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A stop motion animated series signals start of new opportunities in Goa

For the last 75 days at a makeshift studio in the industrial complex of Thivim, highly skilled animators from across India have been working on the production sets of ‘Guardians Evolution’, a Canadian TV-series by Canadian writer-director Dennis Jackson. Partly produced by Anand Ramayya (Karma Film) from Canada and serviced by Moppet Animation Studio from Goa, this collaboration marks the beginning of new business and employment opportunities especially for animation professionals in India.
Set 41 million years into the future, Guardians Evolution is an animated sci-fi series for children that depict a group of indigenous teenagers and their post-apocalyptic missions peppered by hi-octane drama and comedy. Interestingly one of the teenagers in the series is an Indian girl whose part is played by actress Sangeeta Gupta in Canada. The second season, partly created in Goa will air in Canada on APTN in January, 2015 after the completion of post-production work in the next five months. But Kelly Balon, Associate Producer of Guardians Production Inc already wears an air of accomplishment as the Goan team wraps up the final stages of production.
“We are very impressed by the Indian talent we found here and have noticed considerable improvement in the animation since last season”, states Kelly indicating the strong likelihood of outsourcing future work on the same animation series to Moppet if all goes well. For Ruturaj Amolkar, Creative Head of Moppet Studios as well as Founder of Animation and Art School Goa this collaboration could well be the big break that sets this modest firm into the big league.
“Goa has the potential to become another San Francisco”, says Ruturaj, a former engineer who pursued a Fine Art degree in California after discovering his true calling in the creative arts. A few years ago, Ruturaj made the shift from Bangalore’s frenzied IT hub to slow-paced Goa after deciding that the ambience here was just right for stir up the creative juices. The decision paid off unexpectedly when film producer Anand Ramayya from Canada was searching online for a Goa-based animation studio to work with and discovered Ruturaj’s Moppet Studio in Goa. The rest, as the cliché goes, is history.
The four-member crew from Canada, says Kelly, has spent the last 75 days in Goa adapting to the state’s unique characteristics including the searing heat and constant power outages. Goa’s inclusive culture and global outlook was one the main reasons that informed producer Ramayya’s decision to outsource production services to Goa. “Goa is …you know… a little bit gentler than Mumbai, especially for Westerners”, grins Kelly knowingly.
India-Canada Co-production Treaty and the future
Another crucial reason for this collaboration stems from the recently ratified India-Canada Co-production Treaty that aims at facilitating many such creative exchanges between the two countries. The new rules are now more generous towards Indian Directors and Kelly hopes that the Treaty will incentivize Indian broadcasters as well as producers to consider mutually-beneficial collaborations with Canadian firms.
Although collaborations such as these offer economic advantages to both countries, one of the biggest gains has been the enrichment of skills. “The Canadian team spent the first few days going through tutorials and training the 40-member strong Indian animation team in the nuances of stop-motion animation”, informs Kelly. Rituraj adds, “We have always wanted to use stop-motion animation and now we can extend these newly-acquired skills to other animation assignments in the future.”
On behalf of the Guardians Production team, Kelly adds, “We would definitely want to maintain an ongoing relationship with the Moppet team and hold onto this talent pool we’ve helped build.” This he believes is essential not just for maintaining consistency in the TV series across subsequent seasons but also to continue partnership over newer ventures.
Animation & Art School: Filling the gap between college and industry
Located in Porvorim, the Animation & Art School founded by Rituraj offers courses in Multimedia, 3D animation and film production that are designed to help students get on the work floor as soon as they graduate.“Our stringent assessment ensures that only worthy students are allowed to continue till the end of the course. We advise those who are not up to par to discontinue in order to save both their money and time”, explains Rituraj of the school’s ability to turn out graduates who in a year’s time can match skills of students undergoing lengthy, outdated four-year courses.
What’s next on the cards for Moppet Animation Studio as they wrap up production for ‘Guardians Evolution’? “Augmented virtual reality”, hints Rituraj adding mysteriously, “and a project that will change the tourism industry completely.”
With only a few days before the film sets are dismantled and the cameras folded, the production team generously invites school tours and those interested in animation for a look behind-the-scenes on July 28 at its studio in Thivim. To book your visit, contact Kelly at 8412 955 854 for more details and timings.

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