Virtual Victory for Animation Masters Summit

admin   July 28, 2020

It was a very unique experience as Toonz had never conducted a virtual event before. Everything was planned and executed in about a month’s time, says Hiranmayi Narayanan, Festival Director, Animation Masters Summit 2020 hosted by Toonz Media Group

Toonz Media Group has had an unwavering commitment towards the art of animation, and has relentlessly strived to further the growth of animation in India. It is as part of this mission that Toonz conceptualized Animation Masters Summit. The first edition of this event was held 21 years back soon after the establishment of Toonz in 1999. The event has grown and transformed itself into a major platform for not just animation, but for the entire entertainment industry to converge, celebrate and promote diverse art forms as well as artists.

The five-day event (July 20-24) had sessions by masters from various fields in the media and entertainment industry across the world. This includes senior cinematographer Ravi K Chandran, who is famous for the works in movies like Virasat, Black, Dil Chahta Hai, and Kannathil Muthamittal, to name a few. National Award-winning composer Shantanu Moitra is also taking another session.

Academy Award-winning character animator Sajan Skaria, who worked in movies like Finding Nemo, Inside Out, ACE Eddie award winner Fabienne Rawley (Zootopia fame), animation director, and illustrator Chris Appelhans and Cinzia Angelini, a freelance animator and story artist, was also be part of the master sessions.

For the first time in two decades, Animation Masters Summit was virtually organised by TOONZ amid Covid-19 Pandemic? How was the experience?

It was a very unique experience as Toonz had never conducted a virtual event before. We did not have a lengthy planning phase. Everything was planned and executed in about a month’s time. The organizing team worked meticulously with passion and dedication. We paid close attention to details and also had a strategy for managing any unexpected circumstances. In the end, the Summit turned out to be better than we had expected and we’re both proud and humbled by that. Our speakers were amazing and they contributed towards the success of the Summit.

You had successfully managed to bring India and North America with prized masters? How did you manage timings?

While bringing in speakers from North America/Europe, there is always a challenge of time-zone differences. For any North American speaker, sessions were scheduled for 9:00 am or 9:30 am Indian time, which is about 9:00 pm in California. To us, this was the only time that seemed neither too early for the Asian audience nor too late for the speakers/American audience.

The most touching part was Legend of Indian Animation award to Arnab Chaudhuri…

Arnab Chaudhuri has been a twotime Master at our Summit (1999 and 2016). Toonz has also worked with him in various capacities. His creative vision remains a very integral part of Toonz and the entire creative fraternity. His passing away in December 2019 came as a shock to the entire media community and the loss is irreplaceable. He is a true legend and we wanted to honour him in a befitting manner by conferring the Legend of Indian Animation award this year on him posthumously. His family graciously accepted this gesture. Through this award, we hope to keep his creative spirit and his great work alive.

Who are the Masters that attracted the audience the most?

This year’s line-up of Masters and speakers was excellent and each one is a real veteran in their field. Therefore we had more or less the same number of audience members tuning in for all the sessions.

Will some of the AMS sessions be available online — especially for students and also for practitioners?

As of now, the highlights of sessions are available on the social media handles of Animation Masters Summit as well as Toonz Media Group.

Tell us more about the online education initiative VIZDEM announced by Toonz in the inaugural?

This is an online education platform dedicated to creative art forms. Besides animation, motion graphics, VFX, etc for college level students and professionals; fine arts courses like painting, sketching etc will be offered for school students via Vizdem Junior. This is a joint initiative of Toonz and Bangalore-based Native Puppets – an online animation academy. The USP of Vizdem is mentors who are all professionals or ex masters from the industry and one-on-one mentoring for students. The Vizdem app is being currently developed and will be launched in the near future.


