High quality of films, Industry participation:24Fps

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DreamWorks Animation's Joe Aguilar with the 24FPS Gold winning team Fish Eye

Organized by MAAC (Maya Academy of Advanced Cinematics) and MEL (Maya Entertainment Ltd), the third edition of the 24FPS Animation Awards were held at J W Marriot, Juhu in Mumbai on 21 April 2006.

Positioned as the premier team sport students’ animation competition in the Indian animation space, the highlight of the 24FPS animation Awards was the quality of the short films showcased.

The show began with Indian Animation veterans Bhimsain Khurana and Ram Mohan lighting the ceremonial lamp along with MEL promoters Ketan Mehta, Deepa Sahi, MEL CEO Rajesh Turakhia and MAAC COO Naveen Gupta.

“As this event has grown to such a large scale we have appointed a governing body comprising of eminent personalities in the animation business from India and abroad. MAAC shall own and manage the event under the guidelines set by the governing body” stated MEL CEO Turakhia.

“We have got the support and co operation from all leading studios which has helped us to put in 250 fresh talent in the industry which is a huge number by any standards” added MAAC COO Navin Gupta.

Father of Indian animation Ram Mohan was felicitated with a special award.

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Indian animation stalwart Ram Mohan at 24FPS

“I’ve come with a bad cold in my head but warmth in my heart” said the stalwart adding, “What can be more heart warming than being in the midst of the next generation of animators, young animators who are going to be the future which is going to be great. The present isn’t bad either. What is driving the animation industry currently in India is the outsourcing work that comes from abroad. There are many among us who are moving on to original concepts. There is a third aspect of the animation scene which we must not neglect which is animation training and education. I think MAAC is doing a great job in this sector and hopefully there will be many more MAACs in the future to take care of the HR needs of the animation industry.”

24FPS short films: Audience glued to the screen

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The audience was glued to the screen throughout the entire screenings

When the screenings are on and an entire audience comprising of more than 450 animation professionals and students keeps their attention glued to the screen for more than an hour, you know that there’s something real good showing.

And Real good show it was!

True there were a few winners, but more importantly for the industry was the fact that nearly all of the 36 films showcased displayed a streak of originality, a streak of story telling even while being well executed in terms of modeling, texturing, lighting, animation and so on. The more promising the work of students, the more promising is the future of the industry.

The teams that won big at 24FPS this year were MAAC Delhi South Extension’s Fisheye and Flatworld, MAAC Kolkata’s E-Magic and MAAC Dadar’s Zeus.

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A still from Fisheye's Final Price

Fisheye won three Awards including the 24FPS Gold Award, as well as Awards for best Best story / Concept and best animation for its short film Final Price, which was based on water conservation.

Final Price featured two fish playing and splashing water out of the fish bowl they were in. The harmless seeming play soon reduced the water level in the bowl and fish were left struggling to breathe. A great concept, great execution with some good character design (reminiscent of Nemo) and animation.

Rahul Agarwal from Fisheye told Animation ‘xpress that, “The animation we pulled off was really a challenge for us. When animating fish, it is very difficult to make it look real. To get the flow of their movement even while giving good performance and expressions was a tough challenge for us”

“The narrative began with a close up on the fish and the water where it seemed plenty, the camera slowly zooms out in the course of the film to finally reveal that the fishes were plundering their resource and it wasn’t as abundant as it seemed” added Gaurav Pal.

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A still from Flat World's save_animals@planet.earth

Flat World bagged two Awards including 24FPS Silver Award and Award for Best modeling & texturing for save_animals@planet.earth, its short film on saving endangered species.

Character design and Look development were the most outstanding things about Flat World’s Save_animals@planet.earth which featured some characters made in 3D that looked hand painted with smudged edges.

Flat World’s Charuvi Agarwal said, “It obviously feels great, the hard work has finally paid off. The competition is good, it helps that we are on the same level. Its very encouraging. The challenges were of both kinds creative and technical, the creative being that our characters had to be different. They couldn’t look like those in Madagascar, Ice Age, etc… The technical difficulties were to match Photoshop i.e we had to match the 2D environment with the 3D environment in Maya. I wouldn’t have learnt modeling and texturing if I wasn’t involved. Overall the experience was amazing”

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A still from EMagic's I forgot Something

MAAC Kolkata’s E Magic bagged two including the 24FPS Bronze as well as the Award for best cinematography and lighting for ‘I forgot Something’; MAAC Dadar’s Zeus won the award for best pre production and design for Bhanvar, its short film on the theme of literacy.

I Forgot Something created by Emagic Kolkata, had an extremely interesting storyline that communicated the theme effectively. A pre occupied man leaves home for work forgetting to put on his trousers, halfway through he shows signs of realization and returns home, only to close a tap and goes back to work trousers still forgotten.

