Thursday, September 08, 2016

Meanwhile On the Sub-Continent

From Media in India:

Why India stopped producing quality animation films?

...While the Indian film industry, hailed as one of the largest in the world produces over 1400 films in a year, the country is peculiarly ignorant to the immense potential of animation films since its last release in 2014. Although keen interest from broadcasters and audience promise exponential revenue generation, the animation and VFX segments are yet to receive the adequate magnitude in the country. ...

According to the collaborative Indian Media and Industry Report 2015 from Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce Industry and KPMG, a Netherlands based auditing company, Chaar Sahibzaade (2014), a Harry Baweja computer-animated film, made with a budget of INR 200 million, generated a box-office revenue of over INR 650 million.

It is interesting to find out that 45 pc of this collection came from the overseas market, mainly from the Indian diaspora. A lack of the creation of original intellectual property is leading to the lack of a globally merchandisable brand, an alarming situation considering the approximate of 400,000 employees in the animation industry. ...

India's track record with animated features has been decidedly spotty.

The country has done reasonably well sub-contracting live-action visual effects work. And its efforts on behalf of Disney's home video products (The Tinkerbell series in particular) have been fruitful. But when the sub-contnent has turned its hand to theatrical product, there's been a number of fizzles.

Disney partnered with Yash Raj films to present Roadside Romeo in 2008, but the picture bombed with both audiences and critics. Planes and Planes II, Disney Toon theatricals largely produced by Indian studios, did mediocre business at the global box office. Other CG theatricals have also under-performed.

DreamWorks Animation has used Indian studios on some features with varying degrees of success. DWA staffers say that work on recent features has been pulled back to Glendale due to "quality issues".

But quality, or the lack thereof, is not a new issue inside the India Computer Graphics industry:

India’s First 3D Motion-Capture Film Looks Like An Epic Trainwreck

India’s first 3-D mo-cap CGI feature, Kochadaiiyaan, will open on May 9th. By Western feature animation quality standards, it looks comically bad, but perhaps it’s impressive if you’ve never seen animation before. Predictably, the film’s animation quality has already been criticized. ...

The picture performed badly in Indian theaters, and did minimal business outside its home country. As one animation veteran with knowledge of India's CG biz explained:

India has talented CG animators and tech directors, but studios down there are structured to get shots out quickly and inexpensively, not to nurture talent.

There's a low glass ceiling. So employees with animation chops get what training they can, then move to Europe or the United States where they can stretch creatively, develop themselves and grow their careers. That doesn't happen much in India. ...

But hey, India is still releasing theatrical animated features:

Viacom18 is set to take the Indian animation industry to greater heights with the release of Motu Patlu King of Kings – the network’s maiden 3D stereoscopic animation theatrical. Viacom18 Motion Pictures and Nickelodeon have joined hands to create the movie based on the very popular Lotpot characters Motu Patlu. The movie, produced by MAYA, will create a new milestone for Indian animation by promoting India’s vision of ‘Made In India’ content. The movie is slated to release on October 14, 2016, in Hindi and Tamil in over 700 screens across India. ...

It's doubtful that a moderately budgeted feature based on a moderately budgeted kiddie show will lift the animation industry to new heights, but maybe it's a case of "tiny steps for tiny feet."


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