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Pandemic Compelled Us To Think Global

Interview With CEO: How Toonz Animation Braved Covid-19

admin   May 13, 2021

Expanding Toonz’s global footprint and transforming it for new age viewing and learning in its 21st year, P Jayakumar, CEO, Toonz Animation Group, tells Pickle that how the Indian animation pioneer is spreading positivity through MyToonz OTT platform, online animation education arm Ri8Brain and partnership with studios globally 

Despite COVID-19 pandemic impacting every aspect of life and business, for animation industry it has been an eventful year in terms of content consumption and global collaborations, bringing the world closer through technology and innovations, reveals P Jayakumar, CEO, Toonz Media Group

Toonz Media Group launched MyToonz during COVID-19 lockdown. How is it doing?

MyToonz is an exclusive OTT platform for kids and family entertainment launched by Toonz Media Group. Toonz has tied up with multiple app stores, tele-companies, OTTs and connected TV companies around the world to make MyToonz available to consumers across platforms.

The MyToonz app is now available on iOS, Android and Android TV playstores, as well as the Roku Video-on-Demand platform, Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV. We have tied up with mobile tech services company U2opia Mobile to integrate MyToonz on various telco platforms in Latin America, Africa and Asia.

The MyToonz library includes over 1500 hours of content, with new content being added every week. The library includes movies and episodic content across different genres. Besides English, there are dedicated playlists in Spanish, Russian and Hindi languages.

The content on platform has been categorized to target pre-schoolers, upper pre-schoolers and early teens. The programming has also been carefully curated to provide quality entertainment to kids and families through fun, educational, safe, non-violent and environmentally sensitive content that celebrates diversity.

The MyToonz library can also be accessed online over the website http://www.mytoonz.com.

There has been a very encouraging response from the industry for MyToonz so far. We have received a lot of enquiries from catalogue owners for on-boarding content on to MyToonz. There has also been interest shown by localization companies wanting to collaborate on content localization.

We have been receiving enquiries from various content aggregators of telco platforms who are keen to get MyToonz onboarded on VAS/DCB/WAP platforms and portals. The response from CTV OEM companies has also been positive. The application has been on-boarded on quite a few CTV platforms.

Competing against Amazon Kids, Netflix and YouTube Kids is very challenging. At the same time we have over 40 OTT platforms in the domestic market and over 250 globally. What differentiates MyToonz from them?

Yes, there are several players in the OTT sector currently, but most of them are general platforms. Kids section is only a small part in these OTTs. MyToonz is more of a niche platform for kids and family entertainment.

We have created a dedicated space for kids and families within the OTT space, banking on our rich legacy and strong content portfolio. In fact, we are the first company of its kind from India to launch an exclusive OTT of kids.

MyToonz basically originates from the compelling need to create a safe and engaging entertainment destination for kids and families in the digital landscape. We have envisaged MyToonz as the go-to destination for kids to watch safe, fun and nutritious content, which will be available in multiple global languages.

It is a space where the whole family can come together to enjoy world-class content. All MyToonz programming is compliant with international safety standards for child viewing.

What has been the impact of COVID-19 in the animation space? While we are resilient, is there room to bridge the growth gap that we may have lost?

COVID has impacted every aspect of life and business today. Across industries, we can see the repercussions of the pandemic. With respect to the content, and animation industry in particular, it has been a rather eventful year since the pandemic started.

Content consumption has skyrocketed, and the demand for content has never been so pressing before. Especially in the kids entertainment space, with kids all over the world staying home, there has been an urgent need to keep them positively engaged. And content is now being seen as a source of not just entertainment but also education and inspiration.

We can safely say that because of this demand, the kids entertainment industry has been largely immune compared to other industries that have had to bear the brunt of the pandemic. We definitely have no dearth of work or business. But that said, it is also important to note that developing and creating content in these restrictive circumstances is a real challenge.

At Toonz, our studios obviously had to be shut for a while owing to government and public health protocols. However, there were production deadlines and other commitments to meet. So, we took up a massive asset transfer operation to shift the machines of our artists from the studios to their homes.

We are striving hard to ensure that none of our projects are affected by the situation. We have a well formulated business continuity plan in place, so we are prepared to meet any unforeseen disruption.

In terms of growth, prior to the pandemic we had a healthy year-on-year growth rate of 25-30%. Our expectations for 2020 were naturally very high. But owing to the pandemic our growth projections had to be curtailed. However, we did not go into the negative rate of growth.

Even though there has been no loss of business, there were some project delays mostly owing to remote working and disruption in creative collaboration. There have been some cashflow issues too.

One of the major areas that got affected is our live action studio Telegael. However, we are positive that we will bounce back with our new ventures Ri8Brain – an e-learning platform, and a health app for kids that we are developing.

Toonz has always been an innovator. You adapt quickly according to the curation needs. What are some of the new visual innovations in the animation space today?

We basically adapt and innovate based on the requirements of the script and our co-production partners. We try to make each of our projects unique in terms of visual treatment and aesthetics.

