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Interview with Aroop Dwivedi - a Mother, Jury's Choice at Animday Awards 2014

Posted By : Mukesh Dube    At 11/3/2014 5:45:03 PM


Tags : a Mother     Jury's Choice at Animday Awards 2014    

Aroop Dwivedi a 38 year old Animation trainer and Film designer from India, who has mentored several student short films in last couple of years. 

He graduated in Commerce in 1998 and later decided to pursue Animation film making as his career; he has been working in the production and education sector at tandem for last 15 years, where other than working on several international projects, he has also designed the animation syllabus for several Indian universities. 

He is passionate about the classical style of animation and loves photography.

Tell us a little about your background?
Aroop Dwivedi : I graduated from Kanpur University in 1997 and later moved to Hyderabad to study Animation, during late 90’s a collaborative program was launched by Annapurna Studio, Hyderabad and Startoons Inc Chicago (which was then a subsidiary of Warner Brothers) the plan was to train Indian artists, teach them animation and share the projects with them, they conducted a portfolio test and as the luck would have it, I got through. That was the beginning of the animation process outsourcing in India, which has now become so huge, Now when you look back in time you realize how small the industry was back then, everyone knew everyone else, the landscape of the industry was very different, there were only two or three key players Militoonz (Chennai) Srivan Multitech (Hyderabad) and Ram Mohan Studios (Mumbai). I belong to that batch of animators who are responsible for putting the foundation of the industry as we know it today..

What was the Idea behind "a Mother" ?
Aroop Dwivedi : The idea was to drive home a point that you do not need fancy software’s and hardware’s and a team of animators/artists to tell a story, if you have a story that you want to tell and have enough conviction and faith in it, you will find a way to tell it, no matter what.  

What are the challenges you have faced during "a Mother" ?
Aroop Dwivedi : Time .!!,in a way it was a major challenge and in a way it was no challenge at all, I was working in Bangalore as a part of a content and Research team of one of the prestigious institution, but I slowly realized that I was spending too much time procrastinating as I would finish the work that was allotted to me and then wait for the next assignment, this time between the two assignment was anything between 2 hours to 2 weeks, so I started putting that time to better use and started making the film. I did not have an outer limit to the time frame which was a good thing, but I never exclusively sat down to make this film which means once I have an assignment, I will pack up the film keep it in one corner and start working on my assignment and then only when the project is over, I will get back to the film. so that way the film took forever to complete.

What inspired you for "a Mother" creation?
Aroop Dwivedi : Watching other award winning animation films, works of Bill Plympton, the Russian Shortfilm “Lavatory Lovestory” and quite a few other works of some very talented animators around the world.

How do u feel being a Jury's Choice at Animday Awards2014 ? What does this award mean to you?
Aroop Dwivedi : It means a big deal, My film ‘a Mother’ have seen a flurry of rejection in Indian Animation film festivals, a few festivals did not select my film because they found it to be too long, that was frustrating, imagine how you will feel if you are told you are getting fired from your job because you work more than all the other employees!! Another problem is that I worked with what I had, I did not have any licenses to any software’s so drew the film by hand, I worked with no money and no added hands, but in the competition’s my film gets pitched against big studio films, who have decent budgets, a place to work from and an exclusive team to work on their film.. And I am not taking anything away from them, those are fantastic films, however these two types of film cannot be compared. But the screening committee of most film festivals they look at all the films in the same light and I lose out , so It was a very pleasant surprise when I got the jury’s choice award, it came at the time when I almost gave up and I was ready to throw the towel. I felt like finally my short film found a set of judges who gets the film, and likes it for what it is.. it felt like a shot in the arm.

What have been of your favorite recent projects?
Aroop Dwivedi : I work in a design college and the current batch of animation students that I am working with have a lot of potential; I am very excited and looking forward to them finishing their graduation projects.

What does “being creative” mean to you?
Aroop Dwivedi : It means different thing to different people, to me it means being resourceful, learning to work with whatever little you have.

What is a source of inspiration that is not art/design related?
Aroop Dwivedi : Life …how do you top that..!!

What are you most proud of?
Aroop Dwivedi : The Original Sound Track of my short film (Anirvan Bhattachrya the music director has done a fantastic job)

If you could collaborate with anyone in this world, dead or alive, who would it be?
Aroop Dwivedi : The music director of my film, The team with which I started my Career, and my hostel mates when I was studying animation.. (I do not want to even hypothetically collaborate with people I do not know)

Are you involved in any upcoming shows or events? Where and when?
Aroop Dwivedi : My film has been officially selected in a few domestic and international film festivals, other than that none.

What did you want to be when you grew up, and are you surprised where you ended up?
Aroop Dwivedi : I wasn’t really sure, when I was growing up we did not really have much of Choice other than Engineering, MBA, CA or Civil Services.. but I was pretty sure that I was not cutout for all of the above jobs , for some reason I am not surprised at all of where I am today.

What advise can you give to Animators who are just beginning?
Aroop Dwivedi : When you lose a job and you will lose a job at some point of time in your career, do not crib and curse the industry, use that time to make your film, if you cannot make your own film- you do not deserve to be in this industry at the first place.

What do you think is the success formula for a hit Animation Film?
Aroop Dwivedi : I am not sure if there is a formula or there can ever be a formula to make a successful film, if that would be the case all the film will do well, period!! .. But I think honesty is virtue that severely lacks in Indian animation content.. I fail to understand why in a country that produces millions worth of animated content annually, why is it that Indian animated shorts find little or no representation in the International Animation Film festivals Like Ottawa or Annecy, while much smaller countries like Serbia, Sweden, Iran and Brazil keeps continuously finding a place in the same festival. They are doing something right that we are not and that needs to be introspected.

Is there anything else you would like to share with our viewers.
Aroop Dwivedi : Just a word of caution, Animation is a word which gets tossed around very causally these days, if you are reading this and if you want to pursue a career in animation, be forewarned, it’s not easy, it takes a lot of hard work and commitment and time in order to succeed, but if you have patience and you can push yourself to the hilt in that case hop on the ride, the journey may not be fun but the destination makes everything worth the effort and more.

Thank you Aroop Dwivedi for sharing your experiences with us and all the very best for your future endeavors.  

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