CHENNAI: From politics to gay rights, charcoal on paper to clay models, digitally made or filmed on an iPhone – animation films of all genres, mediums, and styles will be screened at the IndiEarth Animation film festival in the city on August 20 and 21.
Moving beyond mythology and fantasy, which constitute mainstream animation films, the selection of 54 shorts and features from around the world will delve into contemporary subjects.
“Our conditioning is such that animation is associated with children. Interestingly it is one of the most challenging mediums of storytelling that leaves a deeper impression on audiences than film because of its visual appeal,” says Abhishek Verma, an animation artist, whose hand drawn 2D short film ‘Macher Jhol’ (Fish Curry), about a homosexual boy trying to come out, will be screened at the festival.
“While films use actors and emotions, in animation there is only a line drawings and so it needs more creativity,” explains Verma.
Though a number of films from India will be screened at the festival original content from the country is still few and far between feels Verma.
Films like ‘Keli’ by Ranjitha Rajeevan, exploring taboos of a girl pursuing a dance form like Theyyam, or Hemant Gaba’s documentary ‘Japan in Nagaland’, about the influence of Japanese anime on the sub-culture of youth in Nagaland, which will be screened at the festival are those rare ventures that are defining contemporary animation films from the country.
“In terms of content, we are still not fully tapping into modern personal stories. Also lack of a style prompts animators to ape the West,” says Verma pointing out at how Japan has its characteristic Manga comics and Koreans their distinct lines to distinguish their work. “We are yet to develop a style of our own,” says the animation artist who had to crowdsource his films.
With no sponsors and only a niche audience, the film festival helps to provide exposure bring together talent. “We are trying to encourage animation as art and film. There is a growing audience for this genre but not many consistent platforms are available,” says Sonya Mazumdar of IndiEarth, which has partnered with Dolby India and Alliance Francaise for the third edition of the film annual film festival.
While most films will be screened at Alliance Francaise, ‘Japan in Nagaland’ and Alain Bidard’s ‘Battledream Chronicle’ on politics of modern technological colonisation will be screened at Tagore Film Centre in classical theatrical format.