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August 23, 1999
D Jose in Thiruvananthapuram
The world's best animation experts will converge here in the first week of November to participate in South Asia's first animation summit.
The programme from November 1 to 5 comprises a series of lectures, seminars and workshops focusing on pre-production, storyboarding, character design and story development.
Discussion sessions on the business side of animation, training and video presentations are also slated.
The keynote address is to be delivered by Rob Coleman, the animation director of George Lucas' Industrial Light and Magic. He has worked on Star Wars: Episode-I, The Phantom Menace. His other films include Men in Black, Dragon Heart and The Mask.
Academy Award winner Maurice Noble and Derek Lamb, Jeff Hale, Phil Robinson, Bill Mathews and Ian Diamond of Cartoon Network are among the other 12 masters who would be participating in the week-long programme.
Academy Award nominee Ishu Patel and Ram Mohan are the noted Indian animators taking who will be present at the summit.
Toonz Animation President and CEO Bill Dennis told reporters that the masters would be sharing techniques and tips for effective storyboarding.
Rob Coleman would speak on how he brought George Lucas' storyboard to life on screen. There will be sessions on character development, story telling in animation, show business and the art of story boarding, Dennis said.
Toonz, which has taken up 10,000 square feet of built-up space at Technopark here, has already launched its commercial production by undertaking. These are a series of commercials for the Hong Kong based Cartoon Network.
Toonz Animation, which is the first American owned digital link and paint studio in Kerala and first studio of its kind in South Asia, plans to double its size within the next 18 months.
The studio, with its 20 workstations utilising various software systems, would create four original pilots for television in the first year and its first feature film in the third year, said Dennis.
Dennis claims that Toonz Animation has everything on its fingertips to establish position as market leader. It would provide a cost-effective viable alternative for quality animation to Hollywood, besides catering for the Indian market.
Dennis claims that Toonz is the only studio staffed with such an experienced, international group of animation veterans. He is also on the lookout for production partnerships with US, European and Asian studios.
India has come out as a potential player in the market after South Korea, which is the market leader for providing low-cost animation to the international market.
Crest Communications and Silvertones have dominated India's animation industry. Both companies are inexpensive alternatives for subcontract work. Pentafour, the other competitor, has been focusing on computer-generated imagery and motion-capture animation.
Dennis said that Toonz would offer a full range of pre-production and production services for episodic television series and commercials.
The company is also exploring the possibility of providing services to print media in the country.
Toonz would exploit Indian folklore and mythology to animate the country's wealth of story material. Dennis, who has worked in Bombay for over six months, is attracted to Kerala because of its highest density of science and technology personnel, the highest number of skilled productive manpower and 100 per cent literacy rate.
He finds Technopark ideal for the operation because it features the most advanced communications and IT systems in India including videoconferencing, Internet connectivity and telecommunication.
Toonz has assembled a group of professionals, including key animators, layout and background artists, from studios around the world.
It has already started training 50 Indian artists in all animation disciplines, including pre-production and digital ink and paint systems.
It will have 150 trained artists by the time the studio starts full operation, Dennis said.
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