The idea is to follow and adapt the latest trends internationally and also take inspiration from Indian folk arts and legends, depending on the treatment of the story. For example, we recently developed a new show for ETV’s newly launching kids channel, which has Madhubani art motifs throughout. For another movie called A Many Splintered Thing, we followed a graphic novel kind of treatment.

In terms of improving the technical aspects of our shows and films, we keep ourselves up-to-date with the latest technological tools in animation, especially CGI. We currently use V-Ray and Arnold, which is the latest render engine available for 3D animation. We are soon going to include in our pipeline game engines like Unreal and Unity to achieve real-time rendering.

Toonz has been a regular visitor to major global animation markets. How has been your collaboration experience? Has the global market satisfied you (as a delegate) in providing platforms to engage in business?

As far as the distribution side of the business is concerned, the pandemic has caused a notable disruption. With all the major markets and conferences going virtual, most of the business interactions are happening over video calls and online pitches. We did alter our sales and marketing strategy to remain agile with the changing trends in the market, both with respect to content preferences and reinventing our marketing tools and processes.

Toonz’s distribution wing, Imira Entertainment, is one of Europe’s leading production and distribution companies based out of Madrid. Imira specializes in kids and youth programming with focus on the European, US, Latin American, Asian and African markets. Apart from our own IPs and co-productions, we have a vast catalogue of titles, across genres that we offer in these markets.

Many of these titles are available in multiple language dubs. Our distribution and sales teams have strong relationships with broadcasters and OTTs alike. We have regional sales teams with unparalleled relationships and knowledge to cater to specific markets. Being a well-recognized brand we are often able to close pre-sales of our productions much before the shows are released.

The pandemic has essentially compelled us to think global in every aspect. Even though physically we might be forced to stay put at home, from a practical point of view, it has brought the world closer through collaboration and technology.

The virtual markets definitely do not have the charm or convenience of physical events. But there are some obvious benefits in terms of markets become truly global and accessible, and the budget savings. A lot of innovation has gone behind creating virtual markets. But it might be too premature to evaluate them or even compare them to physical markets. But as an industry, we are trying to make the most of the situation.

Do you see a need for physical meetings going forward? Or a mix of physical and digital…

It is going to be a mix of physical and digital.

What are the focus areas of Toonz Animation Studios in these challenging times?

The highpoint for Toonz in the past year has been the wonderful collaborations we were able to make with some of the biggest names in kids entertainment. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, Toonz has been able to forge partnerships for new projects from across the globe from illustrious creators like Keith Chapman, Olivier Jean-Marie, James Driscoll and Janet Hubert.

We also entered into partnerships for new shows with some great studios and production houses such as Italy’s Rainbow S.p.A and London-based Nucleus Media Rights.

We are co-producing highly anticipated animation features with leading production houses like Highland Films, Exodus Film Group and Cinema Management Group. With the latter we are co-producing the first ever English animation feature of Oscar Wilde’s popular short story ‘The Canterville Ghost’.  All in all, Toonz has been able to strengthen its global clientele in 2020, garnering opportunities to produce specialized, high quality content.

In the last one year, Toonz Animation produced 5,000 minutes of 2D and 3,000 minutes of 3D animation content. We have in our pipeline several exciting projects. And we are proud to say that all of them have extremely diverse and relevant content that uphold universal values. Like I said earlier, we are collaborating with many renowned creators, like Keith Chapman with whom we are doing an interactive pre-school series titled Paddypaws & Pals.

Another one is a value-oriented show called JG & the BC Kids in partnership with veteran American actress Janet Hubert. The show, which inspires kids to embrace differences, is also entirely driven by a multi-cultural team.

Another marquee project currently under production at Toonz is Sunny-side Billy, a very colorful and upbeat 2D animation pre-school series about fun and positivity.

The creative heads behind this project are none other than celebrated animators like Olivier Jean-Marie and Jan Van Rijsselberge of Oggy and the Cockroaches and Robotboyfame. We are co-producing this series in association with the French studio Tractor.

Toonz is also partnering with Russia’s oldest and most prestigious studio Soyuzmult for a brand new alien CGI called Aliens in my backpack. This project comes from Rob Lee and James Driscoll, creators of BAFTA nominated World Award winning titles like The Shoe People.

Apart from that, we also recently signed up with major US girl-centric, STEM-focused toycoGoldieblox to develop an animated series titled Glodlieblox and Friends. This MIPTV season we are also launching in the market season one of the pre-school series Zoonicorn, based on the famous plush toy brand of the same name.

You have been a major supporter of small and medium animation outlets. What damages have they suffered due to the pandemic? How do we bring them back to the fold?

For small studios cashflow had been a major problem these past months. Many had to be either shut down and go for steep salary cuts to keep themselves afloat. The situation has been more or less the same for small businesses in all other industries, and not just animation. However, we have tried to support those studios that have been our long-time partners and those that delivered high quality work to us.

