March 9, 2014 posted by

The Ultimate Indian Animation Update

Though my fascination with the contemporary Indian animation scene continues – my postings about it will end with this week’s post on Cartoon Research. Jerry will permit me to post further India Updates on his Animation Scoop blog. My future columns here will deal with animation history from Japan, the U.S., anywhere and every where. However, this week I relate three last bits of Indian Animation business, from this past November, as reported on India’s Animation Xpress:


November 26. Krishna aur Kans continues to be in the news. “Reliance Animation’s Animated Feature Film Krishna aur Kans has won the Best Feature Film Award at the Expotoons International Animation festival held in Argentina between 13th to 15th November 2013. Expotoons is the most representative animation Festival in Latin America. A reference for the whole industry: professionals, creative people, producers, animation artists, communication studies, advertising agencies, TV channels, technology companies, animation schools, suppliers and students. Its objective is to spread Animation as a growth engine for cultural and audiovisual industry, creating a space for exchanging trends, technology, knowledge, artistic proposals and experiences from different countries.
The movie was also amongst the top 21 Animated Feature Films qualifying for the first round at the 85th Academy Awards ‘Oscars’ in 2013.”

El Festival Internacional de Animación Expotoons is in Buenos Aires. This was the 7th. I will let Expotoons in Buenos Aires and Anima Mundi in Rio de Janeiro & São Paulo fight it out as to which is “the most representative animation Festival in Latin America.” The news report/press release has more information about other international animation festivals around the world.

“The movie was also nominated in the Feature Film for Children – Competitive at the The 21th edition of the International Animation Festival of Brazil, ANIMA MUNDI 2013, that took place in the two biggest Brazilian cities, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, and traveled through other Brazilian cities afterwards in its ‘on tour’ version. Krishna aur Kans was awarded consolation prize at Anima Mundi 2013. […] A close look at other accolades grabbed by the movie show us that Winner-ASIFA Mumbai Special Jury Award 2012 for Feature Film, Winner-Bhopal International Film Festival 2013 for Best Animated Feature Film ,Winner at Lucknow International Film Festival 2013 for Best Animated Feature Film, Winner-Dadasabeb Phalke Film Festival Noida 2013 For Best Animated Feature Film.”

November 27. “Nikhita Prabhudesai Sweeps the Best Student Category Honors at ASIFA 2013 (INTERVIEW) ‘The Mailbox’ a 7 minute 8 seconds Animation short made by Nikhita Prabhudesai, an Animation Student from MIT Institute of Design, Pune won the Asifa Excellence Award in Best Student – 2D Animated Film at Asifa India 2013.


The storyline of ‘The Mailbox’ revolves around how a local postman gets accused of tampering the mails, due to which he decides to investigate on who is the real culprit behind it. In the process of investigation, the postman gets to know that Francis, a neighbor who tampered letters on daily basis, was very fond of collecting wax seals of different countries as that was the only way of keeping his father’s memories alive.

After knowing this fact, the postman respects the interest of the neighbour, keeps this secret to himself and makes sure Francis receives a letter with a new seal every day.

Speaking to about the concept of ‘The MailBox’, Nikhita, says, ‘Through this Animation Short, I wanted to highlight the importance of friendship, social alienation, loneliness and fear.’

The story has a location set up of Goa, keeping in mind the timeline of post independence phase of the 60′s when people had their families dispersed from Goa due to the freedom struggle, bringing out the depth of feeling ‘left out’.

Sharing about the research work, Nikhita explains, ‘To give out a perfect look and feel of Goa, I spent a month capturing photos of different houses of Margao, Fontainhas/Malla in old Panjim, and Lutolim. This inturn helped me in the form of a reference while finalizing architecture, greenery, lampposts, doors, pavements etc.’ […]

The nature of Mrs. Geeta D’Souza and Mr. Mascarenhas in this short, was finalized after observing the behaviour pattern of a typical Goans specifically who have well settled lives in Goa. ‘The character sketches were colored digitally and experimented on visual development of the animated on paper using different mediums like watercolors, pencils and pens. The backgrounds that are seen in this short are completely hand drawn by pen on paper by digitally coloring it.’, Adds further.

Most of the scenes in the short have a lot of greens and reds as there is a lot of greenary which fills Goa with freshness. As the story progresses towards the rainy scenes, bright and saturated colour pallets were used, to bring out a feel of how everything on the streets gets washed by the rains in the monsoons.
‘Greys, Blues and Purples were used to build up tensed/nervous shots. The mild instrumental beats from ‘The Tumbled Sea’ increases the depth of tensed, thought provoking and eerie moments.’,shares more

Nikhita used different Camera Angles to give detailed visual information to the audience. Closeups in this short gives the audience an opportunity to notice the expressions and thought processes of each and every character but on the other hand, long shots have been used to give a sense of loneliness and fear. Low angle up shots are used for dramatic effect to show tension and anxiety.

1.5 years duration has been taken to create the film.The production is entirely digital 2D hand-drawn animation done using Wacom tablet and TVPaint software used for animation whereas Post-Production was done using Adobe Premier and Adobe After Effects.”

