From the stop-motion film made by Dadasaheb Phalke in 1912 to the stupendous visual effects of Baahubali 2 in 2017, animation in India has come a long way in the past 100 years. And while the field of animation and visual effects in India has quite a few achievements to showcase, it also remains somewhat fragmented. Bengaluru GAFX – being held this weekend at the Lalit Ashok – promises to change that by bringing together national and international participants and experts onto a single platform over three action-packed days (May 12-14).
Bengaluru GAFX is the new avatar of the Association of Bangalore Animation Industry’s ABAI Fest and KAVGC Summit, and has received significant support from the Government of Karnataka’s Department of Information Technology. Karnataka’s Minister for Information Technology Priyank Kharge is confident about the impact of the conference. “This is going to be a game-changer in the vertical - first, because of the scale, and second, because we have industry experts attending and defining the next in the vertical. I think people interested in gaming and animation can learn a lot from the event,” the Minister told YourStory.
“Bengaluru has all the talent that this upcoming industry needs. A lot of MNCs and smaller players in this sector are based out of Karnataka. The conference will give Indian talent exposure to what is currently happening in this field globally. The international speakers and participants will also be able to see the type of talent that is available in India, and that increases the chances of collaborations, going forward,” says Gaurav Gupta, Principal Secretary, Department of Information Technology, Government of Karnataka, adding, “Our goal is to popularise this sector in India to global stakeholders.”
“Bengaluru GAFX conference is a one-of-its-kind event that is curated keeping in mind the artists, professionals and students of the animation games and visual effects industry. The scale in terms of line of speakers, screenings and the breadth of the programme…is unprecedented. An event like this truly energises and provides an impetus to the ecosystem,” said Adi Shayan, Honorary Secretary, ABAI.
Besides talks and presentations, the event is hosting a series of workshops and masterclasses being held by the who’s who of the international animation industry – including experts who have worked on movies such as Dr Strange, Moana, The Good Dinosaur, and a host of Japanese Animes.
The event is not just a B2B one but also a B2C one, where C stands for community. The organisers have lined up business opportunities for the community of people working in this sector – technologists, artists, talent scouts, experts, filmmakers and gaming professionals, among others. Interactions between businesses and the government as well as policy-makers, are also on the cards.
Talent discovery is a key aspect of the event – in addition to a job fair featuring nearly 20 recruiters and participating colleges. Competitions and a hackathon offer more avenues for talent discovery, with some amazing prizes up for grabs.
“We would like to position Bengaluru as an animation services destination (and) gaming services destination, and also an original IP content creation destination. I think the GAFX Conference is going to be not only India’s biggest but also the best when it comes to quality content,” the minister said.
The Government of Karnataka is also working on updating its policy on the animation, visual effects, gaming and comic sector (AVGC), which includes setting up an AVGC finishing school that will function as a bridge between academia and industry.
In 2014, the government set up Digital Art Centres at seven fine arts colleges across the state, where students get an opportunity to learn and work on the latest tools and software in this space. The goal is to increase these to 11 more colleges in the second phase.
The policy also covers aspects such as tax breaks and subsidies, and also, for the first time, covers production grants and encourages original IP content creation. All of these measures are aimed at boosting the AVGC industry in the state.