We have gone that extra mile by relaxing payment norms so that their cashflow issue could be eased a bit. But there is a limit to which we can support small studios at this level. At a larger level, we have been lobbying in industry and trade bodies as well as approaching government authorities to develop schemes to support small studios.

There is no running away from the fact that small businesses have borne the brunt of this pandemic. In the case of animation, the pressure has been tremendous on smaller studios to stay afloat.

Even as vaccination is being rolled out globally, how can we protect jobs in the animation space during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Talent has always been a key aspect for this industry, and nurturing and grooming new talent remains a priority. As mentioned before, there is no dearth of business or opportunities in the content creation industry owing to the pandemic.

Jobs are there and new jobs are being created across the board. In the post-pandemic era, we foresee a greater demand for artists and creative professionals who can swiftly adapt to changing circumstances.

There would be a higher demand for professionals who not only have a keen sense of creativity but are also constantly upskilling their knowledge of relevant technology. This includes areas like CGI animation, application-based animations for sectors like film making, entertainment media production, edutainment, gaming, medicine, defense, VR/AR, architecture, interior design and commercials.

Toonz spearheaded the launch of an online learning platform dedicated to animation and creative arts in order to mould new talents in the field. Can you share some of the details?

Ri8Brain is an online education arm of Toonz Media Group, dedicated to learning of creative art forms. Ri8Brain is a highly agile ed-tech initiative that aims to redefine the traditional pedagogy. This online platform focuses on collaborative teaching, providing greater impetus to hands-on, experience-based quality learning for early starters as well as seasoned learners. Ri8Brain will carry over the legacy of Toonz Academy, with a modern and technological twist to it.

The vision of Ri8Brain is to transform the lives of creative minds and artists across the world by honing their talent and upskilling them.

The techno-creative industry is booming globally, and with the right skill set and talent, one can pursue a very rewarding and creatively satisfying career in this industry. This is exactly what Ri8Brain will be facilitating for aspirants.

Ri8Brain works in two modes: Explore – for early starters; and Excel courses – for amateur artists, aspiring creative professionals as well as young and experienced professionals.

India has not been able to scale up to capture the global animation stories market. We are still at the tip of the iceberg. What do you think we lack and what will make us a global player in this market?

I think what we lack primarily is the skill of global storytelling as well as exposure. If you look at Hollywood or other Western industries, they take very simple concepts with universal themes and values and then market it amazingly. Their stories transcend boundaries and have global appeal.

I think that is what is lacking here and perhaps that is what we should do in order to scale up and strengthen our global footprint in animation. However, this needs to be done not just for animation, which is part of a larger ecosystem.

Even for live action, we largely see highly localized content that would not fit into the context of a global audience. To say it plainly, we are not exactly making films for global consumption. And I don’t think that is an anomaly. Just that if our aim is to create global hits, our storytellers need to tell stories which have universal appeal.

Also countries like the US have a history of 100 years in animation, whereas our industry is just over two decades old. So it may not be entirely fair to compare. However, we will reach there soon.

The Indian animation industry is very robust and fast growing. We have scaled up significantly in the last two decades. We progressed from an outsourcing destination to an IP creating industry. It is only a matter of time that we conquer the global arena.

Toonz’ Animation Masters Summit has brought together some of the brightest minds all these years. How has the Animation Masters Summit 2021 digital edition  shaped? 

Animation Masters Summit (AMS) 2021 will be held from May 4 to May 8. This time again, we are conducing it virtually because of the prevailing circumstances. In the 2020 edition, we had the privilege of having some of the biggest and brightest stars in the industry as speakers.

We had masters like Disney editor Fabienne Rawley (Zootopia); veteran Indian cinematographer Ravi K Chandran (Virasat, Dil Chahta Hai,  Black, Kannathil Muthamittal, etc); renowned Bollywood composer Shantanu Moitra (Parineeta, Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi, Lage Raho Munnabhai, etc.); and Quentin Staes-Polet, gaming expert and General Manager India and SEA, Epic Games.

This time again we have a stellar speaker line-up that includes legendary ad guru Rahul daCunha, Academy Award-winning screenwriter Meg LeFauve (Inside Out, Captain Marvel, My Father’s Dragon), licensing and merchandising master Jiggy George, Hollywood music composer Vidjay Beerpot and award-winning animation director and producer Saraswathi Balgam.

The theme for the 2021 edition is ‘Embracing Diversity: Finding Beauty in Our Differences.’ We will also have two panel discussions—one on diversity in content and the industry—and the other around education technology and the scope of animation in e-learning.

 


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Ketan Mehta, Nina Sabnani To be honoured at Animation Masters Summit 2021

admin   May 5, 2021

Organised by Toonz Media Group, the virtual Summit will be held from May 4 to 8, 2021, over the Zoom platform

Veteran filmmaker, media entrepreneur and Indian animation industry pioneer Ketan Mehta and artist, filmmaker and art academic Prof. Nina Sabnani will be honoured at the 2021 edition of Animation Masters Summit.

Organised by Toonz Media Group, the virtual Summit will be held from May 4 to 8, 2021, over the Zoom platform.