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Nuggets From Animation Thought Leaders

admin   July 21, 2020

The 21st edition of Animation Masters Summit, loaded with multiple sessions attended by industry experts, also saw noted animation director Arnab Chaudhuri posthumously getting conferred with the Legend of Animation Award 2020

The five-day Animation Masters Summit (July 20-24) was organized by the Toonz Media Group. Speaking at the inaugural session, Anuradha Aggarwal, head of Infotainment and Kids, Star India, now owned by Disney, said three crucial aspects that could act as game-changers for the creative industry today are people, technology and quality.

“We strongly believe in the swirling interplay of art and technology. Young people today are creating fantastic content. If they also make use of the right technology, sky is the limit,” she said.

Noted animation director Arnab Chaudhuri was posthumously conferred with the Legend of Animation Award 2020 at the 21st edition of Animation Masters Summit. 

The award was presented for his invaluable contribution to the animation and entertainment industry of India. Arnab Chaudhuri’s wife Ashima Chaudhuri and brother Sudeep Chaudhuri symbolically accepted the award at the inaugural session from Anuradha Aggarwal. The ‘Legend of Animation’ award was instituted by the Toonz Media Group (TMG) as part of the Animation Masters Summit (AMS) 2020.

Anuradha Aggarwal said, “I have the distinct honor of conferring The Legend of animation award to someone who is known for his creativity and storytelling. Arnab Chaudhuri was a beacon of the Indian animation industry. And while he may not be physically present with us today, he is someone who will live forever in our hearts. He has been very closely associated with us at Disney and was a favourite among his peers and his team. His directorial feature Arjun The Warrior Prince not only won accolades from the Indian audiences but gained recognition across the world. He was a creative genius, who was respected beyond measure for his impeccable talent, skill, and for the wonderful person that he was for his distinguished contribution to the animation and entertainment world. In India, it is my great privilege to confer this award posthumously to Arnab Chaudhuri . He will always be with us in spirit.”

Arnab, who passed away on December 25, 2019, was one of the pioneers of the Indian animation industry, and his animation movie ‘Arjun: The Warrior Prince’ is the only animation from India to date to be longlisted for Oscar awards. He was an alumnus of the National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad, and has worked with leading entertainment organisations like Walt Disney, Turner, and Channel V. Arnab was a true genius who was always ahead of his time.

P Jayakumar, CEO, Toonz Media Group, hoped the summit would be a platform to connect, collaborate and start conversations on forging new ties and creating meaningful content. Toonz would also be soon launching an online learning platform dedicated to animation and creative arts in order to mould new talents in the field,

“Toonz has had an unwavering commitment towards the Art of Animation, and has relentlessly strived to further the growth of animation in India. It is as part of this mission that we conceptualized Animation Masters Summit. The first edition of this event was held 21 years back soon after the establishment of Toonz in 1999. Today, the event has grown and transformed itself into a major platform for not just animation, but for the entire entertainment industry to converge, celebrate and promote diverse  art forms as well as artists.”

He added: “I’m happy to let you all know that Toonz is coming up with a new initiative to promote creative education and moulding new talents in this field. It is an online learning platform dedicated to animation, and creative arts. This platform is being launched by Toonz Academy in association with Bangalore based Native Puppets. Wisdom is basically our response to the changing ecosystem of education and entertainment around the world.”

Speaking on the occasion, Biren Ghose, Country Head, Technicolor India, said even amid current uncertainties, particularly the Covid-19 epidemic, a new narrative of the 21st century was evolving among young creators. “It will be a new language of powerful storytelling that represents our fight back as the human race inspiring the future with the power of young voices”

“Our computer graphics industry has this uncanny mix of creative people, technologists, investors, designers, scientists, and even inevitably, the finance and the business guys who try to make all of this stuff come together in a product or a service. These multiple specialties all contribute to this exciting field of animation,” added Biren Ghose.

Sach Chandaria from the promoter group of Toonz Media spoke at the session. The event was packed with sessions by masters from various fields in the media and entertainment industry across the world. This includes senior cinematographer Ravi K Chandran, who is famous for the works in movies like Virasat, Black, Dil Chahta Hai, and Kannathil Muthamittal, to name a few. National Award-winning composer Shantanu Moitra took another session.