Mumbai-based animation company, Assemblage, has completed its first feature co-production for the Australian film Blinky Bill The Movie. As the film releases on September 17, in Australia, we take you behind the scenes
Assemblage is a start-up animation company, set up in 2014 and headquartered in Mumbai, that boasts of an award-winning team of over 280 employees including technocrats, artists and management professionals with several years of collective experience in the industry. Within just a year of its inception, the company completed its feature film with 90 minutes of computer-generated images out of their facility in Mumbai.
A still from Blinky Bill
“After being in the animation industry for about 15 years, I had a deep understanding of the market, the key players locally and internationally and a solid understanding of the key challenges that the industry was facing. We had reputable studios in Los Angeles and other parts of the world who trusted our capabilities and ability to deliver, wanting a reliable Indian partner,” says AK Madhavan, CEO, Assemblage Produced by Flying Bark Productions (Australia), Assemblage and Telegael Teoranta (Ireland), the movie will also have a worldwide realease post September 17, “The project came about because of my previous business relationships with the producers Jim Ballantine and Barbara Stephen,” shares Madhavan.
(From left) Arjun Madhavan, A K Madhavan, Milind Shinde and Upen Desai form the core team at Assemblage
First introduced to audiences in the 1930s through a series of children’s books, Blinky Bill is considered an iconic Australian children’s classic. The story revolves around a small koala, Blinky, with a big imagination. He is an adventurer who dreams of leaving the little town of Green Patch and following his explorer father’s footsteps. Blinky embarks on a journey that takes him beyond the boundary of Greenpatch, in the wild and dangerous Australian landscape in his quest to find his missing father.
The total budget of the movie is USD 12.5million and Assemblage not only participated as a service provider but also as co-producer of this film. The project was completed within 10 months.
Talking about the challenges faced during the project, Madhavan tells us, “There are several challenges that are faced in the production of a feature, especially as an entrepreneurial set up. The challenges are primarily technology and finance driven. Setting up the studio infrastructure in a cost-effective yet efficient way, with limited capital at hand, is a feat by itself.
This is something we achieved through the collective experience of the team and some creative thinking. We were also bound by time restrictions. Film production schedules are tight and the client’s demand for delivery are unwavering. Our challenge was to set up the studio, its technical infrastructure, hire the right talent, and start delivering high-quality content based on a tight production calendar.”
“In terms of opportunities, the scope and potential of animation, in India is huge. Firstly, as a market, there is an evident growth in domestic consumption. The local audiences are now gradually accepting animation feature films as a viable alternative form of entertainment,” informs Madhavan He further explains that the rise of Indian fictional characters is an indication in that direction but also that more importantly, Indian audiences are watching global animation productions too and appreciating the quality of this different class of filmed entertainment.
India is bound to get better with its low-cost yet high-quality capabilities (state of the art hardware, software and human capital), convergence of technology and creative sensibilities, it’s growing track record of delivery, strengthening relationships with global producers — India remains a valuable partner in such productions across the value chain,” he concludes