Nina Sabnani, who teaches at the IDC School of Design, at IIT Bombay, is one of the first women artists to foray into the field of animation in India

Hailed as a brilliant visual storyteller and recipient of several national and international awards, she received the National Award for Best Animation Film for her film Hum Chitra Banate Hai.

A Fulbright Fellow, Prof. Sabnani has also done extensive research in the areas of Folklore, Visual Ethnography, Participatory Filmmaking and learning pedagogies of traditional artists, among others.

She is also the author of several books on traditional art and design and has been acclaimed for her documentaries and short-films including The Stitches Speak (Tanko Bole Chhe), Baat Wahi Hai (It’s the Same Story) and Mukand and Riaz.

In 2018 she received the lifetime achievement award (BLBA) for Illustration from Tata Trusts at the Tata Lit Live Festival at Mumbai.

She will be awarded the Legend of Indian Animation Award at Animation Masters Summit 2021.

Ketan Mehta is the founder of Maya Academy — best known for popular animation IPs like Motu Patlu, Kisna, Vir- the robot boy, Een-Meena-Deeka

Ketan Mehta, best known for award winning films like Bhavni Bhavai (Gujarati), Mirch Masala, Maya Memsab, Mangal Pandey, Holi and Sardar (all Hindi), is the founder of Maya Academy of Advanced Cinematics and Cosmos Maya Studios.

Maya Academy is best known for popular animation IPs like Motu Patlu, Kisna, Vir- the robot boy, Een- Meena-Deeka, etc.

Mehta is a recipient of the French Government’s “The officer of the realm of Arts and Literature’ award. He will be awarded the Special Contribution to Indian Animation Industry Award for his overall contributions to the industry.

Both the awards will be presented at the inaugural session of the Summit on May 4.

According to P Jayakumar, CEO – Toonz Media Group, “Every year at Animation Masters Summit we give away the Legend Award to a legendary animation master in recognition of their life-long contribution to Indian Animation. Prof Nina Sabnani is one of the most revered figures in Indian animation today. She is like a guru to all of us in the fraternity. As a pioneering woman animator, she is also an inspiration for hundreds of young women who aspire to join this industry.”

He added: “Mr Ketan Mehta, who is being awarded the Special Contribution Award, has helped put the Indian animation community on the global map by founding one of the most successful animation studios in India. He also played a significant role in fostering new talent by establishing the Maya Academy.” The five-day Animation Masters Summit will include sessions by a galaxy of stalwarts from diverse fields of media and entertainment across the world.

Legendary Indian filmmaker Subhash Ghai will deliver the keynote address at the inaugural session of the Summit.

Master sessions in the following days will be led by renowned artists and creators including legendary ad guru Rahul daCunha, best known for spearheading the Amul ad campaign, one of the longest running ad campaigns in the country.

The Summit will also have two panel discussions – one on the scope of animation in Education Technology (EdTech) and the another curated by Animation World Network (AWN) focussing on diversity in the kids entertainment industry.

Delegates can register for the event for free by logging on to http://www.animationsummit.in


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Masters to Speak Out at Animation Masters Summit 2021

admin   May 5, 2021

Screenwriter Meg LeFauve, Music composer Vidjay Beerepoot, Licensing and Merchandising expert Jigy George, Advertising veteran Rahul daCunha & Writer, director & creative producer Vani Saraswathi Balgam are the five ‘masters’ for the Animation Masters Summit 2021 edition organised by Toonz Media Group

Masters of animation industry will share their thoughts and speak their mind out at the 2021 edition of Animation Masters Summit.

Screenwriter Meg LeFauve, Music composer Vidjay Beerepoot, Licensing and Merchandising expert Jigy George, Advertising veteran Rahul daCunha and Writer, director and creative producer Vani Saraswathi Balgam are the five ‘masters’ for the 2021 edition.

Oscar nominated, Annie Award-winning screenplay writer Meg LeFauve holds the writing credits for some of the most popular animation features of our times. Marvel’s blockbuster Captain Marvel, Pixar hits Inside Out and The Good Dinosaur to name just a few.

Meg began her film career as a producer and President of Egg Pictures, where she produced Emmy and Golden Globe nominated films. A storyteller par excellence, Meg has taught at the American Film Institute and served as co-chair of the Graduate Producers Program at University of California’s School of Film and Television, where she taught master level story and development classes for several years.

Vidjay Beerpoot is the man behind the soulful score of the new animation feature Ainbo and the edgy soundscape of Netflix’s The Little Vampire 3D.

Adopted from India and brought up in the Netherlands, Vidjay has gone through an interesting creative journey through different cultures all the way to Hollywood. Today, based in Los Angeles, he composes music for movies, TV shows and video games all over the world, including for Disney, Netflix, Universal Pictures, Warner Brothers, Sony and Nickelodeon.

Jiggy George began his career as a designer and then went on to work with some of the top media and entertainment brands, right from MTV and Pogo to Viacom and Times of India.

