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Animation, Gaming & Special Effects to get a National Centre of Excellence

There is some great news for the animation, gaming and VFX industry. According to the announcement made by the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, the Film & Television Institute (FTII), Pune and Satyajit Ray Film & Television Institute, Kolkata will be accorded status of Institutes of national importance and a National Centre for Excellence in Animation, Gaming and Special effects will be soon set up.

Apart from this he also stressed on rural development, and making internet available in the interiors of the country to really encourage and push the industry to tap into the talent pool in these areas as well.

A statement by PwC stated: “We have been closely involved with the Government for conceptualisation of the National Centre of Excellence on Animation, Gaming and Visual Effects and we thus welcome the nod from the new Government for its implementation.”

We at AnimationXpress.com reached out to the industry to get their reaction on the budget and surprisingly got a mixed one, with some really pleased and a few left asking for more.

Hungama Digital Media & Entertainment MD & CEO, Neeraj Roy says: “Whilst it is very encouraging to see the government giving more attention to the internet and support of animation and gaming, I view the initial allocations as a small step in the right direction. China has a near $ 1 Trillion internet economy; India will transition from 2G to 4G and add another 400 million mobile internet users over the next three years. We need an unprecedented push toward digital for a significantly higher consumer adoption as it will spark productivity across sectors. The aspect of bringing back online advertising into the service tax ambit, whilst it is still a fledgling segment, is therefore almost a conflicting action and not a welcome move.”

“I truly believe this is an encouraging step by the ministry to really drive the Animation, Gaming and VFX segments. With this step, the youth of the nation will be encouraged to seriously consider playing an important role in developing the sector further,” Maya Digital Studios, media & broadcast relationship head Aruna Kumar exults.

Technicolor India – Country Head, Biren Ghose went on to explain the benefits of the budget in a little more detail. “This is a very significant move by the finance minister – it is heartening to see that the animation, gaming and VFX industry is getting a specific mention and recognition in the union budget for the 1st time – after years of having made representations for the sector.”

“It is still up to industry to leverage this opportunity and work hand in hand with the Government to ensure that standards and best practices are implemented, based on various initiatives announced; evolve a proper game plan and ensure implementation and success. The skills development funds; the technology and rural development funds and other projects announced should also be “pitched” by the AVGC sector to develop the talent pipelines and also make optimum use of the resources contemplated. Finally, the COE’s need a very detailed prescription on syllabus, faculty recruitment, international alliances, if they are to realise their ambition.” Ghose ends.

Bioscopewala Pictures president Nishith Takia really welcomed the budget with open arms and says: “This is a very encouraging move by the ministry for the sector; the setting up of the National Centre of Excellence will help in getting in the right people into the industry, who are given proper education and guidance along with the training to excel in this blossoming field.”

“Also with the focus on rural development, it will enable us to tap into the various talents, which is available in abundance, and with the world going more and more digital, it will only benefit in getting access to the talent pool hidden away in the interiors and at the same time be accessible to them,” he ends.

One man who was really disappointed with the announcement was Toonz Animation CEO P Jayakumar as he was expecting much more from the ministry for the sector. “I am really glad that the National Centre of Excellence has got the nod and both the institutes having been given national importance, but what I was expecting from the budget was a lot more support to the content creators and promotion of more home grown animation content.”

“We have had several meetings with the ministry in the recent past, where we have seriously raised the concern of providing some kind of financial support for small studios and encourage them to create compelling original content. Also what we were also looking forward to was the announcement of the national broadcaster coming up with a kids’ channel to promote more original content. There was also the thought of allotting fixed blocks on broadcasters in the space to run only Indian originated content, but none of those have appeared in the budget announcement, which has left me a little aghast,” expounds Jayakumar.

And finally giving his views on the budget, Animation veteran Ashish Kulkarni says: “It’s a great step to recognise the sector and also the centre of excellence getting the clearance finally is truly welcomed.”

He goes onto add: “The future of Indian animation will rely on whether the players are
given a level playing field and the studios need to evolve from the outsourcing model to creating their own IPs. Also what will help bringing stability to the industry is signing of co-production treaties with animation friendly countries to create really great content for the global audience.”
We at AnimationXpress.com will keep you updated on the latest developments around the freshly announced budget and how is it further going to impact the industry at large.

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