Director Aditi Krishnadas speaks on the making of the Satoshi Kon award winning short film’Kandittund’

Studio Eeksaurus’ Kandittund (Seen It) bagged the Satoshi Kon Award for Excellence in animation at Fantasia International Film Festival (FIFF) Awards 2021. The 12-minute Malayalam short film features P.N.K Panicker and his super-natural encounters. P.N.K Panicker is the father of Eeksaurus Studio founder Suresh Eriyat.

The film is directed by Adithi Krishnadas and produced by Nilima Eriyat. Academy Award winner Resul Pookutty along with Vijaykumar have done the sound design for the film. Nandhu Kartha composed the original BGM and Bibin Dev was the re-recording mixer.

Thrilled by the win, Krishnadas told Animation Xpress, “It’s a great honour, and I’m happy it resonated with them, despite being quite specifically regional.”

Talking about the main essence of the film and revealing more about the lead character Panicker, Krishnadas said, “This was an idea that was already in the works when I joined Studio Eeksaurus. The main character in Kandittund is based on Panicker. Panicker has an extremely interesting personality. He has a natural flair for storytelling, and he makes up stories about any number of things, the most interesting of them all being the supernatural encounters he has had. The film is structured around the audio tracks of Panicker nonchalantly talking about his ghostly encounters.”

The animated short is in black and white and looks like hand-drawn using charcoal and features Panicker’s terribly real, horribly frightening and completely true ghost sightings!

Krishnadas took over a year and half to finish the film; the main drawing software used were TVPaint for animation and Photoshop for backgrounds. Editing and compositing were all done using Adobe software.

Briefing about the production process of the animated short, Krishnadas mentioned, “To begin with, I put together the most interesting bits of Panicker’s audio tracks and made a structure on which I could build the film. I did detailed animatics using this audio track, after which I fleshed out the layouts and proceeded onto drawing the backgrounds. After that was set, the animation process began, incorporating the nuances and exaggerations of Panicker’s stories. While cleanup and colouring were proceeding, the film was handed over for music and sound design.”

Adithi Krishnadas

She also talked about major challenges she faced while directing the film. “As I had mentioned, Suresh Eriyat already had plans to make a film about his father by the time I joined. To bring that idea to life was extremely exciting to me, as I’d been wanting to do hand-drawn Malayalam animation for a very long time. To be quite honest, everyday and every part of every work was challenging to me. I can think of a number of things – animating to a Malayalam soundtrack, figuring out the acting, planning hand-drawn camera movements etc. I would start the day not really being certain about what I’d end up with by the end of the day, but that was the best part about this project. Playing around and ending up with unexpected things is the most incredible feeling.”

On asking about the release date of the film, Krishnadas said, “The film is doing rounds in a few film festivals currently. We will be announcing the release date on Studio Eeksaurus’ social media platforms soon.”

Revealing about her future plans, Krishnadas added, “The studio is working on developing some exciting film projects, and I’ll be contributing to those. Apart from that, I’ve been working on developing an idea for a series. I’m just taking the time out to explore and I’ll see what it turns into.”

Krishnadas always had a great interest in art and animation since childhood. She completed her undergraduate animation programme from NID. As part of graduation project she worked for Vaibhav Studios, and then joined Eeksaurus and Kandittund is her maiden major animated film.