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    IndiEarth dedicates two days to independent animation directors, with award winners and underrated gems.

    TO BRING over 300 entries down to 54 is not easy. But Sonya Mazumdar, founder-CEO of EarthSync—whose IndiEarth is organising the third edition of its Animation Film Festival this weekend—is full of verve (despite a bout of flu) when she says, “This is what we do!” Unlike previous editions, this year’s event will be held at two venues, Alliance Francaise and the Tagore Film Centre. Mazumdar admits she is pleased to see how the festival has progressed. “That it is now in its third year says a lot,” she reflects, adding that challenges still remain (for example, budget deficiencies). However, this year’s entries (themed on social status, love, gender identities, animation trends, etc.) have shown that the industry in the country is in good hands, she signs off. August 20-21. Details: indiearth.com

    Sending a message
    Ranjitha Rajeevan’s portrayal of Ponnu and her longing for an ancient rebel was enough to help her Keli bag a place in last year’s Jaipur International Film Festival. An year earlier, in 2014, Swarup Deb managed to strike a chord with his stand against child abuse in Amlu. It won the Best Animation Film award at My Mumbai Short Film Festival.

    First timers
    Among the premieres to look out for, Delhi-based Abhishek Verma’s Maacher Jhol stands out. The crowd-funded 2D movie is made using hand-drawn animation techniques, and is about a socially relevant subject—a person’s acceptance of his own sexuality. Also, ringing in the Caribbean flavour, is Alain Bidard’s Battledream Chronicle, Martinique’s first-ever feature-length animation film.

    l prefer to employ the frame-
    by-frame technique.  It lends a personal touch to movies, thanks to the drawings by hand. For Maacher Jhol (which is 10 minutes long), I had to make over 5,000 drawings, which is screened
    at 12 frames per second

    Tech contrasts
    Impressing us with its clever use of clay animation and puppets is Isamu Hirabiyashi’s colourful and vibrant Little Shimajiro, which is based on a popular Japanese anime series. On the other extreme is IDestini, by Nicholas Pilarski and Destini Riley. Animated from monochrome strokes and design, this movie (about the consequences of falling in love) is simple yet poignant.

    Suresh Eriyat

    The outsourced model of revenue generation and lack of proper animation filmmaking courses, pose a challenge to the industry’s growth. That said, I am looking forward to Debanjan Nandy’s Chhaya and Fireflies in the Abyss by Chandrasekhar Reddy

    Festival select
    What’s a film festival without red carpet heavyweights?
    Eeksaurus founder, Suresh Eriyat’s Fisherwoman and Tuk Tuk won the National Award for Best Non-Feature Animation Film last year, followed by the  Award for Excellence at the Tokyo Anime Awards Festival this year. There’s also Tarun Lak’s Rupee Run, which will be screened at festivals like the Los Angeles Cinefest and Sedicicorto International Film Festival.

    Keeping track
    While we wait for what IndiEarth has to offer, elsewhere in Mumbai, The Animation Society of India is
    gearing up to host the 11th edition of Anifest. To be held next week (August 26-28) at Whistling Woods and Jai Hind College. Details: tasionline.org

    Hemant Gaba

    I wanted to describe how children from a particular region grow up with a liking for a certain subculture. Nagaland’s craze for Japanese anime fit the bill perfectly for my film, Japan in Nagaland

    Alain Bidard

    It’s fair to say that Battledream Chronicle is Alain Bidard’s baby. Not only has he directed the sci-fi adventure, on a meagre budget of 400 euros, but he has also scored the music and even lent voice to some of the characters.

    Trivia matters
    1. The animators of the movie Zootopia spent 18 months studying animal movements
    and behaviour.
    2. Pixar’s Academy Award-winning Inside Out took five years to be completed.
    3. Not all animation movies are for children. This year’s Sausage Party got an R-rating for its sexual innuendos!
    Do it yourself
    It’s never too late to learn animation, as Abhishek Verma’s workshop will show. All you need are colours, craft paper, pencils, erasers and sketch pens—and the award-winning filmmaker will demonstrate how to use animation techniques using smartphones, computer software, paper and clay. Register for `500.
    Details: academy.earthsync.com

    —Karan Pillai

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