A High-Honours graduate from the legendary Sheridan College, Canada; Kireet is the son of Bhimsain Khurana – One of the pioneers of Indian animation. He is the conceptualiser, director and co-writer for India’s first live action & 3D animation combo feature film Toonpur ka Superhero starring Ajay Devgan and Kajol. Kireet has won numerous prestigious awards including 6 Presidential National Awards and 7 International awards. Kireet directed award-winning shorts on ‘Child Rights’ for National Film Board of Canada co-produced with UNICEF for prestigious ‘Rights From The Heart’ series. He is the curator of Animation packages for the renowned ANNECY Fest, France, Forum De L’Images. Besides being a spectacular artist, animator, writer and director, Kireet’s unparalleled sense of social commitment resounds profoundly in most of his works. AnimationXpress.com got Kireet talking about the upcoming Animation Masters Summit organized by Toonz Animation and here is what he had to say… What is the session that you will be taking at the Master’s Summit and what will you be talking about? I will be covering a brief history and origin and definition of storytelling and the key fundamental difference between writing for live-action vs. animation storytelling. What are the things that you expect to see at a gathering of such proportions? I have witnessed the annual event of Toonz since its inception from a distance and never had the opportunity to visit it. I am pretty excited to visit Toonz for the first time and be part of the event that has stood the test of time for more than 15 years. How does it feel to be a ‘Master’? What tips or advice would you give young film makers who will be coming down for the event? You teach best what you need to learn most. Being called a master is intimidating and it’s a mantle I wouldn’t want to wear. I endeavour to make my session conversational and more interactive; maybe some more truths will emerge out of it. For the young film makers who are coming down for the event, I think it’s a great opportunity for them to interact with the great line up of speakers in person and get enriched without leaving the shores of the country. What are your views on the current scene in the animation industry in India? How can it be bettered? Compared to the west, I think our outsourcing model is working reasonably well as we are doing more and more of Hollywood/outsourcing work. As far as indigenous animation is concerned, there are many issues ranging from governmental indifference, lack of film industry support in funding and distribution, TV channels creating win-lose propositions and a lion’s share of the programming being imported content. This is impeding the growth of Indian animation and our own movement. Apart from that, we also lack some serious storytelling capabilities as we don’t have writers for animation specifically. What are the skills sets that young artists/film makers/animators must possess to make a mark in this competitive environment? What I find lacking in most young talent is ambition. Most lack an empowering context for themselves or for the medium. They may start off as modellers, riggers or texture artists but they must possess a strong desire to understand and align their work in a holistic way. Everyone including the director is subservient to the ‘Story’ and they must strive for complete understanding which will help them achieve excellence eventually.