The Animation Society of India (TASI) celebrated 16 glorious years of voluntary services in India by organising Anifest India 2017 at Jai Hind College, Mumbai on 4 November, 2017. The biggest annual animation festival in India, “Anifest India” is 13 years old and is an attempt to nurture the art of animation in India. It was a superb effort by the TASI team this year. It is a two day event and the event continued on 5 November as well. The main reason behind organising “Anifest India” is to showcase the talents of new animators within the industry to everyone. This year big names like Green Gold Animation, Technicolor, Cartoon Network, Toonz Animation, Whistling Woods International were the sponsors. Vaibhav Kumaresh, founder and director of Vaibhav Studios and a part of the organising team for Anifest India spoke to Animation Xpress. He said, “The show is presented to be as informal as possible while keeping the atmosphere friendly and inviting to the audience.We also like to pack the show with plenty of audience involvement like sketching or question and answer round.” He added, “The show is meant to be educational and inspirational to other new age animators as well.I am personally thrilled that this year we are showcasing Indian artists who are creating amazing original content across various formats. These artists have successfully paved new paths to reach their audiences. Their efforts I’m sure will inspire more budding content creators to join the band wagon!” Since the event was for two days in a row, a variety of content was portrayed. The audience showed a positive reaction to the event as seen in the questions they have asked. It shows how curious they are and open to the information shared by the speakers. More than half the audience are students, the invitees are usually sent to members of the industry. This event has helped bring the community together. For new film producers, they get a chance to meet some of the most talented animators of the industry. Live Sketching session Ever tried sketching with charcoal? No! Well that’s the fun which happened in the first session. It was conducted by industry professionals like Chetan Sharma, E Suresh, Vaibhav Kumaresh, Vaibhav More and Vivek Ram. The event began with encouraging the crowd to sketch their surroundings. Co-founder and director of Mumbai based animation studio Animagic India Chetan Sharma started a rough sketch of a man holding his mobile phone. He explained that he likes to record his surroundings by sketching them out. After the sketch was complete, the audience shared their drawings which were remarkable and much appreciated. Chetan Sharma spoke to Animation Xpress about Anifest, “The importance of this event is to bring people together and share their projects with the audience. This is why I feel very happy to be a part of the show and share my experiences. Everyone that works in this industry is a learner, hence in an event like this, it gives us all a chance to learn something new. We welcome more people to take advantage of this opportunity.” He added, “ Our team has been working in the animation industry for about two decades and understand the importance of sketching . The objective of the event is to plant this idea into people’s heads about the fundamentals of artistic creation. In order for them to start creating projects of their own.” Eeksaurus Studio founder Suresh Eriyat displayed pictures of all the doodles he creates while travelling and also shared how he likes to record all his experiences.Vaibhav More also on stage shared his expertise about animation. The bottom line is that to be a good animator, one needs to keep recording everything by drawing and sketching. Suresh also gave a back story about his experiences and his love to doodle his surroundings, he displayed a drawing of the men’s toilet. There was another doodle that he shared about him standing against the wind with the intention of relieving himself. He unintentionally messed up; while the person behind him sat down to avoid the wind. Next he presented a short animated film titled “What’s your brown number” which has not yet been released to the public . The film is about the craze for fair skin tone in our country and how brown skin is put down. It had an interesting concept of brown colour number and was quite humourous and witty in appeal. The second incubation project was made by a student Ananya who has been mentored by Suresh and has made a similar film called “The Art of Aping”. The story revolves around the concept of how Indians are aping the western culture. It also raised concerns on situations like how while blindly aping the western lifestyle, young adults send their parents to old age homes.The target audience for the films are for the Indian society and currently not meant for international audiences. Ananya said to Animation Xpress, “It took nine months to work on the project. A lot of efforts was put in for making this film a success. This is the first screening that I have attended for my film, and I felt very happy being on stage as a director and being asked questions about it.” She agreed, “It’s a good way to educate children and adults, and because its animated content it’s definitely displays a lighter side of the news. Tokri film screening As the day rolled on, Eeksauraus Studio displayed a film that hasn’t yet been released in India yet. We got to see the first viewing of their project. It was an Indian premiere of a sweet animated short film with a strong message named as Tokri. The film has a backstory and is based on a real incident. Tokri is the story is about a family of three and the love they share for each other. In the story, the little girl accidentally breaks a golden watch that is greatly adored by her father. And she spends the latter half of the story finding a way to earn money to get it fixed.Suresh narrated his experience of how he had nudged off a street beggar girl at Bandra and that event triggered the making of Tokri. There are about 100 characters, everything was made from clay using clay animation. The character, the buildings were re-created as a small model. Music was made using a harmonium to reflect the regular Indian theme. The audio was perfectly designed, as the video did not display the characters having conversations. The audio used for vehicles and the traffic were recorded from actual vehicles, flute player and many other such natural sounds and added it to the film. The buildings were made from thermocol. Suresh wanted the image of the child to be reflected and felt by the audience. Suresh feels that animation portrays the essence of the character perfectly. The project originally started in 2010 and was taking a long time to complete. Hence they hired a Polish animator who helped them finish the story quickly. He shared his insights about a being a filmmaker. He