Toonz Animation revives its popular Children’s Animation Workshop

“Right from when Toonz Animation started in the late 90s, we’ve had a lot of support from the local community. We wanted to give something back to the community and that was how Toonz’ first children’s animation workshop (CAW) happened in 2001,” says P. Jayakumar, chief executive officer of Toonz, as the company gets ready to host a new edition of CAW, for children between the ages of eight and 14. The three-day workshop is proposed to be held at Toonz’ headquarters in Technopark from April 15. This year’s workshop is open only to children residing in Kerala.

“No one understands animation better than children; the world of animation is their world. Animation is a powerful means of communication too. With CAW 2013 we propose to give children the opportunity to experience the spirit of collaboration, develop new skills and exercise their creative freedom through the medium of animation,” adds Jayakumar.

The last time the workshop was conducted was in 2004. “We received over 1,000 applications in each edition and we have an excellent set of shorts by the children, many of which have won international acclaim,” he says. For example, Cute Bunny, written and directed by the then 11-year-old Manasa Rao from Hyderabad, which talked about littering, won gold in the student-directed category at the Kalamazoo Animation Festival International (KAFI), 2003. 123 Math Toon, by Akhilesh Anandh, bagged the silver and The Flame Who Loved To Dance by Ujwal Nair picked up the bronze. Penguins to the Zoo by Arun V. got a honourable mention. Cute Bunny also bagged the ‘Best Animated film for children’ award at the first Latvian International Animated Film Festival(2003) and was selected for the Chicago International Children's Film Festival, 2003.

To qualify for CAW 2013, those interested should develop a character and a story idea and send it to Toonz by post. Out the entries, 10 of the best will be selected for the workshop that will be conducted by animation experts from within the company and outside. The workshop aims at familiarising children to various aspects of animation production. Time and expertise will be given to the children to develop pre-production materials for their films. Each of the 10 films will then be produced as three-minute shorts (in English) by Toonz.

“The beauty of it is that the children themselves get to direct the films, with minimal intervention from our technicians. Once we help them identify the type of animation – stop motion, clay animation, 2D, 3D, and so on – that will work best with their stories, they are given complete control of each part of direction. For instance, if they don’t like the background colour they have the liberty to change it,” says Jayakumar.

Toonz plans to have a mega premiere of the 10 films on children’s day (November 14) this year. Additionally, the films will be screened on the partner channel and will be sent for children’s animation film fetes across the world. “Also, if we find that a concept is really good and a feasible project, then perhaps it can be made into a series…,” says Jayakumar.

Send in applications to The Co-ordinator, Children’s Animation Workshop 2013, Tooz Animation Academy, Nila, Teechnopark Campus, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala 695581. Contact: 0471-3042500. Email: caw@toonzacademy.com or log on to www.toonzacademy.com. Last date for applications is February 28.