A group of eleven creative students from Toon Club created an animated project titled, Out of the Frame funded by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya to create a film for the launch of the new Children’s Museum. These students were winners of an art competition organised by the museum. Out of the Frame won accolades and the prestigious Blue VAFI award.
The students were asked to curate the exhibit for the new museum and pick three paintings to be part of the animation film. The story of the film revolves around these three paintings which are exhibited in the Museum. The characters from the three paintings come alive. One painting has a young boy who is about to mount a horse. You see him climbing out of the painting. The next painting has an ice-skater who notices the boy on the horse jumping off the table and decides to join him. She drops her pose and jumps out of the painting. The girl with a skipping rope in the third painting also jumps off the frame. They jump into a mini car displayed on a shelf and drive out of the museum. The sights they see in the real world make them feel terrible. A child begging on the streets, a child serving tea at a street tea stall, a children’s parks being replaced by buildings, and books replaced by gadgets. They decide to fix things and make the world a better place.
The feature deals with child rights. Talking about the importance of this information to kids, Toon Club founder and principal Tehzeeb Khurana mentioned, “Kids are sensitive and extremely aware of the issues impacting the world: child rights, child abuse, animal rights, health, environment etc. In order to develop ideas and concepts on these important issues, children brainstorm and delve deeper. This leads to further discussions, research and understanding. Children speaking about these issues makes these films far more impactful.”
Khurana is proud of the young student’s film travelling the world through the festival circuit. “Thanks to the wonderful creations of our students, Toon Club is getting a lot of recognition and respect internationally. We are proud that we are considered among the top studios teaching animation to kids in the World,” mentioned she.
The film is entirely created by students as there is no group leader. The team collaborates and works together without hierarchy. The children created the props, characters, backgrounds and animated every frame in this film. “all of them were directors and had to give their best performance to create this masterpiece,” Khurana added. With the films winning awards and accolades, the students are encouraged to continue making films.
Though the film received recognition after completion, the process was not easy. The group of kids who worked on Out of the Frame had never attempted animation and knew little about how it’s done. It took a couple of sessions just to introduce them to the art form and take them through the basics of animation and expose them to a few key animation principles to get them started. The next challenge was to train them in an animation technique they had never heard of: cutout animation. “We screened a few sample films and explained to them the stop motion process. It was a new world for them and this got them extremely charged and excited. They were all set to be directors after the first few sessions,” Khurana said.
“Kids are fascinated with the history of animation. One response I often get from students is ‘Ma’am, It’s like magic!.” she mentioned.
The VAFI and RAFI festival has two main sections: VAFI section for animated films ‘made by’ children or youth, and RAFI section for animated films ‘made for’ children and youth. The Blue VAFI is a section of VAFI which is awarded in collaboration with UNICEF in Croatia and Office of the Ombudsman For Children, for the film which promotes the children’s rights.
Toon Club has also won Blue VAFI (second prize) in 2013 for their film Children of the World. The film was later included in the educational kit that goes to every child studying in a Croatian School. “When Out of the Frame was officially selected at VAFI this year, I was hoping that we win the prestigious ‘BLUE VAFI’ again.. and we did!” Khurana proudly concluded.