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Friday, Dec 26, 2003

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Kinfra Film & Video Park to house animation zone

Sankar Radhakrishnan

Thiruvananthapuram , Dec. 25

SOME weeks ago, the National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) observed that the Indian animation industry had the potential to grow into a $1.5-billion business by 2005. Long before this announcement, the management of the Kinfra Film and Video Park near Thiruvananthapuram had seen the potential in animation and drawn up plans to leverage this.

On the anvil is an exclusive `animation zone' within the park. Similarly, the park's management is also looking at establishing a world-class animation school inside the park.

"There is a shortage of properly trained animators, both in Kerala and in India, and yet there are many talented and creative young people in the State," says Dr G.C. Gopala Pillai, Managing Director, Kerala Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (Kinfra), the company that owns the Kinfra Film and Video Park. The proposed animation school will help overcome this shortage of properly trained people that confronts the industry in India, he adds.

The idea is to set up the animation school as a three-way joint venture that involves Kinfra, an international animation school and a player from the animation industry, said Mr A.S. Suresh Babu, Managing Director, Kinfra Film and Video Park. The park's management is already discussing this proposal with some leading players from the animation industry, he added.

In fact, the ultimate objective is to transform the park — positioned as India's `first infotainment park' — into a one-stop-shop for all the needs of the entertainment industry, Dr Pillai said. "We want to make this park a destination for screen content development," adds Mr Suresh Babu. The decision to set up the special animation zone targeted at animation studios was, for instance, influenced by this ambition.

This special zone will be located in a separate building and will offer its occupants all basic infrastructure such as power, water air-conditioning and so on. Besides, it will also offer tenants built up space and access to common facilities such as a conference room, cafeteria and projection room, Mr Suresh Babu explained. The details of this initiative are being worked out and will be finalised soon, he added.

Similarly, in keeping with the park's objective of being a place where `real business can be done', the management is in the process of adding finishing touches to several multi-functional business centres. And by March next year, the park will have its own preview theatre located in the administration building. This 100-seater theatre will be the "best of its kind" in this part of India, Mr Suresh Babu maintained.

Meanwhile, the park has already started attracting some high-profile occupants. The Chennai-based Prasad Film Laboratories established a film-processing unit in the park several months ago. In fact, this unit has started processing most films made in Malayalam, Mr Suresh Babu said. Working with this unit is more cost-effective for many Malayalam film producers, he added.

Another venture that is likely to interest the State's filmmakers is a proposal to establish a unit to maintain and repair film and video equipment. A Mumbai-based entrepreneur is spearheading this project, which is likely to be very useful to Kerala's film world, he said.

Construction work on actor Mohanlal's studio complex within the park is nearing completion, as is work on Revathy Kalamandir's facility. Another important project is the `International Film Centre' being set up by the Kerala Chalachitra Academy. The foundation for this facility was laid recently.

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