Animation Masters Summit (AMS) 2021 commenced today, 4 May on a promising and positive note for its second online edition. Organised by Toonz Media Group, one of the biggest animation studios of the country, the virtual event kicked off with the address of the company’s CEO P Jayakumar welcoming the sponsors, panelists, delegates, media partners and attendees to the summit.
“AMS reflects Toonz’s commitment to the animation industry and the field of creative arts. With the theme of Embracing Diversity: Finding beauty in our differences, we intend to ‘Convert and Promote diverse artforms’, striking a diverse discourse. These are challenging times for all of us and organising this event was a responsibility even greater as this has now become a global event – anyone from anywhere in the world can join us. I welcome the masters for this year’s summit as well as the legends of the industry whom we are going to honour for their unparalleled contributions – Ketan Mehta and Nina Sabnani,” he said.
He also called upon renowned filmmaker Subhas Ghai to deliver the keynote speech thereafter. Ghai lauded the initiative and the efforts of the Toonz family in putting the event together. Stated he, “The best part of the event is the masters imparting knowledge, positivity, life lessons and creative aspects with the younger generation. The theme this year is fantastic in itself given by a dear friend and FICCI AVGC chairman and Punnaryug Artvision founder Ashish Kulkarni. As storytellers we definitely need to tell stories irrespective of region, religion, race, caste and other factors. I’m sure all the creative artists through their art at AMS will create a world of positive energy, hope, rejuvenation and rebirth. When I started Whistling Woods International and included Animation and VFX into the curriculum, it wasn’t much mainstream. Now, I’m fascinated by the kind of work our students and industry peers are doing.”
To announce the Legend of Indian Animation Award (conferred upon Nina Sabnani) and Special Contribution to Indian Animation Industry Award (bestowed upon Ketan Mehta), Kulkarni reminisced about his meetings and relations to both of them dating back to younger days. “I met Nina (Sabnani) in 1998-99 and was fascinated by her way of teaching and humble nature. She introduced several animation styles/techniques and has been awarded with a National Award as well as a Lifetime Achievement Award. She even groomed the founding members of the Indian animation industry.”
Sabnani thanked her well-wishers and extended gratitude to the educational institutions like NID and IDC (IIT Bombay) for their foresight which gave animation the attention it deserved.
For Mehta, Kulkarni recollected how he met the director when he was directing his debut film while he was in 11th standard. “Ketan ji’s contribution to training young professionals through Maya Academy of Advanced Cinematics and now Cosmos Maya Animation Academy have been a game-changer, besides the very successful IPs – Motu Patlu, Selfie with Bajrangi and many more.”
The Toonz Media Group also played a video montage for the honour of these two legends. Mehta exclaimed, “Heartfelt thanks to AMS for this honour and sincere compliments to Toonz Media for continuing the legacy of this event for over two decades now. Animation is going to animate our entire lives very soon as it has already become massive. Animating means giving life and we are life givers. So let’s continue to infuse life into this tradition and the industry for the better.”
Kulkarni too appreciated the Toonz team helmed by Jayakumar for taking ahead the legacy consistently for so long. “The learning never stops at AMS and the benchmark has been highly set over the years with legends gracing the occasion,” he commented.
AMS 2021 is being held from 4 to 8 May via Zoom.