Throughout his career, Jiggy George deftly balanced the ‘ying’ and ‘yang’ of creativity and commerce, achieving what very few in the industry can boast of – an undying passion for creativity, coupled with a nuanced understanding of management. Today, Jiggy is a successful entrepreneur and founder of Dream Theatre, one of India’s leading brand management and licensing companies.

From award-winning commercials to the country’s longest running ad campaign, ad man Rahul daCunha’s portfolio is formidable, to say the least. Working with some of the biggest and oldest brands in India, Rahul mastered the art of snugly positioning brands in the public psyche through immensely relatable, riveting campaigns.

Most notable being the campaign for Amul, widely adored for its subtle, superbly-timed social commentary. But advertising is only one side of this creative genius. As a theatre artist, Rahul has worked on some avant-garde productions as a director and playwright. His plays have travelled across the world from Australia to USA.

Vani Saraswathi Balgam started associating with the animation industry at a time when the rest of us would have just started watching animation. Thanks to her dad, who started an independent 2D animation studio out of their home, Vani grew up in an exhilarating creative environment throughout her childhood.

Starting with painting, photography and amateur film-making as a teenager, she went on to establish a successful career in animation. She worked as the Head of Creative Management for DreamWorks Animation in Shanghai and as Executive Director of Rhythm & Hues studio in India. She managed the teams of artists and technicians that created the VFX and digital characters in Academy Award- winning movies like Life of Pi, The Golden Compass and The Chronicles of Narnia.

Organised by Toonz Media Group, the virtual Summit will be held from May 4 to 8, 2021, over the Zoom platform.

At the inaugural session, the welcome speech will be delivered by P Jayakumar, CEO, Toonz Media Group. This will be followed by a keynote address by filmmaker and founder of Whistling Woods Films Institute Subash Ghai.

Then comes the felicitation and AMS Awards declaration by Ashish Kulkarni, FICCI Chairman for Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming and Comic Forum.

Prof Nina Sabnani, winner of the Legend of Indian Animation Award at Animation Masters Summit 2021 and Ketan Mehta, winner of Special Contribution to Indian Animation Industry Award for his overall contributions to the industry, will deliver the acceptance speech.

On Day 2, the Ed Tech panel discussion to start at 10 am IST will have Ashish Kulkarni as moderator. The panelists are Dhimant Vyas, Chief Creative Director, Byjus, Dr M Srinivasan, Founder, GEAR Foundation, Prerna Jhunjhunwala, Founder, Little Paddington and Creative Galileo and Sasikumar Pillai, Executive Director, Toonz Education Services. From 11.30, there will be an in conversation session with Rahul daCunha.

While Day 3 will have an in conversation session with MegLeFauve and session by Jiggy George, Day 4 will have sessions by Vidjay Beerepoot and Vani Saraswathi Balgam.

On the last day of the summit, there will be an AWN panel discussion. Dan Sarto will be the moderator, and Monica Lago Kaytis, Co-Founder, Rise Up Animation, Bryan Dimas, LatinX in Animation, LXiA Co-Founder and Co-Director, Jinko Gotoh, Vice President, Women in Animation and Mansi Darbar-VP, Corporate Strategy and Development, IN10 Media will be the panelists. This will be followed by Ri8brain launch.

Animation Masters Summit (AMS) is an annual event celebrated by Toonz Media Group, a leading name in animation and Kids & Family Entertainment. Established in 1999 as the first ever animation event in India called “Week with the Masters”, it was recently renamed as Animation Masters Summit (AMS).

Animation Masters Summit celebrates the beautiful art of animation, bringing talents and experts from around the global animation Industry to interact with aspiring young talents. The event also offers a platform for masters to offer inspirations and insights on what it takes to create, connect and drive engaging content in this invigorating new entertainment era.


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Animation Masters Summit 2021 to Honour Ketan Mehta & Nina Sabnani

admin   April 28, 2021

Veteran filmmaker, media entrepreneur and Indian animation industry pioneer Ketan Mehta and artist, filmmaker and art academic Prof. Nina Sabnani will be honoured at the 2021 edition of Animation Masters Summit. Organised by Toonz Media Group, the virtual Summit will be held from May 4 to 8, 2021, over the Zoom platform.

Sabnani, who teaches at the IDC School of Design, at IIT Bombay, is one of the first women artists to foray into the field of animation in India.

Hailed as a brilliant visual story-teller and recipient of several national and international awards, she received the National Award for Best Animation Film for her film Hum Chitra Banate Hai.

A Fulbright Fellow, Prof. Sabnani has also done extensive research in the areas of Folklore, Visual Ethnography, Participatory Film-making and learning pedagogies of traditional artists, among others.

She is also the author of several books on traditional art and design and has been acclaimed for her documentaries and short-films including The Stitches Speak (Tanko Bole Chhe), Baat Wahi Hai (It’s the Same Story) and Mukand and Riaz.

In 2018 she received the lifetime achievement award (BLBA) for Illustration from Tata Trusts at the Tata Lit Live Festival at Mumbai.

