Animation’s Clarion Call

Day 1 of Chitrakatha 2017
23 October

Animation, and design thinking in general, can be harnessed for their capacity to communicate complex issues in a simple way. This was the message from Pradyumna Vyas (Director, National Institute of Design) and Sekhar Mukherjee (Festival Director) on the opening day of Chitrakatha 2017. On their website, Mukherjee states that this festival is “a platform to build a slow and steady awareness across the nation amongst the students, academia, stakeholders and policymakers about the power of design education, with NID’s 50-year legacy of process-driven unlearning culture since 1961 as the backdrop.”

In keeping with this theme, the films and talks presented on Day 1 were a mix of timeless and bold voices, showcasing work done as anthropological recording, as oral histories, graphic narrative as poetic rendering and much more. The very best DNA of a great student festival was on abundant display through these diverse voices and enthusiastic participation.

Taking the call of social engagement ahead was this year’s theme – Afro-Asia. Mukherjee’s aim in choosing this theme is to bring introspection to the cultural linkages between Asia and Africa, especially through the shared history of Gondwana. Talented animators have been invited from Kenya, South Korea, South Africa, Japan, Iran, Nigeria, to present some of their work aligned to this theme.

Apart from these nations, participants have also come from Switzerland, Germany, Scotland, USA, Spain, UK, Bangladesh, Italy, and Belgium. A wonderful sky full of twinkling lights. AllAboutAnimation will be bringing you coverage and chats from as many of these practitioners as possible, over the next few weeks.

Chitrakatha is in its 6th edition, completing 10 years this year. According to Vyas, it has been considered one of the world’s top 5 student animation film festivals (according to Association Internationale du Film d’Animation, ASIFA), A testament to its growing fame and popularity is the fact that the student film competition received over 600 entries this year, coming from 33 countries.

Click here to read an exclusive interview with Sekhar Mukherjee, who for the last 10 years has been driving the Chitrakatha film festival.

Starting off the screenings was Tales of the Tribes, presented by Tara Douglas. Douglas has worked on this film for the last 6 years, charting an arduous, but rewarding path. She assembled a team of animators who went with her to 5 tribes from different parts of India, and taught them to adapt their tribal folktales to animation. This remarkable task was also facilitated by the works of the renowned anthropologist, the Late Verrier Elwin, who appears as an animated version of himself, through the film.

A very powerful presentation was made by Heeseon Kim, aka Sun, a charming and talented animator from South Korea. She presented her film, The River, a jarring visualization of fractured relations between two warring nations (it’s easy to see it refers to the Korean War and its fallout). Overcome with emotion while recounting the experience of interviewing actual victims and survivors of the war’s inhumanity, she moved the entire auditorium into silence with her message.

Neerav Doshi, the excellent compere for the day, also spoke about his journey as an entrepreneur, with his motion and visual design studio, Anicipate. He gave frank and valuable lessons on what wannabe creative entrepreneurs should expect, injecting everything with some humour.

Coming from Switzerland, Michael Kuhni showed everyone his work with comics, starting with his first complete work, Weltuntergang. He demonstrated his experiments with the medium on his website Abwaesser, and also gave a glimpse of some of his latest work, composed right here in Ahmedabad.

And finally, Dhanaraju Swamynathan took the audience on a journey of lesser known gods and goddesses of India through his sketches.

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