CII’s Summit FX witnesses robust discussion amongst key stakeholders on ‘Building eco-system through state AVGC associations’

Third day of CII’s SummitFX saw a trailblazing session on “Building Eco-system Through State AVGC Associations” which saw participation from various industry captains from all across the country. Over the past year, the industry has witnessed notable amount of galvanizing and synergizing as leaders from all corners of the country converge on a common platform to help evolve AVGC policies through discussions and recommendations.

Moderated by Punnaryug Artvision & Screenyug Creations CEO Ashish Kulkarni, the session was participated by CII National Committee on Media & Entertainment vice chairman and Technicolor India country head Biren Ghose, Rotomaker Telangana founder and CEO Madhav Reddy Yatham (Mike), GOK Centre of Excellence in Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming & Comics Sector and ABAI Karnataka secretary B S Srinivas, ASIFA India & Horizon Institute of Design Madhya Pradesh core committee member & founder and president Sanjay Khimesara, Purple Turtle director Manish Rajoria, Digital Magic and Davinci Media College owner and founder Arul Moorthy, Bhooshan Animations India founder & CEO and SAIK (Society of AVGC Institutions, Kerala) joint secretary Sarath Bhooshan and Vaibhav Studios founder and director Vaibhav Kumaresh.

Ghose opines that the Media & Entertainment policy is a prescription that the government must consider as a strategy to stimulate better economic conditions, leveraging the soft power of Indian creativity and artistic talent because he believes that it is a great fuel for both economic and emotional prosperity. He adds, “We want to create a wonderful necklace or a string of pearls as they say in strategic language where every state is an important pearl and together we form the India necklace for the AVGC.”

With state-level support, Kulkarni along with his associates has been touring the country to give platform to various AVGC studios so they can come together on a common platform. Discussing the efforts that have been taken over the course of past year, he informs, “During the lockdown, we decided to get people who were sitting at home together through a digital communication medium. We were able to see without having visited, we were able to constantly meet and create an ecosystem that brings about the energy within the studio in every single state and that exercise began a long time ago when we had ASIFA and TASI which were formed at the national level.”

He shares that they continued with the upgradation of skills and nurturing of new talent and sharing of knowledge along with case studies. Speaking about other state initiatives, he continues, “It has been a constant effort by these organizations. At the same time, we had ABAI in 2005 then we have TVAGA in Telangana and we also have SAIK that we found last year in Kerala and we have another one which is Maratha Chamber of Commerce in Maharashtra. We also started our effort in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, North East Region, NCR and Punjab/Haryana. We are pretty much covering the Indian geography in all these places where they have studios.”

Yatham or Mike as he is fondly called informed that the state government has been proactive in their approach to Telangana’s AVGC policy. “Our ministers KTR and Jayesh Ranjan understand the value of animation,” he shared. Ever since the state-led initiative like TVAGA have taken hold, many studios across the state have benefited tremendously. With subsidies up to five lakh rupees, production reimbursement, turnover benefits, and land allotment, government in Telangana has notched up the support infrastructure. Mike informs that in the next three years, the proposed image tower which is set to be the hallmark of the state will have 16 lakh SFT and high-tech facilities that will invigorate the ecosystem enormously.

Similarly, Srinivas shares that Karnataka government started the ABAI center of excellence as a part of their AVGC initiative and has been relentlessly striving to support the ecosystem. “In 2012, we have a broader outlook on policy and it became more specific in 2017. We have been focusing on memberships and skill developments through our finishing school,” he added. Laying out the latest addition in the gamut of hi-tech facilities like NCAM, photogrammetry scanner and greenscreen rooms, he reassured that the center of excellence can be of tremendous help to creators.

Rajoria shared that they as an association have been putting in efforts to speak to the government about an AVGC policy. Having made progress with the help of Kulkarni, they have also started the association, bringing over 32 studios under one roof. Moorthy shared that their decade long effort bore fruit as they have made progress in the domain too with a sizeable number of studios in his state driving up the economy

Southern states have been at the forefront of the AVGC race with various initiatives dotting the landscape. Tamil Nadu, Moorthy informs, has as many as two associations. Due to COE’s involvement, they have experienced many advantages. “With new things happening like LED walls and mocap, it is a huge investment and VFX is a big market for not just local conception but also outsource work,” he asserts.

Bhooshan shares that Kerela has indeed emerged as a creative powerhouse with numerous studios spread across the landscape. “The awareness that there are many studios who are working on international projects and some smaller ones are working on domestic IPs, made us get together and come under one umbrella.” Speaking about SAIK, he shared how they formed a strong association for the benefit of existing AVGC scenario in Kerala.

Khimesara lauded organisations like TASI and ASIFA India, expressing gratitude for their programmes and initiatives which helped the AVGC sector eventually. Vaibhav Kumaresh from Tasi also shared that what began as just regular discussions at the animation stalwart Ram Mohan and Bhimsen’s houses bourgeoned into festivals. “Our purpose is simple which is to keep sharing with the artist community and the fact that it is personal, intimate and informal makes it educational and fun because it is like friends getting together and sharing freely,” he expounded.

With the ecosystem getting more and more connected through state initiatives, the day is not far when India will be called the global creative powerhouse.