She will be awarded the Legend of Indian Animation Award at Animation Masters Summit 2021.

Ketan Mehta, best known for award-winning films like Bhavni Bhavai (Gujarati), Mirch Masala, Maya Memsab, Mangal Pandey, Holi and Sardar (all Hindi), is the founder of Maya Academy of Advanced Cinematics and Cosmos Maya Studios.

Maya Academy is best known for popular animation IPs like Motu Patlu, Kisna, Vir- the robot boy, Een-Meena-Deeka, etc.

Mehta is a recipient of the French Government’s “The officer of the realm of Arts and Literature’ award. He will be awarded the Special Contribution to Indian Animation Industry Award for his overall contributions to the industry.

Both the awards will be presented at the inaugural session of the Summit on May 4.

According to P Jayakumar, CEO – Toonz Media Group, “Every year at Animation Masters Summit we give away the Legend Award to a legendary animation master in recognition of their life-long contribution to Indian Animation. Prof Nina Sabnani is one of the most revered figures in Indian animation today. She is like a guru to all of us in the fraternity. As a pioneering woman animator, she is also an inspiration for hundreds of young women who aspire to join this industry.”

He added: “Ketan Mehta, who is being awarded the Special Contribution Award, has helped put the Indian animation community on the global map by founding one of the most successful animation studios in India. He also played a significant role in fostering new talent by establishing the Maya Academy.”

The five-day Animation Masters Summit will include sessions by a galaxy of stalwarts from diverse fields of media and entertainment across the world.

Legendary Indian filmmaker Subhash Ghai will deliver the keynote address at the inaugural session of the Summit.

Master sessions in the following days will be led by renowned artists and creators including legendary ad guru Rahul daCunha, best known for spearheading the Amul ad campaign, one of the longest running ad campaigns in the country.

The Summit will also have two panel discussions – one on the scope of animation in Education Technology (EdTech) and the another curated by Animation World Network (AWN) focussing on diversity in the kids entertainment industry.

Delegates can register for the event for free by logging on to http://www.animationsummit.in


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UNESCO, USO India, Toonz tie up for World Water Day Animation Creation

admin   March 19, 2021

This will be done as part of the H2Ooooh! – Waterwise Program for school students conducted in partnership with National Mission for Clean Ganga, United Schools Organization India (USO India), Water Digest magazine and India-based global animation major Toonz Media Group.

The countrywide water conservation awareness programme was aimed at school students between the age of 6-14 years, who submitted story ideas for animation short films to create awareness on the rising issue of water crisis in India.

As many as 93 shortlisted students, including eight differently-abled children, underwent training by Toonz Animation mentors as part of the programme.

The students were shortlisted after multiple screenings from a total of 17,000 participants from 43 schools across the country. The one-week training by Toonz Animation introduced the students to the basics of 2D animation including script writing, character sketching and storyboarding.

Says Eric Falt, UNESCO New Delhi Director, “We thank all our partners for this unique initiative, through which we hope children learned about the importance of water, which has enormous value for households, food, culture, health, education, economics and the integrity of our natural environment.”

According to Toonz Media Group CEO, P Jayakumar, “It is an immense privilege for Toonz to partner with UNESCO and USO for this highly creative initiative, that too for such a noble cause. We are happy to interact with the young talents and help them learn the basic nuances of animation. We hope to create excitement among them for water conservation through this beautiful medium.”

Nina Jain, Secretary General – USO India, states, “USO is extremely pleased to be part of this unique program for school students. H2Ooooh! is a creative and innovative way to learn about a subject that is of paramount importance to all of us – water. And, experiencing it through the lens of the students, was truly an eye- opening experience for us.”

During the first phase of the programme in September 2020, the participating schools screened 24 animation videos, both in English and Hindi, on different water issues.

The videos, originally developed by UNESCO Venice, were translated to Hindi by UNESCO New Delhi. Other resource tools included discussions and quizzes based on educational materials specially developed by UNESCO to help students develop a deeper understanding of issues on water resources.

In the second phase implemented in December 2020 a competition was initiated in the schools to pick top ideas and cartoon submissions. Out of the 2000 students who participated in the qualifier round, the final 93 were selected for training by Toonz. The students who underwent training submitted storyboards on water conservation ideated by them.

Out of this, three storyboards were selected to be produced as animated campaign videos on conservation of water and its sustainable use. The videos will be made available on the UNESCO India website as well as on all partner websites post the release. All the students who made it to the shortlist will be awarded special prizes by UNESCO.


Animation Co-Production Projects by Screenyug Creations Pvt.Ltd.

admin   March 17, 2021

Seeking Co-Production partners at TIFF

Amazing Kids

Abacus is challenged by an evil alien to solve a maze, failing which the alien would wipe out an element from earth. Abacus solves the maze with his wisdom and help from his close friends who accompany him on each of his quest.

