Day four of CII SummitFX 2021 shared the current and the future prospects of the AVGC industry


Day four covered insightful discussions on 10X growth in the AVGC industry, animation feature production, Indian IP going global, and a valedictory session by the who’s who.

The morning session was Indian stories, Global Appeal: Creating local animation Ips moderated by Punnaryug Artvision and Screenyug Creations CEO Ashish Kulkarni  and the panelist included Green Gold Animation founder and MD Rajiv Chilaka, Cosmos Maya CEO Anish Mehta, Vaibhav Studios founder and director Vaibhav Kumaresh and Big Animation (I) Pvt Ltd – Reliance Animation COO Tejonidhi Bhandare.

Kulkarni started off the session by highlighting how the AVGC sector and IP creation is tremendously growing and bringing new opportunities to the Indian animation industry from around the globe.

The panelist shared their experience how they grew from a small studio to a vast giant in the field of animation. Chilaka said, “IPs are the biggest success story in India. Starting with Tenaliraman from Toonz, we have come a long way forward. For the past 12 years, we are still working on Chotta Bheem with several spinoffs series. It is a successful global IP. From Chotta Bheem to Mighty Raju to Arjun ,then Super Bheem to Might Little Bheem, we have been working with these characters for a long time. I don’t know if my name was Bheem in my previous life or what, I think it is not getting out of my life and I am not complaining. In fact I am feeling proud. Our Mighty Little Bheem from India tops the best three pre-school shows on Netflix and it is also competing with DreamWorks Animation’s Boss Baby.”

Sharing the success story of Cosmos Maya in IP creation Mehta added, “CosmosMaya was incorporated in 1996, we were a hardcore 3D CGI outsourcing unit. I started my career as an account executive in 2003; when the organisation and industry grew and I got an opportunity to become CEO my first submission to the board was to create our own IP. Though Maya is a 25-year-old company in IP creation we were the last entrant. We thought of bringing laurel and hardy style to India to create Motu Patlu, a 50-year-old comic with our Mayapuri group. India welcomed the slapstick genre and Motu Patlu created it for the past ten years.”

Sharing the tips on how to create global IP Bhandare explained the four phases every animation studio experience while coming up with global IPs he listed:Phase-I: Service (Western world approached India to get their service done), Phase II: Started developing Mythological IPs(well-established character),Phase III: Shifting from Mythological IPs to homegrown IPs, domestic stories (currently Indian studios are in this phase),Phase IV: Approach to tell stories to International audiences.

On asking how to create unique original stories Kumaresh added, “For me my target audience, I am myself, I want to make something that thrills and excites me . The content which excites me I begin my work with that. One of the popular creations of ours is Simpu on channel V. It was a story based on my maths teacher. I have to tell stories that are very close to me and I guess when all of us do that it becomes very unique and original. Because of the uniqueness, the audience gets to experience a different flavor.”

The panelists also shared their viewpoints on how to make global IPs and how diversification of story is important while creating content for the global market.

The following session of CII SummitFX How to ace the co-production game? shed light on the emerging co-production deals and how the industry is growing and developing through this co-pro.

Moderated by CII Sub Committee on AVGC and Immersive Media chair and India Technicolor country head Biren Ghose panelists includes Toonz Media Group CEO P Jayakumar, Toonz Media Group chief sales and marketing officer Bruno Zarka , Zebu Animation Studios CEO Adi Shayan and Graphiti Multimedia co-founder, director and COO Munjal Shroff.

In the last few years co-production has changed the game of AVGC sector,  Shroff said , “Co-production has always been about the partnership, COVID has taught us that distances are no longer relevant. It has opened up really fascinating terrain for us to engage with partners who are geographically separated. There are a lot of models emerging up both on the creative and business front which is in turn encouraging the development of the sector.”

He also added how to build up co-production deals effectively and how to cater to the global audiences.

Describing the new co-production practices Shayan added, “There is still an old school value system followed in co-production. The long-standing relationships, track records or the comfort to the partners and ability to deliver the project is the old fashioned co-pro but what is new is exploitation models i.e. the company wants to reap the benefits of co-pro with tools, technology, the cost to create the content. Cost and technology is the main influencer in co-production.”

Quoting about co-production Jayakumar added, “Co-production is all about sharing risk and rewards. From that perspective, I think it is a great philosophical model and this model will continue in the future too. What is changing is the distribution and financing models. NFTs are the emerging models which are witnessing effective results.”

The next session’s topic was Reigning the Silver Screen: Focus on Animation Feature Production.