To 21st-century Americans, the concept of sealing envelopes with a blob of melted sealing wax embossed with a personal seal may seem a relict of pre-postage stamp history. But I remember that there was a brief vogue for this in America with college students in the early 1960s – redundant, really, with modern manufactured gummed envelopes. I got some sealing wax, which was then cheap at any stationery shop, but I didn’t bother to get a personalized seal-ring, which was expensive. Europeans (and Goa had been a Portuguese colony in India) took the personalized seals on their mail much more seriously than Americans.

india-posterNovember 28. “‘Clouds’ Wins 15th TBS DigiCon 6 2013 Award. TBS DigiCon6 announced the winners for 15th TBS DigiCon6 Awards. From the 5 Topmost nominated Animation Shorts from India, ‘Clouds’ – a 3D Animated Short, made by Stephanie Birat and Nikita Deshpande grabbed the 15th TBS Digicon6 Asian Regional Award.

Speaking to on this win, Stephanie and Nikita, Animation Students from DSKSupinfocom says, ‘It feels great to win at TBS DigiCon and as this is the first International award for ‘Clouds’, it gives us immense happiness and becomes a motivating factor for us to work harder and make even better films in the future.’

‘Clouds’ had been screened at Chitrakatha 2013 and Siggraph Asia Computer Animation Festival 2013 in Hong Kong. It has also been nominated for this year’s 24 FPS International Awards.

‘We aim to send this short to various other International Film festivals.’Nikita adds more
TBS DigiCon6 international judges selected the awards winners for four categories and announced them at the ceremony held at Marunouchi Building Hall in Tokyo. TBS DigiCon6 JAPAN judges also selected the awards winners for eleven categories.”

A background poster in the photograph of the winners’ ceremony reveals that TBS is the Tokyo Broadcasting System, DigiCon is the Digital Contents Awards Convention, and it took place in Singapore. There were Asian Regional Awards Grand Prizes of ¥500,000 each for China, Hong Kong, India, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand.

“Clouds” was Biram’s & Deshpande’s graduation film at DSK Supinfocom India in Pune. The Supinfocom group also has animation campuses at Valenciennes and Arles in France. DSK Supinfocom India said, “Winning is a habit and the students of DSK SUPINFOCOM have perfectly mastered it. Few more jewels have been added to the ever shining crown of the campus.

‘Clouds’, an animated movie created by the final year students of the batch of 2013, has won the National (India) award at Digicon in Japan and will also compete for the Asian Grand Prix awards at Tokyo.

‘Clouds’ also won the jury special prize at NID’s animation festival (against worldwide entries) and is a part of the official selection at the International Children’s Film Festival.

We are very proud of our students and we wish them the best for all future endeavors.”

“Clouds” was shown at SIGGRAPH Asia 2013 in Hong Kong. Its catalogue description was, “Clouds is an imaginative narrative of a young girl, about where the clouds come from.” It was also ASIFA-India’s International Animation Day 13 winner of the Award for Excellence in the Best Student – 3D Animated Film category.

A scene from CLOUDS

A scene from CLOUDS

Next week: This is my first anniversary on Cartoon Research. That seems worth a celebration.


  • much thanks for opening our eyes to the animation of india! I hope that “the mailbox” will serve as an example for other indian animators to follow.

    btw, there must have been another revival in wax-sealing envelopes in the 70’s, as I vaguely remember store displays with selections of colorful sticks of wax and brass sealing stamps.

    • It may have been the same vogue for wax-sealing envelopes from the 1960s that continued into the 1970s rather than a separate one; I don’t know. I graduated from college in 1963 and got active in science-fiction fandom, which had its own interests that included the counterculture fondness for incense, but not for the wax-sealing of envelopes. I don’t really know how long that lasted in the college culture.

    • speaking of fandom (though this would concern comic book fandom) … while there’s a lull, would you please tell us about your flash costume?

    • Do you mean the costume of the superhero The Flash that I wore in the 1962 Worldcon’s Masquerade? Ah, memories! That was probably the only costume that I wore in my life. I was — still am — in the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society. A lot of us were going to that year’s World Science Fiction Convention in Chicago, and someone, probably Bruce Pelz, proposed that a half-dozen or so of us who were also comic book fans dress up as the members of the Justice Society of America from the 1940s “All-Star Comics” for the Worldcon’s Masquerade. There were more of us who were willing than knew how to make costumes; but Bjo (Betty Jo) Trimble, who was not a comic-book fan but was a hyperenthusiastic costumer, took charge of organizing the group and getting the costumes made. Bruce Pelz was Dr. Fate; Jack Harness was Hawkman; Dian Girard was Wonder Woman; I was The Flash; Ted Johnstone was Green Lantern; and John Trimble (Bjo’s husband) was The Sandman (the first costume; street clothes with a face-covering gas mask). All that I remember about The Flash’s costume is that it was one of the easiest to make. It was normal clothing (we just had to find a bright red shirt) except for the silvery Mercury helmet, which fortunately looked just like a U.S. Army World War I doughboy’s helmet. LASFS member Rick Sneary gave us his father’s helmet, which we spray-painted with aluminum paint. 1962 was before the Worldcon’s Masquerade had presentations or categories, so we just wandered through it individually.

      I was never interested in costuming. If I hadn’t been needed to help make the JSA group, and Bjo hadn’t made the costume for me, I would never have been in it. Boy, that was over 50 years ago. Bruce Pelz, Jack Harness, and Ted Johnstone are dead today (also Rick Sneary), and the others dropped out of the LASFS decades ago. I am the only one who is still around. We are celebrating the club’s 4,000th meeting in April. (The LASFS started in 1934.)

    • much thanks for sharing these memories! is there a group photo of y’all in your costumes? sadly, i’ve never seen one.

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