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Animation industry set for big leap

Calcutta, Feb. 1: The Indian animation industry is expected to grow over 300 per cent to reach $1.5 billion by 2005 from the present $0.6 billion.

P. Jayakumar, COO of Toonz Animation India, said, “The biggest problem plaguing the animation industry is lack of skilled manpower. There is a huge gap between demand and supply. We have had to give up contracts due to shortage of workers.”

Currently, there are nearly 10,000 people in the animation industry whereas there is an immediate demand for 50,000 animators.

Another drawback is that most animation companies are concentrated in the south and west of the country. “It is necessary to evenly spread out the industry to tap potential across the country,” Jayakumar said.

The immense opportunities in the sector has prompted Webel to sign an agreement with Kerala-based Toonz to set up the first animation academy in Calcutta.

The academy, which is the first of its kind in the country, will start courses in May. It will be housed in a 4000 sq.ft complex in the Salt Lake Electronics Complex (Saltlec) and will take in 100 students in the first year.

The Toonz-Webel Academy will offer a one-year diploma course in 2D and 3D animation at a fee of Rs 1,10,000. A six-month course will also be offered for Rs 60,000. Bill Mathews, special consultant to Walt Disney Feature Animation, will help develop the course curriculum.

Depending on the response to the academy, Webel has plans for a post-production facility by utilising the talent generated from the academy in association with a private partner.

Atul Rao, creative director of Toonz, believes that India has to position itself differently for leading animation outsourcing destination like Philippines. “We have to make our mark by creating a distinct identity and yet meeting market demands,” he said.

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