26 episodes x 22 min
Animation
Pilot ready for Production

DETAILS

Producer/s: Anand Pandey

Director/s: Anand Pandey

Estimated Budget: USD 9 Mn

Email: anandpandey.in@gmail.com

CIRCUS

After the last circus been closed down, Pintu, a 11 year old kid and his grandfather were on the streets along with few of their pets, while other animals were donated to the zoo. but he soon learned that it was not the governing laws but a evil smuggler who intend to sell these animals to a rich hobbyist in gulf. Pintu is now on a mission to save his animal friends and revive the circus of his dreams.

90 min feature film
Animation
Script ready for Production

DETAILS

Producer/s: Ashish S K

Director/s: Anand Pandey

Estimated Budget: USD 2 Mn

Email: ashishk66@gmail.com

MARY KOM JR

Mary Kom Jr is an 8 year boxing champion who owns a pair of magical boxing gloves. Mary Kom and her team – Onir, Mona and their coach Master Oja – travel to various exotic and fictional destinations in India and around the world to take part in boxing competitions. During these adventurous journeys, they encounter several dangerous situations and many powerful enemies of all kinds, shapes and sizes. Mary Kom battles all these villains and outsmarts their vicious plans with the help of her amazing magical gloves which can take any shape, grow to any size and enable her to perform superhuman feats. However, the gloves acquire their magical powers only when there is real and immediate danger – upon which they automatically sense Mary Kom’s thoughts and transform themselves into a weapon, vehicle or gadget of her choice. The rest of the time, they are just a normal pair of ordinary boxing gloves.

52 episodes x 11 min
Animation
Pilot ready for Production

DETAILS

Producer/s: Ashish S K

Director/s: Vikram Veturi

Estimated Budget: USD 9 Mn

Email: screenmentors@gmail.com

Phone/Whatsapp: +91 97650 41999

Screenyug Creations Pvt.Ltd.

Company/Studio: Screenyug Creations Pvt.Ltd.

Phone/Whatsapp: +91 9326802288

Website: http://www.screenyug.in

VGC industry veteran Ashish SK is founder of ScreenYug Creations. He says the Audiovisual Co-Production Treaty between India and Canada can do a lot of magic in the entertainment business.


Kabuliwala – Man From Kabul by Paperboat Design Studios

admin   September 14, 2020

Seeking Co-Production partners at TIFF

Kabuliwala – Man From Kabul

Mini is always living in a dream world. Her reality, however, is quite different. Her parents are preoccupied with work and they can hardly give any time to Mini leaving her with no option but to play with her dreary dolls. In a chance encounter, she meets a big burly dry-fruit seller from Kabul. Initially she is intimidated by his appearance but his brilliantly mirrored shoulder bag fascinates her and when he magically pulls out a gorgeous Arabian horse from it, little Mini is mesmerised. Soon she realizes that Kabuliwala, a refugee having relocated to Kolkata, carries the most astonishing stories in his bag. Fascinating stories from far away lands – of courage, of compassion, wit and ingenuity. An intimate bond develops between the two and the most unlikely friends become inseparable. Then, a devastating accident separates them for 15 years. When they reunite, Mini comes to know of Kabuliwala’s tragic past – of incessant wars and his daughter Amina. Based on Tagore’s classic short story, this animated film, underlines that beyond geographical boundaries, religion, race and culture, the true essence of our existence is shared humanity – a thought that is most essential in today’s world of rising conflicts.

75 MIN
Animation Feature
Pre-Production

DETAILS

Producer: Paperboat Design Studios

Director: Soumitra Ranade

Budget: 4 Million USD

Studio: Paperboat Design Studios

Trailer link: http://www.vimeo.com/221087621

Email: soumitra@paperboatstudios.co

Phone: +91 9821070395

Website: http://www.paperboatstudios.co

Paperboat Design Studios

Co-founded by Soumitra Ranade, Paperboat team have combined intelligence and innovation to design and deliver the finest expressions of quality. One of the top-class animation studios from India, who have also recently set-up a studio in Toronto


Kim by Maya Digital Studios Pvt Ltd

admin   September 14, 2020

Seeking Co-Production partners at TIFF

Kim

KIM is the orphan son of a disgraced British soldier who has survived by his wits on the streets of Lahore for as long as he can remember. His vagabond life takes an unexpected turn when he meets TESHOO, a Buddhist/ Shaolin monk from over the Northern mountains who is journeying across India to discover the mythical River of the Arrow. It is said that a dip in this river leads to enlightenment. Kim agrees to aid the strange holy man in his quest. As they traverse the country, they are sucked into “the Great Game” of power being played by the many nations seeking to control India and its resources. When his lineage is revealed to a British Army Colonel, Kim is taken from Teshoo by the British, who, seeing how clever and cunning Kim is, train him to be a spy in service of the Empire. Kim’s allegiance to the Brits and his monk come to a head in a fight for the future of India that ends with Kim and Teshoo preventing a bloody war and finding the sacred river…

90 mins
Action Adventure
Pilot in Production

DETAILS

Producer/s: Cosmos Animation Singapore Pte ltd

Director/s: Ketan Mehta

Estimated Budget: USD 12 Mn

Studio: Maya Digital Studios Pvt Ltd

Email: joris.eckelkamp@cosmos-maya.com

Phone/Whatsapp: +49 172 9295499

Maya Digital Studios Pvt Ltd

Founded by internationally acclaimed Indian filmmakers Ketan Mehta and Deepa Sahi, Cosmos-Maya is a Singapore and India based Animation Company that produces high quality 3D as well as 2D animation content.


