On the 4th afternoon, Gitanjali Rao lead a discussion on animation. The discussion was interspersed with three of Rao’s brilliant short films: Blue, Orange and Printed Rainbow. She has used a different technique for each of her films, and not having a ‘signature style’ has in a way become her signature.
Rao graduated as a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Sir J. J. Institute of Applied Art, Mumbai. Interested in filmmaking, she found animation to be the perfect medium of expression. She spoke about the importance of storyboarding for animators, but also emphasized the need to avoid going overboard with details, which can lengthen production time.
Her film Printed Rainbow is a 15 min short about a lonely old woman who escapes into the colourful and fantastical world of her matchbox cover art. The film premiered at Cannes 2006, Critic’s Week and went on to win the award for the Best Short film. When asked about the inspiration for the protagonist’s (old woman’s) matchbox collection, Rao said that she had been looking for something that would give a peek into the different art forms & places in India. Matchbox cover art provided the perfect solution. Since the release of the film, fans have been gifting her matchboxes from all over the country!
Speaking about difficulty in raising funding for animation films in India, she mentioned that while things have improved since her first film in the mid 90’s, the long production time of the medium is still keeping most producers away. She had to stop work on Girgit as she ran out of funds for production. You can see extracts from Girgit here. She is now working on LoveStory2012 which is scheduled to release in 2014. The film is being produced by Shaan Vyas, who is also here at DIFF as producer of Kshay. LoveStory2012 deals with the impact and monstrosity of Bollywood.