Jidnyesh Mhatre owns a visual effects production in the city. He admits that it was love for animation and concern for its lack of recognition in India that led him to create the Silver Salt Animation Festival that kicked off in Mumbai on Saturday. But the not-so-overwhelming response that the first day got has not drowned his hopes.
“I was looking for sponsors till the last minute, but we got none, so we did it without them and we still managed to go to so many cities,” said Mhatre, who has over the last month travelled to Pune, Kolkata, Chennai and Bangalore. “We got around 500 delegates who attended the festival, so the response wasn’t great, but good.”
Of the 475 entries they received, 70 per cent were international short films. Sadly, none of the filmmakers or participants could personally come to the festival because of shortage of funds. “We could not fly them down or arrange for accommodation in time. Next time, we will be more organised,” said Mhatre.
Animation professionals like VG Samant, director of India’s first indigenous animation film Hanuman, Samar Nakhate, former dean of FTII, filmmaker Anurag Kashyap and animation veteran, Ram Mohan were present at the event. A workshop on ‘Making a Professional Animation Portfolio’ will be held today and will be led by Ram Mohan, who has been instrumental in the field of animation for over 50 years.
Mhatre admits that his festival is not India’s first or only animation event, but says, that it definitely is the country’s only travelling animation festival. “The main concept was to get the audience to learn how animation works, how big the industry is, what thought goes into making these films and so on. People from smaller B and C segment towns can’t come to metro cities like Mumbai to learn all this,” said Mhatre. “So we decided to take the festival to them. We hope to cover 20 cities within the next one year.”