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AniMela: India’s first international AVGC-XR festival set to make a landmark debut in Mumbai in January 2024

  • AniMela, the epic four-day festival, founded by Aniverse & Visual Arts Foundation (AVAF), will debut at the heart of SoBo (NFDC, Films Division Compound, Peddar Road) from 18th-21st Jan 2024, hosting films, workshops and activities promoting and showcasing Animation, Gaming, Visual Effects, Comics & Extended Reality (AVGC-XR).
  • AVAF is honoured to be partnered with the Government of India (Ministry of Information & Broadcasting) and the world’s most prominent Annecy International Animation Festival (the ‘Cannes’ of Animation) to bring the world to India and take Indian AVGC-XR to the world..
  • In an unprecedented opportunity for Indian Creators, Emerging Talent and Professionals in Animation, Gaming, VFX, Comics and XR (AVGC-XR), AniMela will bring the best of animation film-screenings, gaming experiential zones, comic book/graphic novel creators, knowledge-sharing and mentoring sessions, immersive experience zones and networking.
  • The festival is organising a 4-day workshop for promising talent mentored by Internationally renowned industry veterans and experts from Annecy Festival — MIFA (among the world’s most prominent marketplace for AVGC, France) where AVAF will support 5 animation projects (feature, shorts or series) to be pitched globally to top producers, platforms & collaborators.

 Turning a new leaf in India’s AVGC-XR Industry, AVAF unveils the debut edition of AniMela – India’s first-ever international Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming, Comics and Extended Reality (AVGC-XR) festival. The festival encompasses four fun-filled days of film screenings, knowledge-sharing sessions, immersive experience zones, VFX making of, comic book/graphic novel creators and more to celebrate India’s creative prowess and technological strides in AVGC-XR, a much-needed platform to promote and claim India’s space in the International arena. The AVAF has partnered with the Government of India (Information & Broadcasting Ministry) and the Annecy International Animation Festival to bring AniMela to Mumbai at the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) from 18th to 21st January 2024.

India is home to abundant untapped creative talent in the AVGC-XR space. However, it is seen only as a powerhouse that provides back-end support to large studios in the West, while the truth is that there exists immense potential, creativity and technological know-how in Indian creators, animators, VFX artists, game developers and comic book/graphic novel artists to create plenty of original, homegrown content that can travel worldwide and become global properties with the right mentorship, networking and opportunities.

AniMela stands as India’s gateway to revolutionise the AVGC-XR narrative, elevating the industry to its deserved recognition internationally. Serving as a front-row ticket to world-class animation crafted by emerging Indian talent, the festival is more than just a celebration; it’s India’s pivotal moment to claim its stake in the global AVGC-XR landscape. All this underlies the big dream of propelling the country from the sidelines of being a ‘service-provider’ and backend to the world, to being a front-running creator-industry with original IPs and stories that travel worldwide. In line with this, the festival stands on four pillars :

  1. Film Festival – Showcasing some of the world’s best animation film screenings and VFX behind-the-scenes, including international features, shorts, fiction and non-fiction films. There will also be open-air screenings, film premiers, meet & greet sessions with the filmmaker, alongside exciting behind-the-scenes VFX of blockbusters.
  1. Experiential Zone – Attendees can immerse themselves in numerous booths and arcades. At the video games zone, they can engage in exclusive demos of the latest in the gaming industry by indie game artists and game developers, meet & greet with world-renowned gamers, game developers and influencers, and gaming contests with exciting prizes. The XR/AI zone is where attendees can interact with different worlds through VR and AR, the best international IPs, and more. Meanwhile, the comic section curated by Indie Comix Fest, will showcase specially curated indie comics, graphic novels and art exhibitions, alongside an opportunity to meet, learn and sketch with the best artists in the country 
  1. Knowledge-sharing & Mentoring – 

The Knowledge Section will consist of masterclasses, workshops, and panel discussions by renowned global experts like Luce Grosjean (CEO- Miyu Distribution, France), Rajiv Chilaka (Creator of the ubiquitous ‘Chhota Bheem’), Academy Award nominated Australian animator Lachlan Pendragon, Isabel Herguera (director of Spanish- German Animation Feature Sultana’s Dream) Mickael Marin (Director of Annecy Animation Festival), Veronique Encrenaz (Head of Annecy’s Market – MIFA), award winning Indian animator Upamanyu Bhattacharyya and many more…

There will be a dedicated space for family screenings, activities and workshops for the younger audiences. 

In a first for India, AniMela is bringing the prestigious International MIFA Campus (IMC) to India to continue educating and nurturing young Indian talents in this sector. As a part of IMC, AVAF has received 60+ work-in-progress projects (feature, shorts or series) from creators for evaluation. From these, 5 selected animation project holders will get an opportunity to participate in a 4-day workshop conducted by renowned industry experts from the Annecy Animation Festival from 16th to 19th January 2024. The experts include animation filmmaker Reza Riahi (amongst his many credits, he’s also worked on the Academy award winning film “Breadwinner”), France based Screenwriter Johanna Goldschmidt and Animation Producer Delphine Nicolini. Furthermore, these five selected projects will also be presented to international buyers, producers and distributors at the ‘India Pitch Session’ at Annecy – MIFA in June 2024. 

There will also be participation from educational institutes like the School of Visual Arts (New York), Griffith Institute (Australia), Rubika Institute(France), Whistling Woods International and Frameboxx, and many more who are in advanced stages of discussion.

  1. Networking – AniMela will provide several opportunities through networking lunches and dinners with international guests (studios, distributors, buyers) from Canada, France, Spain, the UK, Australia, Turkey, and Japan, amongst others. This is vital to the last mile for the AVGC-XR sector via marketing expansion and monetisation opportunities.

Kireet Khurana – Festival Director of AniMela, said, “India is making content at par with the 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 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.”

Neha Jain, Executive Director at AniMela, mentioned, “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. ”

Anne Doshi, Artistic Director at AniMela, added, “In the AVGC industry, the creators are the stars and the artists are given their due. And 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.”

Registrations to AniMela will open soon on Paytm Insider (insider.in)

Besides the I&B Ministry, GOI and Annecy Festival (France), AniMela is also supported by multiple organisations like the French Institute in India, Media & Entertainment Skills Council, Assemblage Entertainment, Frameboxx, Wayu Digital, Indie Comix Fest, Whistling Woods International, Hi Tech Animation, Animatzione Animation Academy, Tulsea, School of Visual Arts (USA) and Rubika School. Moreover, AniMela will be available on Heftyverse, Hungama Digital’s metaverse platform from 18th – 21st Jan 2024. AniMela will travel to the remote parts of the country through this platform.

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