True that when it comes to people, India has the numbers! But one has to actually be there to believe and experience the electricity and euphoria that more than 5500 youngster students can generate as they celebrate the anniversary of their grand animation learning center. Their excitement further fuelled with the presence of International and Indian animation, VFX experts and film makers in their midst.
Like every year the Dilsukhnagar Arena anniversary held annually on 19 July in Hyderabad, just keeps getting bigger. This year the anniversary was celebrated at the Saroornagar indoor stadium with over 5500 students congregated to participate.
The main draw for these students was the eminent speaker panel which included Ms. Shelley Page, Head of International Outreach of Dreamworks, London, Prof.T. Tirupati Rao VC-Osmania University, Dr. P. Padmavathi, VC-Jawaharlal Nehru Architecture & Fine Arts University, Shri. A. R. Sesha Prasad, Digital Production Manager, Rhythm & Hues and Shri. Mohan Krishnan, Head-Corporate Communications, Prasad EFX, Shekar Kammula, noted Film Director and Producer, Mehar Ramesh, Film Director, P Srikanth, CEO, Basking Lions Animation, M Ross, Animation Director, Green Gold and Anand Gurnani, Co-founder and CEO AnimationXpress.com
"With this kind of a speaker list, it was just unbearable to keep away from the event, and this reflected in the number of people who attended it." Shared one of the organizing committee members even as the event was underway.
The day began with the welcome address by B. Raja Sekhar, CEO of Dilsukhnagar Arena. He extended a warm welcome to the guests, personally thanking them all for taking time off their busy schedules for attending the occasion and elevating the stature of this event. He then shared his thoughts on the journey of Dilsukhnagar Arena and how the continous focus on quality ensured that the centre remained at the number 1 slot throughtout its operational years. Raja Sekhar was particularly proud to announce the launch of the new 'Incubation facility' for students passing out of the institute. He concluded his welcome address with the line, "Give to the world the best you have and the best will come back to you".
The morning session included distinguished guests like Ms. Shelley Page, Head of International Outreach of Dreamworks, London, Prof.T. Tirupati Rao VC-OU, Dr. P. Padmavathi, VC-JNAFAU, Anand Gurnani, Co-Founder, CEO and Managing Editor, AnimationXpress.com, Shri. A. R. Sesha Prasad, Digital Production Manager, Rhythm & Hues and Shri. Mohan Krishnan, Head-Corporate Communications, Prasad EFX. The guests lit the lamp thus inaugurating VFX '09.
Prof T. Tirupati Rao, VC, Osmania University, complimented Dilsukhnagar Arena for being the No. 1 Arena Animation Centre in the country. He said, "The field of Animation is set for a grand future in the coming years. It is my fervent appeal to all parents that they encourage their children to take up careers in the Animation industry and lay a golden path to their future."
Speaking about the occasion, Shelley Page, Head of International Outreach of Dreamworks, said, "I really had a wonderful time at the event. I really enjoyed seeing the presentation of the other speakers from Rhythm & Hues and Prasad EFX because these gave students a view of the various career opportunities that this field has to offer. It was lovely to see so many students full of enthusiasm, enjoying and applauding the collection of short films I showcased. The energy that the audience had was amazing and it lasted throughout the day long event which was something very amazing. I would want to thank Raja Sekhar for inviting me to this huge anniversary celebration and making me feel so special. He has definitely made a difference to the animation industry in India in general and Hyderabad in particular. Something that I missed out this time around is seeing students work and I am looking forward to seeing a compilation of the same on my next visit."
Smt. Dr P.Padmavathi VC, JNAFA University said "I am happy to see that thousands of students have opted for these courses. Animation is exciting and exacting. I am excited to note that Dilsukhnagar Arena is taking Animation to the global arena that too without any kind of support from the Government. I am glad to know that campus placements are regularly happening and the recruitments are going on without any impact of the recession."
Post the inaugural session, the stage was handed over to Mohan Krishnan, Head, Corporate Communications, Prasad EFX Chennai to deliver the first seminar. Prasad EFX is widely acknowledged for introducing special FX to Indian film industry. Krishnan gave a very detailed presentation on the 4 decade journey of Special Effects and Visual Effects in Indian cinema. It was quite interesting to see how effects were done in a pre CG world and prove the point that it is ingenuity and innovation coupled with amadness and passion to do new things that is more important than anything else
The audience at VFX 09 had their chance to watch some of the most interesting films including the LogJam series by Alexei Alexeev.
Shelley Page showcased a number of interesting short films. These films, many of which had won international recognition, were both from students and seasoned directors. The films were well received by the audience. Shelley Page gave the students tips on competing in international film festivals. She said, "When entering international film festivals, short films are the best option. But these films need to of international quality and equal importance should be given to the animation, the story and the emotional content."
This was followed by a detailed presentation on the work done by Rhythm & Hues Studios India Pvt. Ltd for the movie Incredible Hulk. A. R. Sesha Prasad, Digital Production Manager of the studio and his team took those present through the various stages of how the studio brought the fictional character to life. His team went into to the finer nuances of Animation for the movie and left the audience enthralled.
This was followed by Mehar Ramesh, Film Director sharing his experiences with the audience. He shared the fact that whenever he wanted to do some animation work for his movies he was always surrounded by creative and knowledgeable people. He was happy to see the great strides taken by Dilsukhnagar Arena and shared his willingness to partner with Dilsukhnagar Arena for his upcoming projects.
A number of cultural activities interspersed the whole event. Leading entertainers like Surabhi Shravani, Snigdha and others sang melodious songs and had the audience tapping their feet and enjoying themselves.
Next to speak at VFX '09 was noted Film Director and Producer, Shekar Kammula. He shared real life scenarios of his struggle to become a successful creative director and how he did not allow himself to lose hope even under difficult circumstances. He encouraged the students to concentrate on their field of interest and focus on ingraining creativity into each and everything. He requested them not to totally commercialize their creativity and be passionate about their creations. "Being passionate about what you do is the only way to make it big in the field of creative arts", he advised.
P Srikanth, CEO, Basking Lions Animation, spoke on the various opportunities available to animation professionals apart from the regular careers. He encouraged the students to explore opportunities for animation professionals in fields as diverse as medicine, marketing, e-learning, etc. He motivated the students to do more, add new skills and thus make themselves more employer friendly.
The event also saw other seasoned professionals share their experience with the students. Ross, Animation Director, Green Gold had an animated discussion with the students on Character and Flash Animation. He shared his experience of working in companies like Disney, Warner Brothers, etc.
Anand Gurnani, Co-founder and CEO, Animation Xpress, conducted an interactive quiz for students giving away DVDs of animation blockbusters to those who gave the answers.
VFX '09 also saw an amazing live performance by students from Dilsukhnagar Arena. The event concluded with a Prize Distribution ceremony for the outstanding performers from Dilsukhnagar Arena.
The 5500 strong crowd did not seem to tire even in the evening. The enthusiasm was at the same level as it had been in the morning. The crowd danced and enjoyed the evening with the cultural activities presented by the students of Dilsukhnagar Arena.
The evening saw the crowd returning back home - thrilled and content. They were thrilled at the interactive day and content that not only had they spent the day having fun but also educated from none other than the greatest leaders in the field.