Toonz Media Group is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year and the company proudly inaugurated the 2019 edition of its two-day Animation Masters Summit (AMS), at the Techno Park Campus in Trivandrum, Kerala. The event was graced by British deputy high commissioner, Chennai, India Jeremy Pilmore-Bedford and other dignitaries. Toonz Media Group CEO P. Jayakumar, in his opening speech expressed how the Animation Masters Summit is an integral part of Toonz’s legacy and commitment to celebrate the art of animation and carried on to express the importance of working to build engaging experiences to connect with kids. The stellar speakers’ list at AMS 2019 saw sessions from Gummybear International CEO Christian Schneider, Goldieblox founder and CEO Debbie Sterling, Discovery Kids India head Uttam Pal Singh, writer, animation artist and director Peter Dodd, screenwriter, lyricist, actor and film maker Mayur Puri, Vaanarsena Studios senapati Vivek Ram, visual effects supervisor Srinivas Mohan. Considering the theme at this year’s AMS: ‘Connecting Content: Seeing the Big Picture’, Autodesk country manager Shekhar Rohira in his keynote speech said, “The growing OTT scenario has changed the way content is built. India has seen fair bit of OTT platforms, creating hunger for content.” Schneider in his session shared his cute story behind the idea of Gummybear, the animated series which are loved all over and has reached around 15,000,000,000 viewers because of its animation, content and peppy music. The first day of AMS 2019 also held a fun session with Puri. He mentioned the difference between a translator and trans-creator. Puri also stated how content needs to be faithful to a particular audience and said, “If the content works locally, it will definitely work globally.” AMS 2019 honoured two new masters for their contribution to the world of animation, Nickelodeon India and Viacom 18 head of content, kids entertainment cluster Anu Sikka and animation guru and celebrated film designer professor Raman Lal Mistry. Sikka shared her journey with Nickelodeon over the years. She discussed how the shows like Keymon Ache, Motu Patlu, Pakdam Pakdai, Shiva, Rudra: Boom Chik Chik Boom and Daduji have worked for the targeted audience. Sikka said, “Parents trust us for showing content which is safe for kids. We have to show the personality of a certain character considering the situations in the show.” The crowd in the hall applauded the two honoured masters by giving them a standing ovation and day one ended with an energetic performance by local drummers. Still soaking the insights from the past day, audience gathered early in the event hall for a classic performance of Tholpavakoothu, a form of shadow puppetry practiced in Kerala. The performers made the audience wonder in awe and watch the wonderful puppetry, making a marvellous start to the day. Already sinking in the mythological tales from the show, the crowd welcomed upon stage Vaanarsena’s senapati Ram. He talked about his way of showing art, which is purely providing wisdom and philosophy. Ram took the audience on a journey to witness the ancient forms of art and how art has evolved today. His animation projects which still focus on the basic of animation, 2D technique received huge round of applause. Another session that grabbed attention from all those present was master Dodd’s. He shared the various steps involved in the process of animation and also showed few projects created by him. Mohan took the audience on a VFX ride with the amazing job done in the Rajinikanth blockbuster, 2.0. He also mentioned the learning from the movie director Shankar which stated, “The best VFX is the one when the audience can’t feel the VFX.” The session saw the making of VFX scenes from the movie, how the idea was developed and how the script was created. What actually inspired the crowd was a full packed and motivational session by Sterling. She talked to the audience about her journey from being a kid interested in block toys to gaining the position of CEO. Sterling’s story about ‘running behind your passion’ is something not just girls but even the boys around the globe must follow. Sterling, after taking failures and criticisms have managed to take Goldieblox to another level with covering categories like toys, social media, publishing, animation, merchandising, experiences, education and apps. The YouTube channel now has around 517,676 subscribers. Coinciding with AMS, Toonz launched the Cocoon Concept Lab, a programme to support authentic story-telling and ideas by providing individualised concept development for emerging concept creators and writers with a TV/Digital series idea or screenplay. The programme received 74 entries from around the world, with the winning project Adventures of Detective Dodo DumDum by Narayan Taludkar and runner up Kalu & Bhooto by Arijit Ghosh were announced at this year’s Animation Masters Summit, and will be taken to the international market to be developed further under the Toonz banner. The closing note was given by Toon Boom Animation sales director – Asia Pacific Bernard Boiteux who mentioned that India is in a great position today with the industry growing at a rapid pace. The two-day summit ended on an emotional note with the event manager Emme giving a vote of thanks to all present in making the event a success.