Even though the legendary Walt Disney is no longer among us, his thoughts and free spirited creativity still inspires tonnes of people across the globe, and this time he has managed to make a place for himself in the heart of a 14 year old, Deepak Kumar EP. Deepak has in a way followed the famous saying by Walt Disney that goes, ‘When you’re curious, you find lots of interesting things to do’ by not only making an 18 minute animated video all by himself but also bagging the first prize at the Chiyoko Children & Youth Animation Film Festival Zurich. We at AnimationXpress got in touch with Deepak to know more about how this child, who has never taken any formal training in animation, managed to pull off this amazing feat. The short called ‘Rabbit and Tortoise New Gen Race’ is in 2D animation and also include English subtitles as it’s in Malayalam. It is well executed by this one boy team. A resident of Kalliassery, Kannur, Deepak who’s currently studying in 9th grade, has a keen interest in drawing, digital painting, 3D modelling and animation. His inclination towards drawing began at a young age of 7, when he used to draw Disney characters for the sheer love and joy that he felt on watching the animated films and cartoons. To boost up Deepak’s passion, his parents took him for a seminar conducted by Toonz Animation, where he was introduced to the world of animation. “I presented a stick animation of Michael Jackson to a few senior artists at Toonz and they invited me to see their studio at Trivandrum. I got to witness them working on various 2D and 3D animation projects as well. Seeing them work, I was impressed and interested to learn animation,” said Deepak. When he approached Toonz Academy to train him, they said that since he’s still very young, he can’t enroll for the animation course until he finishes his 10th grade. “But I could not wait till then. So I started to learn it by myself. I happened to read Disney’s handbook and Richard Williams’ animation survival kit and follow their way. Sir Walt Disney is my god and he is my inspiration,” he further added. Deepak has been working on his winning short ‘Rabbit and Tortoise New Gen Race’ for over 6 months and has used the cut out animation technique. Talking more about it, he explained, “This video wasn’t a project for me. I started working on it in order to learn 2D animation, I was not even having a storyboard in the beginning. As I progressed, ideas came to my mind and my parents constantly gave me suggestions which I accepted if I felt it suited my style of work.” PDF tutorial files and YouTube videos have been his source of information and learning. As for the softwares that Deepak has used to bring to life his imagination are Toon Boom’s Harmony for the animation and Cyberlink Powerdirector as the editing platform. The audio, background and voices have been provided by his school friends, and his father helped him to submit the video online to Chiyoko Children & Youth Animation Film Festival which was held recently on 15 November. On his feeling after winning this award at such a young age, he beamed, “I feel happy about my win. Now I want to study and improve a lot more in it. My parents are also very happy, but sadly not much inspiration is there in Kerala in this field.” On his future plans he revealed, “I obviously plan to take up animation but that would be after graduation. My dream is to become an animator. I am also interested in game making and software programming.” Kudos to this young aspiring kid and his parents who have supported him in chasing his passion and gradually achieving his dream. All the best Deepak for your future endeavours!