Jungle Trouble by Green Gold Animation

admin   September 14, 2020

Seeking Co-Production partners at TIFF

Jungle Trouble

Four carefree and (mostly) quick- witted primitive animals fight to keep a high tech hypochondriac bird and her rhinoceros security guard from kicking them out and turning their idyllic jungle home into a condominium development. LUCKY THE RABBIT, BORO THE BEAR, JUBRO THE GORILLA AND LIBBY THE PIG are four quirky and quick-witted animals living in a muddy, leech infested jungle paradise. The creatures think things are just fine the way they are, so when the technophile bird COLONEL CRAYTON and her security specialist RHINO RON fly in with the intent to turn their shambolic Shangri La into a colourless copse of condominiums, the jungle animals are going to have to use every method at their disposal to keep the crafty Colonel from kicking them our and ruining their home. The jungle creatures may not be as technologically sophisticated as the Colonel, but they always know just what rudimentary tools to use to beat the hunters at their own games.

11 min x 52
Animated Comedy
Pilot

DETAILS

Producer/s: Green Gold Animation

Director/s: Rajiv Chilaka & Marc Lumer

Company/Studio: Green Gold Animation Pvt Ltd

Trailer link: https://vimeo.com/392452492

Email: bharath@greengold.tv

Phone/Whatsapp: +91 9949995822

Website: http://www.greengold.tv

Green Gold Animation

Rajiv Chilaka’s Green Gold Animation began its journey in 2008 on Cartoon Network’s Pogo. Chhota Bheem and its different avatars have transcended cultural and geographical boundaries to gain love and acceptance from across the globe. Little Bheem became the top preschool title globally on Netflix. Bheem today is a loving part of homes across 190 countries.


Animation Co-Production Projects by Graphiti

admin   September 14, 2020

Seeking Co-Production partners at TIFF

Kul Veera

Kul Veera is the story of five princes in waiting who are training at the most exclusive academy of the land together with their bitter rivals. Before becoming the legendary heroes of the classic Indian epic, Mahabharata, they were just teenagers each of whom dreamed of becoming Kul Veera, the hero of the clan. Kul Veera theatrical short was co-developed and co produced with Carton Network Asia as a part of Snaptoons program. It was the top rated short of the program.

90 minutes
Pilot Completed
Animation

Details

Producer: Munjal Shroff

Director: Tilak Shetty

Trailer link: https://vimeo.com/manage/376521317/general

World of OO

The World of OO – is Baby’s busy box, it has been co-developed by Honest Entertainment and Graphiti. Babies will love it. Moms and Dads will even like it too. The World of OO is simple and lovely to look at. Here is a little rectangle of life in motion brought to you by small and entertaining friends. It is funny, active, spontaneous, tender and sweet. The sounds, rhythms and beats of life will engage the ears – MUSIKAZOO. Colorful scenes with familiar shape and characters that literally pop out taking the babies on a visual adventures – PEEKABOO. Bouncing baby kangaroos jump from Ma’s pouch to chase a baby bunny and imitate its bounce – SKIPTOMAROO. Little monkey friends see and try to do what babies can. BABY ‘SEZ’ and MONKEY- DOO.

26 x 22 mins & 104 x 6 mins
Animation
Pilot

Details

Producers: Munjal Shroff & Joanna Ferrone

Director: Munjal Shroff

Writers: Joanna Ferrone & James Occhino

YOM

Meet YOM – a yoga-master supersleuth, who kicks butt with his awesome animal powers. Yom seems like a regular kid – he avoids homework, loves gadgets and gleefully outsmarts the school bully. But… every time Yom strikes a yoga pose that is based on a particular animal…he gains that animal’s powers! He can swoop like an eagle, track scent like a dog, or even swim like a fish! However, to his horror…he also absorbs the animal’s weaknesses! Yom grapples with his unique powers to battle dastardly villains and keep his town safe. The series is airing on Disney Channel India since May 2017 and also available on Netflix in major territories in North America, UK, Australia, New Zealand and Indian sub-continent. It already has 20 million viewers in India on Disney Channel

52 x 11mins
Animation
Completed- Season 1.
Seeking Partner for SEASON 2

Details

Producers: Munjal Shroff & Tilak Shetty

Directors: Munjal Shroff & Tilak Shetty

Graphiti

Studio: Graphiti

email: munjal@graphiti.net

Phone: +91 9821148757

Website: http://www.graphiti.net

Munjal Shroff, Director & COO, Graphiti Multimedia is a veteran in the animation space and has developed world-class animation properties