said “To be an animation film maker you need to be very patient.” The movement of the vehicles were done by the use of strings attached to each vehicle re-creating the events of a busy road. Interestingly, many of the sound tracks were done in just one take for the film.Suresh exclaimed that Indian animation industry needs to grow compared to European countries. Suresh Eriyat spoke to Animation Xpress about his lovely film Tokri which wooed the audience. He said, “It is good to finally have a show for our own audience in India. This film was created has been screened in almost 50 festivals internationally and nationally. We finally managed to bring it to the Mumbai audience and we wanted to share it with our fraternity, that’s the important thing. By taking this first step it would help broaden the aspirations of the Indian animation industry and no longer remain simply as an outsourced or backup animation company. It’s time to become part of the story telling system.” The film was loved so much by the audience that there were suggestions to make it compulsory for studying it in animation curriculum as a case study.It took about six long years to make nine minutes of animation. The team faced lot of problems like monetary issues as well as the people involved in the The painstaking efforts and patience shown by Suresh is indeed commendable and it got a big applause from the audience. Sculpting session with Vichar BN Vichar BN spoke about his experiences in sculpting statues. He explained that Indian artists are very talented and as an artist himself he felt the talent needs to be explored. This talented artist has won an award for the 3D burning dragon, and he also displayed a statue called ‘Smoking Beauty’. Vichar explained that he creates his art through his own inspiration and feelings. He explained the importance of anatomy when making art and the fundamentals of digital sculpting and understanding basic shapes. “To be a good artist you need create art by exploring the depths of a character, surroundings and the feeling that it needs to portray,” Vichar said to the audience. Lamput Session The next session was the much awaited session oozing with laughter and a lot of creativity. Yes Lamput saw, came and conquered all and sundry! Vaibhav Kumaresh who is the founder of Vaibhav studio was very interactive and jolly with all. He was the heart and soul of Anifest with his creative craziness. The speakers were art director Ganesh Kotale, pre production artist Anand Babu and music composer and sound designer Roto Shah.They shared a glimpse of Lamput shorts which made the audience go hysteric with laughter. Vaibhav shared the story of how his team first pitched the Lamput show to Nickelodeon but it was declined. Then the idea was pitched to Turner in Hong Kong and the management team got super excited by the three magical words,gooey orange nut case. At some point, Turner wanted to change the colour from orange to red but later on decided to stick to the original colour. He displayed all the shots and the music behind the scenes and how they designed it. Ganesh Kotale designed the background, art colour, and Roto Shah who is the sound designer and music composer from the team displayed the amazing work he has done for the series. Lamput season 2 will be launched in early 2018. And recently Vaibhav studio launched an animated short of Lamput based on Halloween.They also showed some of the upcoming Lamput shorts which has not been aired yet exclusively for the audience. They are still in the animatic stage (hand-drawn and without audio). They spoke about how one needs to remain firm and validate one’s logic for creative liberty. But they confessed that Turner gave them a lot of liberty. Vaibhav Studio has a strong willed team and because of this they were able to accomplish everything they set out to do. Rocket Science Animation The last session of day one of Anifest 2017 was on the topic, “Creating an Indian IP for the digital media – Rat Race” The session was presented by Gautam Singh and Vivekanada Roy Ghatak who are the founders of Gurgaon based Rocket Science Animation studio. They explained how they created an Indian IP named as Rat Race for the digital media. Interestingly, Gautam and Vivek revealed jokingly how they had designed the TASI logo and also showed the work they have done including animated ads. They screened an animated commercial video for an app called Truly Madly Unsingle at the event. Rat Race is an interesting web series about office life and the interactions between colleagues in the office. It is being aired currently on Happii-Fi, the YouTube channel of SAB Group. Neeraj Dwivedi (Guddu), Nobbin, Shikhar Vyas (Chunna) are the some of the main animators who have designed the show and the characters are based on them only. The three employees have been shown as rats while the boss is a dog who is very sadist in nature. Chugli, the office boy is an informant to the other employees and charges them for secretes that the boss tells him. They showed the pilot episode which was an interesting episode about how the AC in the office is not working for the employees. Then they try asking the boss to change the AC which is of no use and then they try to get into his room to have a feel of the AC. The series was made for made for the digital media with easy animation and low cost. Both told the story of how they cracked the deal with Sab TV. It was launching 5 digital channels at that time and then they struck a deal of co-partnership with them. The company now co-owns 50 percent of the IP in terms of production, marketing and distribution. They explained that they preferred co-wning the show rather than losing all rights due to a deal. Currently, they have signed the next deal of 21 episodes. Also, the Rat Race team tried bringing in stars of the film Munna Michael and HalfGirlfriend for its promotion for which they got a lot views but also some negative comments. The founders agreed that abuses does not affect the popularity of the show and also it is very unpredictable with regards to what works and what does not work in the digital medium. Gautam said, “ Earlier having one’s own IP was a dream but now its very easy. We did 100 minutes of animation in 6 months.The production was like working on a comic book but the tough part was hiring a writer for an animated series.They wanted to put a female character but the writer made it too obscene but they confirmed that it will be done soon.” It was indeed a good learning experience for everyone who wants to create one’s own IP in the digital medium. The creative and marketing skills they shared was superb! This is how day one of Anifest India 2017 ended with loads and loads of creativity, laughter and learning related to the beautiful world of animation. Stay updated with us for all the details about day 2 of Anifest India.