Emagic’s Arijit Gupta exclaimed, “I have never been part of a team as united as ours. The bronze was unexpected we just did it and our aim was to do our best. It was our first time, we did a lot of reference work for the characters, studied from revered books like Animator’s survival kit and Illusion of Life, especially for the facial animation. Myself Kaushik and Somnath were the animators on the film”

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UTV Toons' Sanjiv Waeerkar presenting Vaibhav the trophy for Flickerpix' Horn OK Please

Besides the students team category, the best 3D animated short film (individual) was won by Dipan Gajjar for his film Nasty Girl.”I feel like the man of the match. I worked really hard for the film. I was a student of VFS (Vancouver Film School) where I made the film last year.” stated Dipan.

The best animated film (production house) was won by FLickerpix, Ireland for Horn OK Please. A sizeable Indian team has worked on the project including Vaibhav Kumaresh who was the animation director for the film.

Students work cannot be good unless the faculty and management of an institute completely work towards it, MAAC has the additional advantage of being a sister concern of MEL and a lot of professionals from MEL keep guiding the faculty and students.

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Animation 'xpress Anil Wanvari presenting MAAC lifeline Sachin Bhatnagar & Shravni Chopra with their trophies

24FPS had a special felicitation of MEL creative directors Chetan Desai, Orgo Sen Gupta, Priyam Chatterjee and Krishna Swami as well as MAAC’s lifeline, Shravni Chopra, chief General Manager- West and Sachin Bhatnagar, Technical head for North.

“It has always been top priority for us the leading management at MAAC to ensure that the courses run at our institute are administered and managed in the most fair and efficient manner. We are very glad to see the kind of gradual improvement in the quality of work put out by our students and faculty” remarked MAAC Chief General Manager – West Shravni Chopra.

“And as I win this Award, I’d like to share the credit with my team, both technical and marketing for helping me to deliver efficiently. The credit should go equally to them” she added.

Last year’s big winners 3.rage too were Awarded for the motivation and inspiration their work provided to this year’s students.

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24FPS: Well attended by Industry

Another major feather in the cap of 24FPS was the amount of industry attendance the event managed to get.

The power packed jury at 24FPS comprised of eminent national as well as international animation professionals

Industry related highlights at 24FPS included the felicitation of the father of Indian animation Ram Mohan, felicitation of Percept MD Shailendra Singh who made a stage appearance along with a cut out of the Baby Hanuman, the power packed jury’s gathering on stage, as well as the 24FPS Movers and Shakers of Indian Animation Industry Awards which were awarded to Toon Boom CEO Joan Vogelesang, Animation ‘xpress Editor Anand Gurnani and CG Tantra founders Abhishek Chandra & Rebatikant Chand.

The jury member session had all the jury members comprising of representatives from across studios both Indian as well as international walk up together on stage. It was quite a lineup!

The power packed jury comprised of DreamWorks Animation’s Joe Auguliar & Shelly Page, Toon Boom Animation Joan Vogelesang, Anirights’ Ashish Kulkarni, Rhythm & Hues India’s Seshaprasad, Prana Studios Nilesh Sardesai & Shana Koenig, UTV Toons’ Sanjiv Waeerkar, 2NZ Kireet Khurana, MEL’s Jai Natarajan, Crest Animation’s Virendra Chauhan, NID’s Nina Sabnani and Zoo films Nicholas Camecho.

Anirights Ashish Kulkarni spoke on behalf of the jury

Speaking on behalf of the entire jury, Anirights’ Ashish Kulkarni stated, “I think we saw some remarkable work from the students today. It’s a great privilege to see what we have been dreaming of for the past seven years. It’s extremely delightful to know that all of us in the industry have worked closely with each other. At least today the whole industry, the who’s who of the industry are here and we all know each other so well, that’s very rare to see in most of the other industries. The fact that an ecosystem is emerging is heartening and Awards like 24FPS contribute to building the ecosystem. We are just beginning the whole process of making animated feature films in India and I think that together are all going to make Indian animation rock the world!”

“I would also like to suggest that very soon we should have the best of 24fps released on DVDs so that we all can enjoy them. All the films that we watched have an element of originality. For those who didn’t win, don’t lose heart. The faculty members have done a great job too. The industry will come back to all the centers and give genuine contributions in terms of mentoring” he added.

Mover & Shaker: Toon Boom CEO Joan Vogelesang

Jury member Joan Vogelesang (CEO, Toon Boom) said, “We have been working actively in this field trying to get this industry built, Ram Mohan was the first user of our technology, We have done a lot of wonderful things over the years. As Ashish said from where it was dreamed and now India is on the map. And now all the major studios are coming to India”

“Every body speaks about India, all the major studios are coming to India and I am very pleased today to say that together we are going to introduce 2D animation into MAAC” she added.

Animation is driven by great characterization and it is great characters that lend magic to the medium, but equally important is the marketing and distribution part.

