Toonz Animation Masters Summit Opens, Honoring Anu Sikka & Raman Lal Mistry

Toonz Media Group, celebrating its 20th Anniversary this year, opens the 2019 edition of its weekend Animation Masters Summit (AMS) at the TechnoPark Campus in Trivandrum, Kerala in Southern India, with special guests Jeremy Pilmore-Bedford, British Deputy High Commissioner, Chennai, India. This year’s edition honors two new Masters for their contribution to the world of animation: Anu Sikka, Head of Content, Kids Entertainment Cluster, Nickelodeon India and Viacom 18, and Professor Raman Lal Mistry, Animation Guru and celebrated film designer.

Established as the first ever animation event in India in 1999, the AMS celebrates the “Art of Animation” by bringing together experts and leading figures from the global animation industry to interact with aspiring artists and creative talents, and for masters to showcase their work to animation professionals, entrepreneurs and the media, sharing their knowledge, experiences, insights and inspirations. The theme at this year’s AMS is Connecting Content: Seeing the Big Picture.

In his opening speech Friday in front of 450 industry professionals, Toonz Media Group CEO P. Jayakumar declared, “The Animation Masters Summit is an integral part of Toonz’s legacy and commitment to celebrate the art of animation,” adding, “the importance of working to build engaging experiences to connect with kids.”

Anu Sikka, Head of Content, Kids Entertainment Cluster, Nickelodeon India and Viacom18, received the Jury Award for Outstanding Contribution to Indian Animation. Sikka has made a very large impact on all areas of kids’ entertainment, with her untiring passion and professionalism both for the Indian animation industry as well as Indian children across the continent. She laid the foundations for localizing content, creating a wave of interest that sparked both creativity and content creation, greenlighting evergreen content such as Pakdam Pakdai, also known as Rat-A-Tat and produced by Toonz, which is still being produced and broadcast both in India and around the world.

Receiving the Legend of Animation Award, Professor Raman Lal Mistry, Animation Guru and film designer who is credited for creating the logo of the first ever Indian animation channel, Doordarshan, is a legend in the Indian animation industry. With his unique style of drawing, he has inspired artists and talents across India over the decades and has set himself as a pioneer of animation education in India, helping nurture the talent of future generations in industry.

Master sessions over the two days of the AMS include:

  • Christian Schneider, CEO of Gummybear International Inc, and the creator of the YouTube global success song “I’m a Gummy Bear” is talking on the importance of the idea and getting it off the ground.
  • Anu Sikka, Head of Content, Kids Entertainment Cluster, Nickelodeon India and Viacom18, on localizing content to engage and connect with your local audience.
  • Debbie Sterling, Founder and CEO of the successful interactive kids’ games company Goldieblox, on reinventing girlhood and creating a 360-degree view.
  • Uttam Pal Singh, head of leading kids’ channel Discovery Kids India, on connecting the creator and the audience and getting to know kids and keeping them engaged.
  • Peter Dodd, writer, animation artist and director who has worked on Watership Down, Frankenweenie, Fantastic Mr. Fox and Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride, who will discuss what it takes to build a concept into a viable project.
  • Mayur Puri, screenwriter, lyricist, actor and filmmaker — and the trusted ally of Pixar, Disney and Marvel in localizing content for India — on how to localize content without losing the flavor, and how to strike the right chord.
  • Vivek Ram, modelling and visual effects expert who has worked on global hits such as The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, The Incredible Hulk and Alvin and the Chipmunks, on retelling Indian mythology in a contemporary manner.
  • Srinivas Mohan, visual effects supervisor with 25 years’ experience in the film industry, on the role VFX plays in the storytelling and narrative process.

Coinciding with the AMS, Toonz launched the Cocoon Concept Lab, a program to support authentic storytelling and ideas by providing individualized concept development for emerging concept creators and writers with a TV/Digital series idea or screenplay. The winning project out of 74 entries from around the world will be announced at Animation Masters Summit this weekend and will be taken to the international market to develop further under the Toonz banner.

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