KARACHI: Speakers at a seminar on the potential of animation in Pakistan organised by the Karachi Film Society (KFS) as part of the Pakistan International Film Festival (PiFF) 2019 have underlined the challenges that the country’s film industry is facing vis-à-vis animation.
Asif Iqbal of Bridge Animations said there are a few reasons that we don’t have a stronger ‘edge’ in film animation. Two of them are scriptwriting and production design [that is, we are weak in them]. The other aspect is the time frame; it’s ‘always yesterday’ for the
clients which affects professionalism. However, he pointed out, in recent times we have made films of excellent quality and the quality is going up. “The faculty for animation is the biggest challenge,” he added.
Aziz Jindani, creative director of the film The Donkey King, said the transition from advert making to film-making was a good one for him. He argued that there’s a fine line between being called courageous and stupid. If your venture succeeds you’ll be hailed as courageous, and if it doesn’t, then stupid.
Talking about the efficacy of visual effects, Amyn Farooqui, co-founder of Sharp Image, said the thing about it [effects] was that the audience did not get to know about it. He gave the example of the film Loadwedding in which the makers needed an old train for a scene and when they couldn’t find it, they used computer-generated imagery (CGI).
Stakeholders discuss the state of the animation business in Pakistan
Daniyal Noorani, creator of the animated series Quaid Se Baatein, said the response to his project was better than expected. He set out to do the series keeping in mind that in our country entertainment content for kids and the kind of content that educates them for character-building is not produced. He pointed out what we are missing is the writers’ skill set. Writing for drama is different from writing for film. For the latter, the right kind of ‘spacing’ is required. We need to train our writers.
Kamran Khan, story writer of 3 Bahadur, went down memory lane to tell the audience how the trilogy came about. He said to initiate (pahl kerna) a project is very difficult. It was in 2012 that Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy asked him to make an animated movie. It was a difficult period. There was uncertainty but when even before the release of the movie its characters became famous [through promos, etc] it encouraged him.
GFX mentor Imran Ali Dina said the Higher Education Commission should consider including the subject [of animation in media courses].
Arif Jilani, the producer of the film Bilal, said his project had been released in more than 25 countries. When it was shown in Turkey, President Erdogan came to watch it.
The seminar was anchored by Sana Tauseef.
Earlier, founder of KFS Sultana Siddiqui said the purpose of such festivals and programmes is that it sends a soft image of Pakistan to the rest of the world. The intention is to encourage and facilitate young film-makers so that their work could be showcased on an international level.
Adviser to the Chief Minister of Sindh, Murtaza Wahab, was the chief guest on the occasion. He termed the festival’s idea as ‘fantastic’. He assured the KFS that the provincial government will provide whatever facilities it can to the society. “Perhaps a public-private partnership can be entered into,” he remarked, adding that tax exemption [for the industry] is a federal subject.