Chitrakatha’17 animation festival brings Afro-Asian storytelling for this year’s edition

From a deep understanding and concern for the graphic storytelling and animation industry, has emerged the Indian festival Chitrakatha.

It is an international student animation festival held at the NID (National Institute of Design) campus, Ahmedabad, India every alternate year. In the sixth edition of the festival that is hosted this year from 22 to 28 October, the theme is Afro-Asia. The six-day long festival is replete with sessions, seminars, film screenings, debates, and is open to students all round the world.

Sekhar Mukherjee

The festival received 600 entries from across the world including India for its animation and comics competition, out of which 76 have been shortlisted for animation and 12 for comics. The all-women jury panel for the competition is lead by Ebele Okoye, whose film Anna Blume has won the 2007 Robert Bosch Foundation Promotional Prize for Animation as well as the Ritter Prize at the 2010 Zebra Poetry Film Festival Berlin. The other judges include Sara Khalili, Ng’endo Mukii, Heeseon Kim and Tanishka Kachru.

Since the festival is hosted in the city of Ahmedabad in the state of Gujarat, festival director Sekhar Mukherjee thought it was apt to have India’s holy animal cow, as a mascot of Chitrakatha. “Apart from that, I also break the word cow into cinema of wonder,” says he.

Chitrakatha was born out of a plan to host an artistic student animation festival from National Institute of Design to celebrate its multidisciplinary nature and the power of design process. The idea came in 2003 and the first edition was held in 2007. Mukherjee, who himself is a post-graduate in animation film design from NID shares, “I thought that this festival would be a great opportunity to encourage students and bring the international community together.”

The objective of the festival has been to build a slow and steady awareness across the nation amongst the students, academia, stakeholders and policymakers about the power of design education, with NID’s 50-year old legacy in the field of design.

A seminar on the second day of Chitrakatha’17

World peace, human rights, non-violence, Nelson Mandela, sunlight, migration, love, bandits, clowns, laughter, identity, gender, gaze, freedom, quality, compassion, pandits, bandits: Chitrakatha’17 promises to animate this chaotic dance of new world order under the theme Afro-Asia.

Elaborating on the theme of the edition, Mukherjee says, “My proposal of this year was to bring these two subcontinents (Africa and Asia) together. And we are also talking about how story travels from origins of a region to now.”

The festival brings together a community of artists, designers, geologists, historians, dancers, musicians, archaeologists who all tell their stories which can be brought alive with the medium of animation. “This does not restrict the minds of the students to mechanical animation and they use the medium as a tool to explore these subjects as well,” he concludes.

(This article has been written by Anshita Bhatt and edited by Swati Panda)