It was moderated by DNEG head of production Seshaprasad A.R and the discussants were Assemblage Entertainment founder & CEO AK Madhavan, Climb Media founder director Kireet Khurana, 88 Pictures founder & CEO Milind D Shinde, and Punyakoti author and director & filmmaker Ravishankar Venkateswaran.

Bringing myriad stories to the table discussing their professional experiences, there were some interesting insights shared during the session. Khurana always wanted to use animation as a medium to convey social message, Venkateswaran’s mind was stuck at creating impactful content using animation for a long time and Shinde’s organization aims at making content that stands out by using creative expertise and technical know-how. 

Overall, the future of animation feature production is in solid hands, without a doubt. They discussed how it is very important to grow and nurture more talent in order to jump to the next level. The service and the IP model is not always about going with the herd mentality and just producing volumes. The panelists acknowledged that it’s about innovation and the creative way of inventing something that is cutting-edge.

The next session Indian IP Going Global focused on how Indian IPs is performing well at the global level. Moderated by CII Sub Committee on AVGC and Immersive Media chair and India Technicolor country head Biren Ghose panelists includes Cosmos Maya SVP revenue and corporate strategy, Native Puppets Animation Studios director and founder Anand Baid and Mikros Animation art director – feature animation Manoj Menon.

Panelists discussed on how the Indian IPs are reaching the global standards, how the whole scenario changed from past. The Indian animation studios are concentrating more on home-grown IPs and stories. They also explained how a simple IP can be turned into massive successful IP with a impressive storylines. Diversification of content plays major role in making the IPs to perform well in the global market.

Hosted by ABAI President CII National Committee on Media & Entertainment Vice-Chairman and Technicolor India Country Head Biren Ghose, the evening session saw the chieftains of the organisation which included ABAI – Center of Excellence Founder CEO and Animaple Solutions Director Shiji Sunil, Scan 360 Studios Technology Guru & Partner Hans Martin Van der Sluys, ABAI –Center of Excellence Secretary  B S Srinivas.

ABAI Center Of Excellence based in Karnataka is one of the first initiatives by the government to push the industry further through multiple facilities like workshops, finishing school, incubator center, green screen room, photogrammetry, NCAM and other latest technologies, bringing together the creative community under one roof. 

“We have aligned with a lot of universities and our courses are a part of university courses too. It is a take off as with some marketing and outreach, we will be there. Most important part of COE is the finishing school where we train a talent set of students in technology and production since we have aligned ourselves with Unity and Unreal and we have all the technology partnerships and certified programs, “ shared Sunil, enlisting the number of programmes and technologies that adorns the facility.

Ghose shared that AVGC sector is actually an infrastructure sector since it requires a robust infrastructure that need not be replicated by every entrepreneur and start-up. “The whole idea of COE was to take an area which might be necessarily viable for others; for example :- motion capture can’t be used by the studio every single day by gaming companies, “ he added, explaining why the government’s intervention in this area can ease the workflow and maintain quality. 

“I think what we need to do is to introduce the community at large to Bombay, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai, and Trivandrum to begin to look outside their own studios,” Sluys shared, explaining how the west is already past the phase where producers or actors operated out of their own facilities.

Srinivas informed that they have a major lineup of tie-ups with clients; almost close to 10 tie-ups already. “We recently completed a project using the facilities which we can not reveal at this point of time. Southern film industries are going to visit us in a few days. In esports mode, production, and post-production model, there is something exciting coming up so I think 2020 will be an exciting year. People from all over the world will come to Karnataka to get their projects done. We have a dedicated team and I feel we always talk about technology but we have very good technicians with us today,” he shared.

Valedictory session on “CII SummitFX 2021 – Global AVGC & Immersive Media Summit” saw participation from various stakeholders and ministers. It was participated by General Confederation of Indian Industry Director Chandrajit Banerjee Hon’ble Minister of Commerce & Industry Government of India Piyush Goyal, CII National Committee on Media & Entertainment and Country Manager Chairman & The Walt Disney Company India & Star India President  MK Madhavan, and CII National Committee on M&E vice-chair, CII Sub Committee on AVGC & Immersive Media chair and India Technicolor country head Biren Ghose.

Banerjee laid out various initiatives and welcomed the guests. Goyal invited the AVGC community to present them with the plan and the requirements assuring that he would be happy to devise the fundamental strategies. 

Madhavan also thanked the government and outlined the various initiatives that have helped propel the industry further. Ghose spoke about how CII can be the national platform for the AVGC skills council for which they have kept the draft ready. 

With the stakeholders of the industry congregating and the confluence of AVGC synergies, the ecosystem will soon replenish and bourgeon leaps and bounds.