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High powered global experts will feature at the inaugural edition of AniMela, India’s first-ever international festival for animation, VFX, XR, gaming and comics (AVGC-XR).

The four-day event is by India’s Aniverse and Visual Arts Foundation (AVAF), which have partnered with the government of India’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and France’s Annecy International Animation Festival. As revealed by Variety, the festival will take place Jan. 18-21, 2024, in Mumbai. The venue is confirmed as the National Film Development Corporation’s Films Division campus in downtown Mumbai.

AniMela’s knowledge section will feature Luce Grosjean (CEO- Miyu Distribution, France), Rajiv Chilaka (creator of “Chhota Bheem”), Oscar-nominated Australian animator Lachlan Pendragon (“An Ostrich Told Me the World Is Fake and I Think I Believe It”), Isabel Herguera (director of Spanish-German animation film “Sultana’s Dream”) Mickael Marin (director of Annecy Animation Festival), Veronique Encrenaz (head of Annecy’s market – MIFA) and award-winning Indian animator Upamanyu Bhattacharyya.

As part of the event, the International MIFA Campus (IMC) is coming to India. AVAF has received more than 60 work-in-progress projects from creators for evaluation, of which five selected animation projects will participate in a four-day workshop conducted by industry experts from the Annecy Animation Festival from Jan. 16-19. Advisors include animation filmmaker Reza Riahi (Oscar winner “Breadwinner”), France-based screenwriter Johanna Goldschmidt (“Les héritières”) and animation producer Delphine Nicolini (“Uncle Thomas”). The five selected projects will also be presented to international buyers, producers and distributors at the India pitch session’ at Annecy – MIFA in June 2024.

Participants also include the School of Visual Arts (New York), Griffith Institute (Australia), Rubika Institute (France) and India’s Whistling Woods International film school and the Frameboxx training institute.

The AniMela film festival will include international features, shorts, fiction and non-fiction films. The event’s experiential zone will have video games and XR/AI showcases and the comic section, curated by Indie Comix Fest, will feature selected indie comics, graphic novels and art exhibitions.

AVAF is a not-for-profit organization founded by Kireet Khurana, Archana Trasy, Anne Doshi, Neha Jain and Tehzeeb Khurana to promote animation and other visual arts in India.

Khurana, festival director of AniMela, said, “India is making content at par with international standards, but lacks a narrative as a creator of world class content. With AniMela, we intend to align with our government’s thrust of create-in-India and build a platform of international pedigree, with the goal of exhibiting excellent films, games and other forms of visual arts created by Indian independent talent and studios to a larger audience and to promote them internationally. At the same time, the festival provides for a holistic artistic and technological reflection in the AVGC space by bringing global industry veterans and emerging Indian talents under one roof.”

Jain, executive director at AniMela, said: “Most audiences in India perceive animation as children’s content, there is no understanding of adult animation. Similarly, there is very limited knowledge about the possibilities around VFX, gaming and XR. With AniMela, we seek to break away from these restrictive perceptions and create more awareness and interest around the industry.”

Doshi, artistic director at AniMela, said: “In the AVGC industry, the creators are the stars and the artists are given their due. AniMela will reflect this by highlighting their talent and supporting them in their journeys. The festival will empower Indian talents and aspirants to engage in cross-cultural exchange of ideas, explore beyond their horizons and help nurture the growth of this community. It intends to fill the gaps via training and mentoring and propel India’s international presence in the global AVGC landscape.”



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