Percept MD Shailendra Singh with Baby Hanuman cutout

On being felicitated, Percept MD Shailendra Singh got in a surprise companion on stage, a cut out of Baby Hanuman. “If you go to the other glamorous awards you see all these film stars on stage, and similarly, I came with my lead cast on stage. There’s a cut out here which shows that it is Hanuman who actually made all the difference and gave a source of inspiration. It is a proud moment. Because there are thousands of people who work behind the scenes and not many people in cinema realize what it takes to actually create animation… which is I think the future for India and it is just the beginning” remarked the Percept MD.

The Movers & Shakers of Indian animation Industry Awards were presented to Toon Boom CEO Joan Vogelesang, Animation ‘xpress Editor Anand Gurnani and CG Tantra
Co-Founders Abhishek Chandra and Rebatikant Chand.

Joan Vogelesang said, “The Quality of the films is really great. The event is a significant event. I am delighted to have received the recognition. Its great to see how the Indian animation dream is now becoming reality”

Breathing & Living the Indian animation Industry
Animation ‘xpress Editor Anand Gurnani got the Movers & Shakers of Indian animation Industry Award

Receiving his Award, Animation ‘xpress Editor Anand Gurnani said,” The quality of the films shown at the screening today was wonderful and what was most interesting was the kind of fresh concepts which I am sure will connect immediately with the Indian audience. For the past two and half years I have been living and breathing the Indian animation industry and I consider myself immensely lucky to be a part of this wonderful industry of ours”

“Thank you 24FPS, MAAC and the esteemed jury members for recognizing and appreciating the impact and influence of Animation ‘xpress by conferring this title” he continued, further drawing attention to the work culture created by CEO Anil Wanvari at Animation ‘xpress saying, “Animation ‘xpress is a team sport and the freedom, space and guidance we get at Animation ‘xpress inspires us to seek to create winning brands”

CG Tantra’s Rebatikant Chand commented, “It feels great to receive the Movers and Shakers Award at 24FPs. It was especially very heart warming because it was part of a students and individual contribution awards function and to get recognised and appreciated by the students and the CG community is what matters most for us at cgTantra. And the Award actually belongs to each and every member of the Tantra community, the moderators and the supporters who have been working on it on a regular basis to make tantra as popular as it is now. It also feels nice to see Animation ‘xpress receive the Award”

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A still from 05 Protoganists' Big Joe Strikes

Upon completion of the show, industry professionals shared their favorites with Animation ‘xpress. Besides the winners which obviously were appreciated by the professionals a few of the films that did not bag the Awards but did gain good ground in the polls were Big Joe Strikes created by 05 Protagonists, War created by Imagine and Lucky in 60 Seconds all three of these films were strong on concept as well as communication.

Putting in her good word and recognition for Indian animation student’s work Dreamworks Animation’s Shelly Page told Animation ‘xpress, “It felt wonderful. It was exciting to be a judge on 24 FPS. I see some of these films go up the ladder and find their way into international festivals too. My personal favorites were War and Final Price”

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A still from Imagine's War

Autodesk’s Raman Madan shared,”The MAAC 24 FPS Awards are a great platform for Indian animation professionals as well as budding animators to showcase their skills and talent. Not only does it provide a forum for Indian animation houses to expose their skills to international markets but also gives students the opportunity to realize their ideas and dreams”

TASI head Tony Singh remarked, “I Liked the character styling in save_animanls@planet.earth. There has been a huge improvement in the quality of animation compared to last year. The walk cycles too have improved.”

Adlabs Animation head Siddhartha M Jain was delighted with the films,”The quality of the films in terms of concepts as well as execution far exceeded my expectations. These students who have no past baggage have a lot of fresh ideas”

Animation expert and consultant Jai Natarajan making a call to the entire Indian animation industry remarked, “Its time to rededicate ourselves to the future of Indian animation. We have to rise above all challenges and fulfill the world’s expectations from us. The youngsters have to lead the way”

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MEN BEHIND MAAC MEL CEO Rajesh Turakhia & MAAC COO Navin Gupta

As the evening drew to an end, a jubiliant Navin Gupta (MAAC COO) reminicised,”When we started MAAC, studios used to be wary of even interviewing fresh students but we were confident about the quality that our students could deliver, this led to 24FPS, a platform where students could showcase their work and all the studios could see the kind of work that had been produced. Also we wanted the industry to understand and recognize the importance of coming together and helping training institutes achieve high quality standards by giving inputs and raising the standard of training. We have got that kind of support and co operation from all leading studios in the industry.”

“Another good thing about 24FPS is that with the involvement and participation of international studios, it will boost their confidence to outsource work to India, thereby helping Indian animation industry overall to become as one of the most favored animation creation destinations globally” added Gupta.

“The standard of work is insitilling a confidence in studios to fearlessly grow with the comfort of knowing that high quality talent is available in India and from MAAC. I’m very happy that the event was supported in such a large way by the industry. We hope to make this into an international event soon” concluded MEL CEO Turakhia.

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