline to take the animation a notch higher and is, to that effect, the recipient of an Epic MegaGrant from Epic Games using Unreal Engine.
Delving more into the reason for partnering with Ishan Shukla, Civic Studios founder Anushka Shah commented, “Schirkoa is a fascinating take on finding balance between dystopia and utopia around us. Animation is an exciting format to provoke this thought process in the audience’s minds. Ishan has explored the absurdity of pursuing extremes in civil society. At Civic Studios, we offer financial, research, and creative support for stories that create impact. We believe that Schirkoa will spark engaging conversations on the relationship between governments and citizens, and free will and authority.”
Describing the thought process behind the film, writer and director Ishan Shukla quips, “I have been working on this story, world and characters for years now. I have also evolved a little bit with them as the world around me transformed. I hope to create a film that gives each of us a contemplative aftertaste. I am making a very specific film with a range of themes that may not necessarily fit a ‘typical animated feature’ frame and have been very lucky to work with creative and like-minded partners –and not mere financial partners– such as Dissidenz Films and Rapid Eye Movies. With Civic Studios, the journey becomes even more adventurous as we both are exploring similar arguments through this story – How far can extreme ideologies take us?”
With the 2016 short film having won more than 30 international awards, including SIGGRAPH ASIA’s best in show award for its unique style (a blend of 2D and 3D) and cinematic visuals, the feature length Schirkoa is slated to enthrall audiences in 2023 and world premiere at a prestigious international film festival.