An exciting event came to an end with the elaborative closing ceremony of GAFX 2017 which was replete with stalwarts from various corners of the industry.

The GAFX Festival 2017, which was formerly known as the ABAI Fest initiated on 12 May and after covering a comprehensive schedule of three days, came to an end on 14 May. The three days seem to pass in a jiffy as these were replete with workshops, competitions, presentations and panel discussions with veteran speakers from all around the globe. The festival provided students with some insights to the animation, VFX and gaming industry and the various verticals and stages of it.

To all the attendees we spoke to, most of them said they had a great time at the event as they got their initial peeks into the structure behind the screen. Overall, they seemed to have had a really good experience.

But just like how all good things must come to an end, the festival ended with a closing ceremony right after Pete Draper’s much anticipated session about the VFX work on Baahubali: The Conclusion.

The panel consisted of organisers from ABAI, the honourable IT BT minister of the state of Karnataka, Priyank M. Kharge, Dhruva Interactive’s Rajesh Rao and Kbit’s Mr. Nagaraj.

Technicolor, country head, Biren Ghose initiated the ceremony with a speech in which he put forth the figures of growth of the creative industry, which was as per the KPMG report. He extended his thanks to the honourable minister while highlighting the fact that he was possibly the first minister to tweet his support for the festival.

Ghose further continued on how the state government and ABAI are pushing the agenda for the betterment of the students in this field with digital art centres, seven of which are already present and numerous are already proposed. Their vision is to have around 100 of them. His comments further pointed to the fact that they would be interested in making more B2B events happen in the state of Karnataka.

Soon, the honourable minister, Priyank Kharge took the stage and addressed the crowd. He started off with a quote by Bill Moyers: ‘Creativity is piercing the mundane to find the marvellous’. He stressed on the fact how he plans on furthering the cause of the industry in the state of Karnataka. He said that the government and concerned bodies plan to bring disruption in the ecosystem.

He also urged ABAI to try and regulate the centres which are imparting education in this sector as many of them still use outdated syllabus, methods and equipments, because of which it becomes hard for the students to make it into the industry after their course ends.

Now came the major start, all of a sudden, the stress shifted to original IP creation as most of the work done now is outsourced work for the western makers. He mentioned that 90 per cent of post-production and outsourcing work happens in Asia and there is a need to nurture the local animation, visual effects, gaming and comics industry. There’s a need to elevate our skill-sets and the government is keen to skill those at the bottom of the pyramid. Hence, they are setting-up Centre of Excellence for animation, visual effects and gaming which will constitute of institutions, incubation centres, training centres and much more.

“We are still dependant on content from abroad which is disappointing. Currently, broadcasters run the try and tested model rather than taking risks and producing content domestically. Earlier 99 per cent of the shows were from abroad and now 16 per cent shows are Indian. This is also a good number to start with. However, it is high time we start making content for domestic and global consumption. Until and unless we create original IP content, we cannot be in position to call ourself as global leaders. For that we need a sustained and longer business model. And with advent of VOD platforms, content consumption would just grow,” he stressed.

So, how can government boost IP industry? He announced a fund of up to Rs 50 lakhs (under the POC model) to studios who plan to create original IPs. A fund of Rs 2.5 crores has been allotted for this cause and anyone creating original content would be eligible for it, given they pass the scrutiny of the officials first on the quality and creativity of the content.

He stated, “We want studios to come to life and speak to the world,” further adding that the AVGC industry needs to shift from the outsourced model to original content creation. Concluding his speech with a quote of Walt Disney, the minister parted by saying, ‘stay curious and stay inspired.’ – Animation Express