‘Punyakoti’ selected as a finalist for the New York Animation Film Awards (NYAFA)

Punyakoti, the first ever Sanskrit animation film has another laurel to its credit. The animated film has been shortlisted as a finalist for the New York Animation Film Awards (NYAFA).  Directed by Ravi Shankar Venkateshwaran, Punyakoti launched on Netflix on 31 March 2020 and is presently streaming on the platform. However, the journey was not an easy one for the makers. The film got continuously deferred since April 2019, and got its first exclusive screening for the crowd-funders in October 2019 before landing on the streaming service.  Speaking about the nomination to AnimationXpress, Shankar said, “I’m really happy at the selection. It is a strange feeling when global platforms are taking notice of the innovative work we have done, but the Indian animation fraternity has turned away from even acknowledging something like this has happened. I have written multiple times to the Indian Government but have not even received any recognition.” Clearly there was not enough buzz around the film in the Indian animation industry as much as it should be. In one of his previous interviews, Shankar revealed to us, that he was still waving off his loans which he took to make Punyakoti see the light of the day. Produced by Puppetica Media, Punyakoti is inspired by a popular folk song in Kannada, with an imaginary take on the circumstances that led to the encounter between a truth-speaking cow and a tiger in a village that is facing an impending drought.  The script of the film is from a children’s picture book by the same name, written by Shankar himself. The movie follows a five act structure and is modelled along the lines of any international quality production in terms of creative and structural finesse. The 80-90 minutes animated film has a unique style that’s inspired by Indian folk-art with a mix of traditional and digital animation techniques with more emphasis on the storytelling than on the technical prowess. The team had invested a lot of time and dedication to bring out a style that draws upon the Indian temple art and puppetry- the forms and style which follows the proportion and aesthetics of Indian folk-art and sculpture. Earlier, Punyakoti won three awards at Animation Xpress’ ANN Awards in August 2019, for ‘Best Animation Digital Film’, ‘Best Voice Over Artist’ (Revathy) and ‘Best Screenplay’.